11 November 2016

Whisky Insiders Interview - Lauren Mustard

Pernod Ricard

Chivas Regal Brand Ambassador


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started working as a seasonal tour guide at Glenfiddich, when I turned 18. Growing up in Speyside, tour guiding was the dream summer job. You get to chat to people all day, try some beautiful whiskies and attend the weekly ceilidhs in Dufftown.
A very close family friend worked for William Grant & Sons at the time and suggested I apply for the job, and so it went on from there. I worked for seven seasons at Glenfiddich (occasionally helping out at The Balvenie) and then a summer at The Macallan, before I came over to Chivas Brothers as a Brand Ambassador in August 2015.  

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Beating Jamie Winters, one of Irish Distillers Brand Ambassadors, at a Scotch vs Irish evening in Shoreditch.  

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Before working for William Grant & Sons, whisky wasn’t something that I gave much thought to, other than that it was what my Dad drank and there was a funny smell in Rothes, when you drove past the distilleries. That was it really, I think my first taste of whisky was one from my parent’s pantry, where there was an expansive collection of weird and wonderful alcohol. I didn’t like it or understand how people could drink it, so it put me off for a while. I feel like that’s a very typical introduction to whisky, so many people have said that to me over the years!

My first ‘proper’ dram, was a Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, when I first started working at the distillery. We did tastings as part of our training to become Tour Guides and it opened up a whole new world to me. That’s where my passion for whisky and the world of whisky stemmed from!

What does whisky mean to you?
Home! Being based in London, I think of home often and appreciate it more and more, especially when I’m working and speaking about our local produce on a daily basis. It makes me proud to think that something so internationally recognised and appreciated comes from the wee villages of Aberlour, or Keith, Dufftown or the middle of nowhere down a country road not far from my house. I know there’s more to Scotch whisky than Speyside but it is the malt whisky capital and it really is fantastic.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I would love to do this job but globally, working out of Speyside and travelling internationally, sharing my love for whisky.

What was your last dram?
Chivas Regal 18 Year Old. I hosted a whisky session for some of our Off-Trade customers in Garstang this morning!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Dark chocolate tart with raspberry coulis pairs beautifully with Chivas Regal 18 Year Old. I also love a splash of whisky over a haggis, it’s the best way to serve it; something my Grandmother taught me. She makes delicious little ramekins of haggis, topped with double cream and whisky, and pops them under the grill for a couple of minutes until they bubble, and it’s heaven in a pot!

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
At home in Scotland, on a cold evening curled up by the fire with my favourite dram in one hand and my favourite man in the other!

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Blended Malts, perhaps? With the comeback of Johnnie Walker’s Green Label and the recent release of Chivas Regal Ultis, there’s more interest in the category and now more options too.

Ultis, is the first Chivas Regal Blended Malt and combines five of our Speyside single malts. It is a tribute to our five Master Blenders who have maintained the Chivas house style since 1909. It offers something new and different to our consumers. Whisky drinkers now enjoy making new discoveries, so innovation is important!

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, it’s my go to, no matter what!

Many thanks to Lauren Mustard. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!