1 April 2014

Whisky Insiders Interview - Jan Beckers

Douglas Laing & Co

Global Malt Ambassador


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started my professional Whisky life as a summer guide at Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown in 1998. It was an excellent stepping stone and it is impressive to see how many of my former colleagues managed to continue in the world of Whisky.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
One was bottling the first cask that I selected when I joined Douglas Laing, the other winning Whisky Ambassador of the Year in 2011.
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Helping my mum in the kitchen with all kinds of sauces as a kid, I might have spilled some of my late grandfather’s Old Smuggler on my fingers and tried it that way. Although my first proper taste of whisky was under the good guidance of my older brother, it was a Chivas Royal Salute 21 Year Old. We’re talking late 80’s here and there was hardly any Single Malt out there at the time. I still like to revisit it once in a while.
What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky travels with me wherever I go. It started off as a keen hobby and developed to a fantastic job, which I can combine with my other passions, cooking and photography.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
Since Douglas Laing & Co went through some big changes over the last year, I’m looking forward to be a part of the progress of this family owned company.
What was your last dram?
Yesterday we had some Americans in the office and we wanted to confuse them a bit with a 5 Year Old Sherry matured Aultmore, that we recently bottle as our 1000th Provenance bottling. Knowing this dram very well, I felt like joining them.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Anyone who has met us on one of the Scottish Whisky events might have tried my Big Peat & dark Belgian chocolate mousse combo. My latest thing now is Oven baked apple with a speculaas crumble, macerated raisins and an Earl Grey tea infused custard paired with Scallywag.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Being in the company of friends and pouring them one of my drams (or have them pour a dram for me... even better actually).
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
There is a big difference in Whisky & Whisk(e)y and where the Scotch Whisky industry is more tied to traditions (not a bad thing), I am looking forward to try some of the experiments that boutique distilleries around the world will come up with.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
The next one!

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