12 February 2014

Whisky Insiders Interview - Donald Colville


Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador - Malts


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’ve worked in the industry for ten years now, but my family have been involved in whisky for many years. My great grandfather was heavily involved with the whisky industry in Campbeltown, and among other things owned Dalintober distillery and sold whisky to John Walker and Sons.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Walking into the Diageo Archive, telling them my family history and watching them run off and come back with ledgers and blending notes, that showed whisky from my great grandfather’s distillery Dalintober, was bought and used in blends by the Walker family.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
The first dram that I can remember was a Springbank 15 Year Old that my dad shared with me.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky is more than a career, it’s my life. To follow in my great grandfather’s footsteps is an honour. I have been privileged to work with some incredible people and with some incredible brands.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Helping to further develop Diageo’s malt portfolio, I have been in this role for three years so I know there is still a lot I can give.

What was your last dram?
Talisker Port Ruighe, one of the latest addition to the Talisker family, double matured in Port casks.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Either a Talisker with fresh oysters or frozen Lagavulin Distillers Edition served with sticky toffee pudding. As a more unusual combination I love Lagavulin 16 Year Old with star anise infused shortbread.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
As I travel so much I have to be very uninspiring and say at home with family and friends.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
I'm a huge fan of the new products we’ve introduced over the last year, like Talisker Storm and Talisker Dark Storm. Which I know from the many people I’ve met as I travel round the world, have been incredibly well received.

Focussing on flavour-led innovations will really open up a new world of tastes and textures for consumers to enjoy, and it allows our blenders (who develop all of our single malt liquids) to be at their most creative, accessing mature stocks across a range of cask types and ages. It’s an area where we will see more exciting developments in the years, months and indeed weeks to come.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I have to be loyal to both past and present. I will always love the 10 Year Old Springbank but I always have a bottle of Talisker 18 Year Old in the house.  There’s a very good reason why it was voted world’s best Single Malt in 2007!

Many thanks to Donald Colville. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!