19 December 2018

Whisky Insiders Interview - Dhavall Gandhi

The Lakes Distillery



How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started my career in corporate finance, based in the US, before venturing into the exciting world of spirits. I decided to move to the UK and pursue a MSc degree in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland. 

I held various technical and strategy roles at Heineken before joining Edrington Group as a Whiskymaker for The Macallan. I left Edrington in the later part of 2016 to join The Lakes Distillery, where I am responsible for all things whisky, gin and vodka.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Working with brilliant people from all sorts of backgrounds and creative industries – writers and photographers, craftspeople – I find it very inspiring. I love working with people who are at the top of their respective fields.

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
Yes, I was probably twelve years old and had a sip from my dad’s glass. I think it was a Johnnie Walker Black Label.

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky makes you see things differently. I have found that I can express things with whisky that I would find it difficult to do with words. It’s like painting with whisky.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
In 2024 we’ll be preparing for the Lakes flagship releases. All the work myself and the whiskymaking team have been doing now – the changes, tweaks and cask management - will finally come to fruition!

The real joy will be when the next generation is releasing the whiskies we are laying down now. Part of my role now is spending time coaching and developing a strong team in an area that has never previously had a distillery.

What was your last dram?
I was in Normandy a few weeks ago, and my last dram was a prototype of the Lakes Single Malt – it was a joy to share the experience with some close friends.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I have recently discovered whisky and cheese – my favourite combination is Compass Box Spice Tree with Baron Bigot (a brie-style cheese), the yoghurt and mushroom notes in the cheese work very well with the spiciness of the whisky.

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
In the comfort of my home with my family and close friends.

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
There are interesting whiskies coming out from different world producers; trying new things, those pushing boundaries with innovation whilst staying true to tradition. I find whiskies from the Dutch producer, Millstone very interesting at the moment.

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I haven’t made it yet!

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