Tag Archives: whisky for girls

Whisky for Girls-page-001
Mar. 07.

WHISKY AS MEDICINE in the Realm of Women

Barley in glass & Heather (426x640)

WHISKY AS MEDICINE in the realm of women
For cleaning wounds
For removing ticks
Hot toddie for cold
For toothache
In baby’s milk to soothe
To warm one up
For shock
Mum used to give me whisky in my coffee after walking the dog on a winters morning.
Consumption of distilled spirits gradually lost its association with spiritual symbolism and medical treatment and instead became a public health issue as abuse of spirits (often of dubious quality) became rampant.
Nevertheless, reverence for fine spirits has endured as a testament to their ancient origins and mysterious powers.
Whisky as medicine # Laphroaig as medicine ~ natural soporific ~ my Grandmother always had dram at night.
Connection to baptism by fire. Gnostic Christian Cults. Spirits could preserve human flesh – seemed to confirm notion that they could confer long life and immortality when drunk.

Slàinte!

We use the phrase Slàinte Mhath! (Good Health) when we toast each other with a dram. Charles MacLean tells that one does not use the toast Slàinte Mhath! unless one is drinking sprit. It is too powerful for association with beer. Or lesser alcohols.

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Nov. 23.

What’s in a Whisky Festival?

There are many different types and syles of whisky festival. If you can’t find one to suit you, then perhaps you should return to drinking milk…

Glasgow Whisky Festival ~ exactly what it says on the tin. More drams than you can shake a stick at. A well run, whisky presenting event. No faff, no falderal. This whisky festival reminds me of the shipyards on the Clyde in days of old. Engineered, good craic, full of wit and camaraderie. Haggis and Neeps to eat, and friends are well looked after.  A good Scottish Festival.

We have the glamour of Paris Live… HUGE number of stands, big names, expensive whisky tastings. A lot of glitz and glamour –  fur coat and no knickers….? the people who ran the stands were complaining they were packed in too tighty…. all for style, never for comfort. Lots of World drams and glamour. A place to see and be seen.

Then, we have Maltstock & Dramboree ~ whisky hippy dreams. Fires, Birkenstocks, sharing bedrooms, and swimming with whisky!   Do you need to be young or have a beard for these? A celebration of friendship and whisky. The whole weekend is a session.

Next we have Independent European Festivals – mostly Dutch, German and now, Austrian.   A celebration of Scotch and Scottish culture. I love how people are playing the pipes (sometimes with more luck than judgement..) are singing Scottish songs, have kilts on, and there is tartan and shortbread all over the place. And lots of obscure Independent bottlings. This is good. These people are way ahead in whisky repertoire.  Big commercial festivals can be rather generic in relation to drams..

Then, we have the Speyside Whisky Festival. So overwhelming because everything is so far apart. But, if one has a driver who knows where they are going it is fantastic. Cooperages are opened up, Maltings are available to view. This is a mixture of the practical side of whisky and whisky drinking, with big names and glamour thrown in for good measure.

Next up,  we have our very own Feis Ìle.  A celebration of the culture of Islay, which has been hijacked by the distilleries. However, this is good. This grounds people in the distilleries and lets them experience whisky where it is made. A week of  mayhem involving Islay distilleries, whisky and friendships.

Last, but not least we have a newcomer to the festival scene. My very own THEATRE OF DRAMS Whisky Symposium . An Educational Celebration of Whisky.  An alternative, or a complement, to the week of the Feis.  Whisky drinking & whisky heritage. Pick and chose the events you want to attend. Create your learning schedule. 

There is a place for ALL kinds of festivals. We need a variey of events. These are a few to demonstrate diferent STYLES.

There are hundreds of whisky events world wide. 

Seek them out!

Enjoy your #Scotch.

Slàinte!

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Whisky for Girls-page-001
Mar. 27.

Whisky Marketing is so off piste..d

There are two types of people, Buyers & Drinkers. They are  emphatically NOT the same thing ~ although, like a good conundrum, they CAN be the same thing!

The marketing demographic for the new whisky drinker is the 28 year old, uber cool, hipster type. Probably with a beard, maybe with a cagoule…. and that’s just the girls….

The problem here is that this dude doesn’t BUY much whisky…. this character just drinks it. 

