20 June 2024

131st Whisky Insiders Interview - Daniel Szor

The Cotswolds Distillery

How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I’m a relative newcomer to this business, as I’ve only been in it since founding the Cotswolds Distillery ten years ago.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
There have been so many of them, as every accomplishment has been a first for me, but I’d have to say that winning the award for ‘Most popular whisky distillery in the UK & Ireland’ two years running has been a hugely meaningful validation of our original “build it and they will come” vision.  

Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
The first dram I ever ordered (not counting the leftover whisky in my parents’ glasses after they’d had company over when I was growing up) was a Macallan single malt, which I ordered while visiting the UK in the autumn of 1992. It was cold and wet in London, and I was sitting by the fireplace at the Pelham Hotel. It was the perfect introduction to whisky!

What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky started out as a passion and a pastime, but has redefined my life. Its meaning for me now is far more intimate – it is the sum of its many parts here at the distillery, including the hard work of many people. And above all, it has become an unexpected legacy which has done more to define my life than the 30 years of work in finance which preceded it.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
In five years’ time I’d like to be indulging my other passion and sailing around the world. The plan would be to do it in small bits and return frequently to the UK to spend time in the Cotswolds so as to remain as involved as possible with our brand. A sort of roaming brand ambassador, I suppose.  

What was your last dram?
Cotswolds Distillery Founders Choice Single Malt, near cask strength, with a thimbleful of water.  

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
I happen to love our Peated Cask Single Malt with shellfish, particularly oysters. I’ve also become a lover of whisky & chocolate pairings.  

What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
For me it’s always been the “contemplative dram”, as the late great Michael Jackson used to call it – the small glass late in the evening, perhaps while watching a good movie with the wife. The perfect end to a long day.  

What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon? 
The next big thing will be the continued growth in both New World and small distillery whiskies. What both of them have in common is a deep desire to create seriously fantastic whisky, not one relying on age statements or marketing, but on top quality process and the best ingredients – including active casks.  

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Without a doubt, it would have to be Cotswolds Distillery Signature Single Malt.  It is absolutely my “go to” dram, and the best value for money out there.

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