It is a privilege to sample and select casks for the Distillers’ Art. Having worked in so many different aspects of the whisky industry over the years it feels like the work being undertaken now reflects the tuition received when entering the trade more than 40 years ago.
Mentored by Alan Bailey, a former blender and director of Chivas Brothers and the former distillery manager of what at the time would have been called Sherriff’s Bowmore distillery.
Alan acted as guide through the vast range of malts accumulated for the blending process and daily nosing sessions took place first thing every morning, checking casks and entering the stock details into a massive stock ledger. The casks, many purchased from what was then a very lively broker network, had to be entered in the stock ledger in copperplate and the entries were inspected by Alan. He was on the ball checking my nosing skills but equally tough making sure that the books were both accurate and written up perfectly.
Working in a variety of senior and general management positions with United Distillers / Diageo and Grants it was a pleasure to work closely with some of the legends in the industry. Every day a school day and remains so to this day.
Honoured to be a Keeper of the Quaich and currently a member of the Master Court of the Maltmen, an ancient organisation which finally admitted women members to the craft during my leadership of the organisation, something we had failed to do since the 16th century.
With blending in mind, it was decided that our business should create a collaborative blend between the cask and the canvas. Each cask that we choose will have a painting commissioned that will become a uniquely emotional link to the whisky and its provenance.