 This character is found at whisky festivals making the most of drinking not buying. Any whisky they do buy is on supermarket special, then, having it on show to impress, they are unlikey to share.  The bottle will last for eternity. 

There are two type of buyers ~ the buyers of GLASSES of whisky in bar, and the buyers of  BOTTLES. Some people are both. The hipster buys a good dram for themself  in a bar, to show off ~ they do not buy a round. But they will only buy one. The rest of the time they drink what others buy them.

So, if the marketing demographic are not buying whisky; who IS buying it?

JOE and JOLEEN BLOGS BUY WHISKY.

 They are the buyers and the hipster is the drinker. Yet the marketing objectives target the hipster……?

Same thing upon visiting distilleries. Hipster tours distilleries on the £6 tour. If any whisky is bought it is by whoever has taken them to the distillery with money from their parents.  The people on the expensive tours are not the hipsters. The people on the expensive tours are Joe & Joleen. But who cares for them?

The drinkers are the ones who fill in questionaires, they want attention, they want to be heard. These people are NOT the buyers. Not in the main. The buyers are the ones who come to the distilleries. The drinkers are too mean – Unless it is a festival, then they are there for the freebies. The buyers very seldom fill in market research or forms etc as they are far too busy living life and making money, so they can afford to buy whisky.

The buyers are an overlooked positivity. 

The thinking behind marketing to the hipsters is probably to capture their interests and they will stay loyal, and when they can afford to, they will buy the whisky to which they are loyal. 

Nope, doesn’t work. The hipster is too mean to be loyal. And by the time they can afford to buy whisky there is something new in fashion and as they are a hipster ~ albeit an old one, they want to be seen drinkng whatever is in fashion.

Loyalty with whisky buying is not the same psychology as loyalty in car buying.  A way to develop loyalty is to invoke emotion, invoke a feeling of belonging.  If you do this, people will turn to you, in the same way people will turn to an old friend.

So, what needs to be done is the whisky must be personalised. This cannot be done in isolation. A whisky needs a host. 

The host can be a place, or a person. For example, John Campbell is Laphroaig’s Host. He takes Laphroaig out into the world. People connect with him. They form friendships. Back home, Laphroaig Distillery itself is the Host ~ (and also, David Adams!) The buildings, the location, the friendliness of the staff , all these things act as ‘HOST’.

 Laphroaig have a very loyal following because there are different layers to connect to Laphroaig. Laphroaig do the hipster thing, but they humanise it and connect with the hipster’s family… because after all, they are the ones who buy the whisky the hipster drinks…

The only way to succeed is to share and connect with Joe and Joleen Blogs on a human level. Glasgow Distillery are great at this, they have Liam Hughes. He is the Host. People can’t yet visit Glasgow Distillery, but already people are bonded to it because Liam HIMSELF affords them a ‘place’ to connect to emotionally. 

Jim McEwan was a great host for Bruichladdich. Anthony’s boys are great hosts for Kilchoman when they are out on the road… (be better if their accents were Ilich though, but we can’t have everything…!.) And Kilchoman, itself is the Host when people come to the distillery. It is small and cute enough to be held in people’s mind and heart. People understand the farm distillery and connect on many levels. 

 If you are the hipster setting up a distillery and you are too mean to buy drink and share of yourself, no one will connect with you and your brand will be empty. All these achingly cool, uber trendy start ups will get nowhere unless the team have a real face, a real host. Rolling around with other uber trendy hipsters will not make any money what so ever, as, the other hipsters will be jealous and secretly won’t help  (we can make people ACT like they love us, but we can’t make them really love us…)

Another marketing “off piste d” is the outdated, childish concept of insulting the audience and believing they will still like you. This outmoded psychological programme was failing in the 80’s, even as it was being developed. Telling the audience that whisky buyers are stupid (not the assembled company as you are part of an elite squad….?!) but all others out there; is the pinnacle of an aggressive * large brand*  ‘hit them with a stick and they will like you’ marketing strategy. It is completetly wrong. And it is utterly boring. Not to mention offensive.   Joe & Joleen Blogs are the buyers of whisky –  putting food in our mouths – and we call them stupid….. ?? Everyone should take marketing lessons from Ratners arrogance.

