23 February 2017

Whisky Insiders Interview No.80 - Iain J McAlister

Glen Scotia Distillery

Distillery Manager


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I have been working in the whisky industry and at Glen Scotia Distillery for nine fantastic and very busy years.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
My biggest career highlight was experiencing Glen Scotia’s Double Cask whisky winning the World Whisky Awards, Campbeltown whisky of the year for 2016. The start of great achievements for the distillery and the Loch Lomond group.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
My first dram was a Laphroaig, can’t remember what specific year it was, but just that is was rather good!

What does whisky mean to you?
The whisky industry means a lot to me, as I have witnessed Glen Scotia Distillery’s rise from relative obscurity, to one of becoming a strong and visible presence in this historic and fantastic wee town called Campbeltown. The whisky industry has been my life and my passion for a while now and I only can see this continuing into the future with Glen Scotia’s steady rise to prominence, with all our visitors and customers over the next year.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Right where I am at present; Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia. That is as good as it gets for me!

What was your last dram?
My last dram was a rather nice 1989 Glen Scotia second fill sherry hogshead, which is situated within our dunnage warehouse. This had a rich well developed nose, with a beautiful mix of ripe tropical fruits on the palate, rather nice!

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Scotland is renowned the world over for its whisky and indeed seafood, so it is not surprising that a Glen Scotia 2009 medium peated at 20.0 ppm has a distinct compatibility with the finest Kintyre Smokehouse smoked salmon. It's delicious!

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
My ideal time to enjoy a dram is with company, usually with a group on a tour and tasting of Glen Scotia Distillery. During this we can discuss the whisky and the components and technicality that go into making great whisky!

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
So much to cover with this, but here goes; I believe that a lot of lesser known brands are going to make big impressions due to the quality of their whiskies and that single malts are still going to go from strength to strength on the global market. Innovation is always going to be the catalyst for the innovators to lead and the others to follow and copy.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I have an affinity for Glen Scotia Double Cask and really like to unwind with this special dram on a Friday night.

Many thanks to Iain J McAlister. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!