Welcome to my site, Capture R 4 mono I’m RACHEL MACNEILL, from the Isle of Islay and I LOVE whisky!    Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) was the FIRST website and company in the Whisky Industry to focus on WOMEN.

#ScotchGeek #DrinkIslayWhisky

I learned whisky making from the best people in the industry – and I am still learning.  In whisky, as in life, the more you know, the more you realise how much there is to learn!


I curate a 5 Day Whisky Course in association with various Islay Distilleries, Professors and experts in whisky.  A full on theoretical, technical learning experience. The course has been so successful it is expanding and developing  into THEATRE OF DRAMS Symposium & Course

Learning is structured along the linear progression of whisky making. Day 1: Barley, Peat, Germination, Malting. Day 2: Milling, Mashing, Fermentation, Yeast, Water. Day 3: Copper, Distillation, Stills, Chemistry, Day 4: Wood, Casks, Warehousing, Maturation, Sherry influences, Bourbon. Day 5: Chemistry & Biology of Nosing & Tasting, Branding, Marketing & Psychology of Customer Loyalty.

ISLAY WHISKY SCHOOL present a full on theoretical, technical, practical learning experience. You leave Islay having made good friends and feeling you have learned enough to start your own distillery!

In October 2017  THEATRE OF DRAMS (Islay) Festival kicks off in conjunction with Islay Whisky School. The 5 Day Whisky Course is expanding to offer 22 Delegate places.  In addition 1,250 people can book places on  lectures, practical demonstrations, Tastings, Food & Whisky Pairings, Music, History of Whisky Talks, Book signings, Peat Cutting and numerous other technical & fun events.  The Grand Finale Dinner for 100 lucky people celebrating the completion of the first THEATRE OF DRAMS Event will be very special.

THE ‘BOSS’, himself, Mr JIM MCEWAN sponsored me to study at the Whisky Academy at BRUICHLADDICH.  I learned distilling with PG and nosing with JIM MCEWAN ~ I learned lots!

Mr Anthony Wills, founder of KILCHOMAN DISTILLERY sponsored me to study at their Whisky Academy. I learned distilling with Tony and malting with Andrew ~  I learned lots!

I studied this theoretical & technical whisky course delivered by Prof. Paul Hughes, then, Head of the the International Centre. The Mackmyra Distillery Team studied with us. I learned lots! (& made new friends)

I project managed creation of a VISITOR CENTRE for JURA DISTILLERY. I created Tour & Tasting Scripts. I hosted formal Whisky Tastings & informal whisky tastings. I designed routes through distillery buildings for Whisky Experiences & Whisky Tastings. I researched and shared history of Jura Whisky Making. I created Tasting Notes Folders for Jura Whiskies ~ old and young. I built up respect for old Jura Whiskies. I hosted many lovely visitors ~ then handed it over to Jura to run from this year 2015 onwards.

I learned lots from Jura’s legendary Master Blender Mr RICHARD PATERSON


May 2016 I successfully completed a 5 Day Whisky Academy at Springbank Distillery. I learned Malting, Mashing, Fermentation, Distillation, Maturation & Filling & Bottling in the practical way – I worked in the distillery! In addition, I experienced some wonderful whisky. 

  • I host LOVE WHISKY TASTINGS all over the world. Austria, New York, Israel, England, Colonsay, to name but a few places.

 Please contact me to host one for you ~~  rachel@wildandmagicislay.com

  • I  WRITE about whisky, the industry & the people. 

The best way to learn about Whisky is to drink it! The best way to learn about whisky production is to work in and visit distilleries. To this end I am currently undertaking

 I’m travelling around Scotland visiting all the distilleries, trying the drams and writing about it on this website.

My intention is to make whisky more accessible to women

(and men) this site is not exclusively for girls!

I have been around whisky and the distilleries all my life and to be honest, pretty much took it all for granted ~ until 2011.

Through a dram fuelled conversation with a German friend who was visiting for the Islay Whisky Festival, I realised that most women didn’t drink as much whisky as me (!) and didn’t really know that much about it ~ or more importantly ~ where to start about it.

So, Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) was launched.

I am here to demistify,  and also remistify Whisky! If you take the talk away, and think about the actual process ~ it’s MAGIC.

I’m on a whisky  journey and I would be delighted if you will join me, Girls ~ and Guys! (or as my friend prefers to say: & Geezers!)