It is this pseudo ‘whisky apartheid’ we are trying move away from.

 Marketing is filled up with spread sheets, data analysing and is so self referential, it has little bearing on what is really happening. 

Perhaps if marketing strategy was seen more as the initial presentation ~ like the catwalk fashions presented by designers, by the time the fabrics etc are brought to the public, they are shaped to meet the people on the street. 

Whisky brands could do the same. Develop multi tiered marketing strategies. One for the introduction of the product; the showcasing, the catwalk level;  one for the brand home, one for the people who are actually going to buy it and so on…

And, most importantly, employ people who actually know about whisky! 

Slàinte!

 

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jun. 21.

The Future of Whisky Making

Bruichladdich Nostalgia BAROLO 017 (2) (1024x959)

I have just watched a programme about Dan Barber and Blue Hill Dining.

This restaurant and philosophy illustrate an old, new way of looking at dining and food production. Basically, they are trying to make people think about flavour and good husbandry in food production. This means the bottom line in the business is not economic.

Last week I was in Barcelona and visited Vilarnau Cava Cellar.

They are in the second year of the three year programme to become organic  Cava producers.

This eco friendly  way of thinking about food and drink is the future. And if we want to protect our planet and ourselves we need to start thinking about this kind of thing in whisky making.

Bruichladdich Distillery are away out in front with their thinking in relation to this point.

They are working with individual farms in Islay and have fields of barley grown for them in different areas of Islay. They intend to distill these crops of barley individually, so the micro provenance of the barley can be traced to specific areas of Islay. This is a fantastic idea. Bruichladdich’s stapline ~ ‘We believe Terroir Matters’ is so important. Wine makers understand this consciousness only too well. Why people dismiss or underestimate this in whisky making is beyond me.

Bruichladdich are out in front with this thinking, but more needs to be done. We need more organic whisky, more individual fields growing barley.

Kilchoman Farm Distillery are at the forefront of this new, old thinking also. They have just agreed to buy the farm of Rockside upon which the distillery is situated. This is a fantastic thing. Now they will be able to grow their own barley, on their own farm and produce their own whisky. This is how distilleries came into being in the first place. Farms ‘stored’ their excess barley in whisky. This is the same way we store excess milk in cheese, and store summer berries in jam.

Barley

Whisky making is part of the cycle of life. The yearly turn of the seasons. Whisky making has its place in the cycle of the year ~ It is when it became a commercial concern that it became a year round event.

The whisky industry needs to become more organic, more closely connect itself to the growing of the barley. I was struck whilst at Vilarnau Cellar that it was really a vine farm. They think about the land and the agriculture, whereas in whisky we think about the process.

I believe that the future of quality #Scotch Whisky making is in attention to  Anam an fhearrain ~ in attention to Terroir.

I believe we need to pay more attention to ingredients.  How and where they are grown and sourced. We need  to develop a system  that works from the land to the glass with a  far more environmentally aware consciousness than we do at present.

Slainte! To the sustainable future of #Scotch Whisky Making

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jun. 03.

FEIS ILE 2015

Feis Ile agus Dhiura 2015 ~the busiest we have seen yet!  We had extra open days & nights and millions of events ~ 

Friday ~ SMWS Open Day at Islay House ~ with two new Festival bottles……. one from SMWS and one from Islay House 

SMWS Feis Ile 2015

 And the first time meeting a great gang of Whisky Girls from all over the world!

Festival 2015 5

 Next up, Saturday ~ Lagavulin Day

With the Festival bottle put up on German ebay as soon as money changed hands in Islay ~ and the bottle sold out by Tuesday……..  German ebay ~ the life of high finance on Islay….

Festival 2015 12Festival 2015 7lagavulin-1991-2015-feis-ile-2015

Well, Sunday is just mental ~ It’s Bruichladdich Day!

‘The Boss’ hosts his last Master Class for 500 people (but, let’s hope we see him guest hosting tastings in the future…) ~ and some of the Whisky Girls Gang get our photo taken with him

Bruichladdich McEwanMonday is Caol Ila Day ~ weather is not that great, some people take great photos though, and plenty of great whisky is drunk…..

Festival 2015 0Tuesday is Laphroaig Day ~ weather doubtful ~ 200 Anniversary Birthday cake? splendid ~ secret still in the woods? ~ even MORE splendid!

