4 October 2013

Whisky Insiders Interview - William Wemyss

Wemyss Malts



How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’ve now been working in the whisky industry for 8 years. Our family business also owns two vineyards, one in Western Australia and one in Provence France, and I was involved with selling and marketing our wines from those places beforehand, but as a keen drinker of quality scotch this spilled over into starting a business; Wemyss Malts.
The idea behind identifying whiskies by their natural flavour and aroma was to make it more understandable for the consumers, as the Australians had done in the wine industry by putting the grape variety on the label.
My time in the whisky industry has been spent marketing and selling our whiskies in various parts of the world, as well as more latterly working on the establishment of Kingsbarns distillery. I never quite realised how much work actually has to go into building and setting a distillery from scratch, even before the first bottle reaches the shop.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
The biggest highlight would have to be starting up Wemyss Malts and having the great opportunity to meet Scotch lovers all over the world, some of whom love peated whiskies and others who can't stand them!
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
No I can't but there are many 'firsts' I can't remember.
What does whisky mean to you?
It’s something that should first and foremost be enjoyed, shared and not overly-complicated by too much confusing terminology.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years' time?
In five years’ time our new distillery Kingsbarns will be open and should almost have the first bottle of Single Malt rolling off the bottling line. That will give huge satisfaction. Not that I am wishing away the years!
What was your last dram?
Heathery Smoke, a 30 Year Old Single Cask from the Caol Ila distillery, which we I enjoyed during my trip to the United States last week. Had to hurry as there weren't many bottles left!
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Actually, I prefer wine with food. For me whisky is best drunk on its own after a meal.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
As a digestif after a good meal at home. Probably a Wemyss Single Cask bottling, preferably from Speyside.
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Blended Malts! A blend of Single Malts gives Master Blenders more flexibility to create a better overall product. We have seen this clearly in the wine industry where they blend small parcels of different grape varieties together from different vineyards to create the best wines in the world ie Chateau Lafitte in Bordeaux.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
There are too many to single one particular dram out! I just enjoy them all for their different styles, flavours and qualities.
Many thanks to William Wemyss. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!