17 August 2012

Whisky Insiders Interview - Dr Andrew Forrester

The Balvenie

UK Brand Ambassador


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
About 8 years. I spent the first three years with Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Easy Drinking Whisky Company. I was the ‘and’ in Jon, Mark and Robbo (a.k.a. brand ambassador). After a year out of the industry and spending the winter working as a ski guide in France I came back to the UK and found my dream job as The Balvenie Ambassador. I have been with The Balvenie for 4 years now.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Being invited by the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore to do a whisky tasting for him and his friends! I pulled out some very special bottles of Balvenie out of my collection for that one as you can imagine. After the tasting we looked at Jupiter through his telescope in his garden. I will never forget that.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
No, but I remember drinking whisky with my Dad when I was a young adult, it was probably a cheap blended whisky but I don’t remember the brand. My first real memory of drinking single malt whisky was on a camping trip in with a friend. He took me to a pub and we tried a different whisky from each region.

The first bottle of single malt that I bought was believe it or not The Balvenie Single Barrel. Eddie Ludlow, founder of The Whisky Lounge and then manager of Oddbins in York, recommended and sold it to me. I have a very vivid memory of going home with it, sitting in a big green arm chair, tasting it for the first time and thinking wow!

What does whisky mean to you?
Fun, flavour and friendship!

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Doing scientific research on and developing new whisky, whilst still retaining an ambassadorial remit. I love learning about whisky but equally I love talking about it and sharing my knowledge with others.

What was your last dram?
A Balvenie Port Wood 21 Year Old, at the tasting event I was running last night. Does that count, something not Balvenie? Well the last dram other that really impressed me and gave me that wow Moment again was the Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old. This is definitely a distillery to watch out for!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Balvenie Single Barrel and Serrano Ham. The saltiness of the ham brings out the vibrant juicy fruit character of the whisky.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
On the river banks of The River Spey when I am out paddling with my friend Dave Craig who runs SpiritoftheSpey.com and runs amazing paddling trips along the Spey taking in distillery visits on the way.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
A distillery on Mars? No, I’m, joking of course. Lots of new distillery openings and probably the growth in the number of small craft distilleries. More distilleries opening/re-opening floor maltings, growing their own barley, coopering on-site etc.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
The Balvenie of course. It has genuinely always been my favourite whisky, now it pays the bills too! If I have to choose one expression it would be Signature 12 Year Old, a truly great whisky.

Many thanks to Dr Andrew Forrester. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!