And at night we had a great #whiskyfabric gathering with more bottles and people than you could shake a stick at…

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Wednesday was Bowmore Day ~ and the rain poured from the Heavens ~ but, then so did the whisky! So, I don’t think people minded too much…. 

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and Lucci at Bowmore Hotel stocked up on his festival bottles for us all….

2015 Festival Bottles

Thursday is Kilchoman & Jura Day ~ Kilchoman celebrated their 10 Year Anniversary ~ their first spirit came through on 14 December 2005, but the Visitor Centre was open earlier in that year. Richard Paterson represented Jura well ~ as he always does; with his wit and his cigars and his lovely drams….

Festival 2015 6Festival 2015 18Festival 2015 2Friday is Bunnahabhain Day ~ lovely drams, great music, good craic…..

I arrive just as Islay Bart was leaving…. I told him it was nothing personal…..!

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Saturday was Ardbeg Day ~ 200 Anniversary ~ lots going on ~ lovely drams, Arbroath Smokies, people from the future, ice bars, tract Tours and drams from probably the most expensive bottle of the Feis ~ 1815 Ardbeg, a snip at £3,000 ~ Bill only bought two…. and Bino only bought three….!! 

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Slàinte!

Thank you to everyone I met who made the week so fantastic. Great new friends and great old friends. We will see you again next year ~ if not before.

And until we meet again ~ 

CelticUBlessingU3A2

Thank you to anyone whose photos are here.  I couldn’t find exactly who took which pic, so please accept my inclusive thanks if you recognise your own.

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Nov. 25.

PORTRAIT OF A WHISKY LOVER

What makes someone who has never been to Islay, far less to Bruichladdich, get themselves a  Bruichladdich tattoo? Derek Mather of Artisan Restaurant in Wishaw is the very man to ask.

photo of Derek Mather

DEREK MATHER  ~ whisky lover from Old Kilpatrick,  living in Carstairs  ~  but, not in the hospital facility  (even though his wife, Fiona, says he should be!)  has upwards of 1,700 good whiskies to offer diners at his restaurant.

Derek worked in numerous Scottish restaurants and was frustrated at the whisky being offered to people ~ generic brand names that didn’t in any way showcase the range and depth of fantastic whisky produced in Scotland ~ or indeed in other countries. So, Derek, and his wife Fiona, decided to open Artisan Restaurant. A restaurant where people can sample the best of Scottish food

Octomore Beef

(~ beef from Octomore farm in Islay, Octomore is where the water comes from for Bruichladdich Distillery) ~ and drink it with the best of Scottish whisky ~  the sauce is made with Black Art!

  Derek said, ‘some of our whiskies are expensive, but most of them are very affordable. Well, I think they are, and I have been told by many people who go out drinking in Glasgow and Edinburgh that my whiskies are fantastic value as they have paid a lot more for them in the big cities.’

If Bruichladdich are the progressive Hebridean Distillers ~  Derek is the progressive Lowland restuarateur! His connection with Bruichladdich goes even further than just having 300 of their bottles in his living collection ~ Derek sports a personally designed Bruichladdich tattoo.

DEREK MATHER TATTOO

When the distillery staff came to Artisan and saw Derek’s tattoo ~ and his Bruichladdich whisky collection, they dubbed him the Maddie Laddie Collector. I asked him what is so special for him about Bruichladdich. Derek said, ‘Because they released so many quirky bottles when they reopened in 2001 and continued the trend throughout the next ten years, they weren’t afraid to try something different!’

Derek told me his love for whisky stems for his love of all things Scottish ~  it helped that his father gave him a bottle of Glenfiddich for his 18th.

One of the things that draws Derek to whisky is the passion and dedication that goes into crafting a bottle ~ not to mention drinking one! He likes the way whisky is created differently depending on cask, length of maturation, region.

GlenmorangiePort Charlotte

In Artisan, Derek offers guests great whiskies from around the globe, but his heart is with Scotch whisky ~ and who can blame him! He told me he drinks Islays on cold days and Speysides and Highlands on warmer days ~ needless to say he drinks many more Islays!

