9 February 2023

120th Whisky Insiders Interview - Paul Dempsey

Brave New Spirits
Sales & Marketing Director

How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I originally started working with wine, then moved to spirits with drinks distributor Cellar Trends (now Amber Beverage) in 2002, where the first whisky brand I worked with was Arran. More recently I was Commercial Manager at the Speyside Distillery, and since last year Sales and Marketing Director at the independent Scotch whisky blenders and bottlers Brave New Spirits.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
No single highlight but I have plenty to choose from. Presenting for the Spirits Selection competition in China. Seeing a whisky go from cask to bottle and winning one of the biggest awards in the industry. Also working with bands like Slipknot & Slayer - endorsees for a spirit brand I was working with at the time.
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
My first single malt was an Arran, at the distillery in 2002 – it was my first distillery visit too. It’s amazing to see what the Isle of Arran team have achieved after being brave enough to launch a distillery in Scotland in the 1990’s.
What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky means opportunity for friendship, fun, adventure and creativity!
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Still working with and enjoying the whisky world, and to seeing more and more people enjoying our bottlings around the world!
What was your last dram?
My last dram was a 14 year old Glen Moray single cask, that we bottled late last year under our “Cask Noir” series. 
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I’m always experimenting, but salmon or seared scallops with a lightly peated whisky is definitely up there.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
A cosy room with an open fire, on a cold winters evening is always my favourite. But one of my most memorable times was when having my first Bowmore, whilst standing on the sea wall next to the distillery during a January storm. 
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
The large number of new distilleries continuing to show the world that whisky doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive, old or super-rare in order to be excellent!
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
I’m still a huge fan of Arran, and always seem to have a bottle of theirs in the house somewhere. So probably one of their cask finishes like their superb Amarone cask, from their pre age-statement days.
Many thanks to Paul Dempsey. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!