How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I joined Kingsbarns distillery and the whisky industry in early 2014, prior to that I was in the beer brewing sector for four years. The move to working in whisky was a big learning curve, but one which I relished. The skillset for brewing good beer transfers well to producing quality spirit.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
I’ve been humbled by the way people have reacted to our new make spirit. The positive feedback we’ve had back from whisky fans to what is in essence a work in progress has been overwhelming. Working with the production team to successfully achieve the distillery style and keeping that consistent has been most rewarding.
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
It would have been a blend my father let me try when I was a wee boy. Probably a Famous Grouse or Stewarts Cream of the Barley. I remember not liking whisky on my first encounter!
What does whisky mean to you?
It’s part of who I am. I love being involved in its production and to talk with others that are passionate about it. Whisky is about shared experience and bringing people together.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years' time?
Continuing to contribute to producing Kingsbarns single malt. Hopefully with some more mature stock ready to release. It’s going to be fascinating to see how our malt develops with time in wood.
I just tasted the most recent batch of single casks from the Wemyss Malts range, on sale in the distillery shop. The last one I tried was a lovely 20 Year Old Clynelish called “Chewy Pineapple crisps”. Waxy and full of tropical fruit, an excellent example of the make.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
If I were to have a whisky with food it would usually be with desert. Maybe a sticky toffee pudding paired with a peaty Islay dram.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Alone… in a cold, dark room. No, I’m joking! Whisky is a gregarious spirit best enjoyed with others. My favourite time and place to enjoy a dram would be after a long day’s hillwalking or climbing, settling down next to a camp fire somewhere on the west coast of Scotland with good company
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
There are a lot of new distilleries opening up at the moment, with some of the big established brands expanding as well. With this in mind, differentiation between brands will become ever more important. I think we will see more experimentation with different malts, yeasts and processes to make more singular products.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
A difficult question… Last year we cracked open the first cask filled with Kingsbarns spirit to see how it was maturing. Barrel number 1 is sitting in the oldest room of the distillery, the Doocot. The sample was really fruity with notes of mango and ginger on the pallet, and if the rest of the whisky maturing in the warehouses is anything like that, it will be my new favourite!
Many thanks to Peter Holroyd. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!