The best bottle Derek has in his collection is a secret dram ~ it is a very rare Bruichladdich ~ and he is not at liberty to tell exactly what………

Derek wishes he still had a bottle of the ‘Rare Malts ~ a Clynelish 24 yo ~  a stunning dram.’  The oldest dram he holds at present is a 46 yo Invergordon and the youngest they have are a couple of 3 year olds ~ one being Bruichladdich X4 +3, a very fresh tasting young dram.

 The most popular  with the customers are Highland and Speyside whiskies like Balvenie, Macallan and Glendronach. More women are coming into Artisan to dine and becoming adventurous when it comes to drinking whisky. People are asked what flavours they like, then, a whisky is sourced for them from the prestigious collection.

Sounds to me like an excellent night out ~ 

ARTISAN WITH WHISKYDerek Mather Photo

 

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Oct. 22.

DRINK WHISKY, SPEAK GAELIC

UISGE BEATHA  ~ water of life ~ whisky

Whisky for Girls Whisky Wheel

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 Cuibhle Blaise or Cuibhle Bhlas ~ FLAVOUR WHEEL 

 duilleagach ~ LEAFY 

 flùranach ~ FLORAL 

 measach ~ FRUITY 

 cùbhraidh ~ FRAGRANT 

 leathair ~LEATHERY  

 mar thombaca ~ TOBACCO 

 toit – fhiodha ~ WOOD-SMOKE 

 ioc-shlàinteach ~ MEDICINAL 

 ròiseideach ~ RESINOUS 

 giuthasach ~ PINE 

 bhanillan or mar bhanilla ~ VANILLIN 

 mil ~ HONEY 

 ìmeach or mar ìm ~ BUTTERY 

 cnòthach ~ NUTTY 

 rubaireach ~ RUBBERY 

 mar fhèoil ~ MEATY 

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SULPHURY ~ mar phronnasg

OIL-ASSOCIATED ~ co-cheangailte ri ola

SWEET TASTE ~ blas milis

WOOD ASSOCIATED ~ co-cheangailte ri fiodh

PHENOLS ~ phionoil

FEINTS ~ pheintean

ESTERS ~ eastaran

ALDEHYDES ~ aldehaidean

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 next week we will have a  video SAYING/PRONOUNCING them whilst doing a tasting..………. 

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Aug. 21.

Still Games from Bruichladdich

When Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) saw the new Valinch from Bruichladdich, we knew we had to get a bottle……

Still Games

As usual the Bruichladdich Team are on good witty form with this offering ~

Still Game is a Scottish Television show which is extremely funny ~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/tv/chewinthefat/jack_and_victor/still_game/

http://www.comedy.co.uk/guide/tv/still_game/episodes/

Jack and Victor, the main characters, are  two Glaswegian pensioners going about their lives and getting into scrapes.

Calling the Valinch Cask  ‘Still Games’ is witty on so many levels ~ McEwan and McGillivray are still game, Still Games are  what is needed to make a whisky…….

Seeing Jim McEwan and Duncan McGillivray in the style of  Jack and Victor gives the locals such a good laugh, because they are both great comedy duos ~

It is heart warming that these two Islay men ~ icons of the whisky world, have the humour and the self confidence to create this joke involving themselves and icons of the comedy world ~ (some may say it is difficult to know which icons are which…..)

On Friday August 16, Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) took ourselves off  to Bruichladdich to fill a bottle of the Still Games golden nectar.

video of cask filling  ~     http://youtu.be/vvbmiJU53Oc

This dram is 10 years matured in a Port Cask and comes in at 62.2% alcohol by volume ~ so plenty dram for your buck!

The Valinch series from Bruichladdich are individual casks from which members of the public can come into the distillery  and hand fill a 500ml bottle.  My bottle is number 131 out of 450 bottles  from the Still Games cask.

This individual bottling is available until the cask is drained,  then a  different one is brought in and set up for hand filling.  These bottlings are exclusive to the distillery and are not available for general release.

This means you must come to Bruichladdich and fill them yourselves!

Amy worked as a tour guide over the summer before heading off to Jordanhill College to do teacher training ~ she got her own Still Game bottle ~ even more exclusive than mine…..

Her bottle has a picture of herself and apprentice blender, Adam Hannett on it ~ and was signed by everyone in the distillery ~

Amy's Still Games BottleAmy's Bottle

 This is a very strong, dryish dram. I bought it on spec because I loved the wit of the name ~ I haven’t even tasted it…..

