24 July 2023

125th Whisky Insiders Interview - Scott Davidson

Glencairn Crystal
Product Development Director

How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’ve been working in the whisky industry for 32 years. I actually started engraving crystal at the age of 14 and was working summers from the age of 16 in the family business, before taking over production after finishing university when I was 20.
With a technical background, I enjoyed developing production processes and our in-house tech to improve our capabilities. This has stayed with me ever since.
It has been a long journey of developing new, exciting glassware, bottles and decanters for the drinks industry - across almost every production process there is. It has been a real privilege to be involved in creating so many innovative products over the years and to see the change in appreciation from blended to malt whisky, and the container development that this has driven.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Recognition from the industry when I was invited to join the Keepers of the Quaich and the Worshipful Company of Distillers – it was a real honour!
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
It was when I was 18. My mate and lab partner at university put a Glenmorangie 12 Year Old in my hand towards the end of a long night. I drank it too fast and didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have. My first memorable dram was around 2003 when I asked Jim Cryle for help navigating the malt world – he talked me through a Glenlivet 12 Year Old. It was such a great experience, I’ve never looked back.
What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky has always been a part of my working life. From the earliest days the whisky industry has supported Glencairn and Glencairn has supported it. Working with all the drinks companies we are an integral part of the whisky world – it’s impossible to think any other way. I have always been a Jack Daniels and brown spirit drinker from my youth (it was the most heavily promoted product in the UK when I was growing up), so I have always enjoyed a JD or a dram ever since.
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Too old to be taken seriously!
What was your last dram?
It was a Cairn 18 Year Old at the opening of the new distillery. What a fantastic, impressive new operation.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
With Chocolate - I’m a chocaholic!
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
At the end of a hard day, in the living room, with some background music - if I get a minute from chores, or there’s always the joy of a premium bourbon and coke in the garden when the sun is burning above.
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Besides the continuing upgrading of the quality of the spirit bottle and packaging, a return to the fore for top-end, high-age blends with a story almost as compelling as single malts, to help complement the surge in demand and lack of availability of premium malts.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
That’s a tough one. I always find myself jumping between Ben Nevis, Benromach and Hibiki – my three defaults, as they are slightly softer and sweeter on the pallet for me and very drinkable!

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