So, tasting notes are welome!

Whisky for Girls (& Guys!) had a great time, thanks to Raymondo for taking our video and for looking after us so well, and thanks to all at Bruichladdich for your wit ~ greatly appreciated in these days of such troubles in the world.

We look forward to the next Valinch cask, and hope the name and label makes us laugh as much as this one has ~ it is true what they say:

~ wit sells…….!

http://youtu.be/RGY0GNhT3ys

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jul. 21.

Whisky for Girls Presents ~ Girls for Whisky

Women in Whisky  are standing on the shoulders of giants ~  Emily Pankhurst, Millicent Fawcett, Bessie Williamson, Sheila Burtles, to name but a few.

We owe a great debt to these forward thinking independent women. Emily Pankhurst and Millicent Fawcett for fighting for our rights as women, Bessie Williamson for leading the way for women in distillery management, being one of the first, if not the first, woman distillery manager. She was manager, then in 1954 became owner of Laphroaig Distillery. Sheila Burtles is one of the pioneers who created the whisky flavour wheel ~ without which concept we would struggle to decipher or describe the notes in our lovely drams.

Today, Whisky for Girls would like to introduce some of the amazing women who continue this pioneering tradition and are working in and around the whisky industry, opening up a traditionally male dominated arena for the benefit of all.

 Without further ado I present……………………………

KELLY CARPENTER

 JOINT FOUNDER OF THE CANADIAN SCOTCH MALT WHISKY SOCIETY.    http://www.smws.ca/

 Where do you live?    Calgary, Canada

What do you do?    My husband and I are the founders of the Canadian branch of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?    I grew up around whisky as both my parents enjoyed it.

How long have you been drinking whisky?    I dabbled in it in University, and always kept a bottle or two around, but it was when Rob and I moved to Scotland for a year in 2004 that my interest and passion really started to take off.

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   First dram:  probaby a Chivas as that was what the folks drank.  Last dram:  last night, one of my favourite Society bottlings from a few years back, 33.70 “Keith Richards meets Socrates”.  Next dram:  probably another fabulous Society dram, but which one depends on my mood, the weather, the time of day… 

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    In the next 10 years – I’d like to say early retirement, but realistically we hope to be running a well-established, successful branch of The SMWS and enjoying all the fun things that come with that, like traveling, hosting tastings and meeting great people who love whisky!

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    I’ve been to Islay twice – it’s such a neat place!  We’ll be in Scotland at the end of August but sadly a trip to Islay isn’t in the cards this time.  

What can the industry do to improve things for women?    If you mean in terms of getting more women interested in whisky, there’s already been a real shift in the demographics of who’s drinking whisky now. I see it all the time at tastings and festivals we attend where young, curious women are keen to learn about whisky, perhaps because their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/brothers drink it. It’s encouraging!  Within the industry, we’re seeing more and more women in significant roles like “distillery manager” and “master blender” which were traditionally held by men.  Social media is also playing a part as people like yourself and others share their thoughts through Twitter, Facebook, websites/blogs, etc.  Anything that women in the industry can do to alleviate some of the intimidation is key for women who are just starting to learn about whisky!

I think marketing and packaging play a big part too.  My husband always teases me because I will often buy wine based on the label design without too much concern for the contents (needless to say, that’s backfired on me more than a few times).  But the point is that women are highly visual creatures and certain brands are realizing that the shape of the bottle, for example, can attract curious new buyers.  When Glenmorangie redesigned their bottles a few years ago, they made them much more feminine-looking; almost reminiscent of a perfume bottle.  Women respond to that.  I’m encouraged by the number of women I see showing interest in whisky and I’m sure the trend will continue.
 
What’s next?    What’s next?  A dram, of course!  : )
 
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PENNY ELLIS

 DIRECTOR OF THE SPIRIT OF SPEYSIDE WHISKY FESTIVAL    http://www.spiritofspeyside.com/

 Where do you live?  I live in Speyside in a small village close to the town of Forres.

What do you do?    My main role is owning and managing with my husband Knockomie Hotel in Forres. We are a small 15 bedroom Inn with a large selection of single malts and blended whiskies stocked in the Malt Library. Being located in the beautiful Speyside region we have over 20 distilleries close by. Many are open to visitors and have great visitor centres, that attract tourists and whisky enthusiasts from all over the world. I also a Director of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. The festival attracts visitors from as far away as Canada, Japan and India as well visitors from Europe and the United Kingdom. I also write a monthly Whisky Column for the Scots Magazine.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   Having known Gavin, my husband, for over 25  years whisky has always featured in celebrations, and over the years through working for two whisky companies and also selling it at Knockomie, I have developed an interest in the ‘water of life’. 

 How long have you been drinking whisky?     I have been drinking whisky since my early twenties. When you are living in Edinburgh, it soon becomes apparent that when you are socialising with friends the subject of whisky comes up and everyone has an opinion!

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   My first dram was at Hogmanay one year and it was a Bell’s blended whisky. My last dram was a Glenlivet Nadurra, a stunning example of a Speyside Single malt.Nadurra is Gaelic for natural, and this cask strength 16 year old is matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks, it has a soft fragrant and floral nose with a gentle toffee sweetness and creamy palate, this will be a favourite of mine. For my next whisky, I would like to try Laphroaig Triple Wood, it looks very interesting and so it shall look forward to savouring a dram of it.

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?   Over the next 10 years I would like to develop my enthusiasm and passion for whisky further, writing more about. I have written a book, published this year called Distinguished Distilleries, it’s aimed at the whisky enthusiast or  tourist and takes you around Scotland giving a short insight in to 40 different distilleries. I would also like to introduce more women to whisky and offer more bespoke tastings aimed at women.

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    I very much hope to visit Islay this Autumn.

What can the industry do to improve things for women?   I think the industry is working hard to capture the female market and there are a number of brand ambassadors who are women and who are actively promoting and introducing women to whisky. Let’s all just keep up the good work!

What’s next?   For me, I will continue to run Knockomie and wherever I can I will learn more about our national drink and promote it to new and existing enthusiasts. I am intending to speak and do a whisky tasting at a Whisky Club in the North West of England, I hope this will be the first of many.

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 FEMKE TIJTSMA SIJTSMA 

 WHISKYGIRL    http://whiskygirl.nl/

 Where do you live?    The Netherlands in a small town in the north ,called Hallum. Here it’s famous for it’s cookies and rusk.

What do you do?   I run an online administration office in combination with cloud tools. My partner has his own company which I make part of.  My job is to take care of the administration and the marketing.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?    When I was 18, I fell in love with whisky.  I was staying at a friends place, He just returned from Scotland, and he brought some bottles home with him. We had a nice evening, chatting about his journey and there came the glass of whisky. As you may know, I’m curious, than and now.  From the first sip of the golden drink I was hooked. There was something that a seed has been planted and something was growing… a grow of whisky interest. I never tasted anything like it. All I know is, that this particular whisky came from scotland.

How long have you been drinking whisky?    Since I was 18. I’m 33 now… so around 15 years. The interest in whisky has never left me. But since a few years, the interest became bigger. I visit the Whisky Festival in Leiden ( now Den Haag) and I was amazed about the range of whisky,  I tasted whisky, where I didn’t knew  the existence. I met someone who  had a stand there. He told me about a whiskyforum.(hetwhiskyforum.nl) and there was an need of woman :-)…  My whisky interest has been pulled into an new dimension. When I got home, I went to the website and became a member. I’ve met a lot of interesting  people.

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   I can’t remember my first one, unfortunately  …. All I know it was fantastic and never tasted anything like it again. Maybe thats the drive to go on this whisky adventure. My last one was at the North Sea Jazz festival. I had the Highland park 12 yr at the Famous Grouse Bar. And my next? Visit my website….

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    I hope my website and my name is known everywhere. When you say whiskygirl, no explanation is needed. Within a year or two I’d like to be part of a Whisky Festival.  Sometimes I’m joking about having my own whisky distillery and launching my own whisky… you never know. I’m working on a business plan. I’ve got lot’s of ideas for the next 10 years.

When are you coming to see us in Islay?     Between now and a year, I hope…. I’m planning a trip, but that takes time.

 What can the industry do to improve things for women?   Playing with the design of the bottles.  Other free things to go with it..  not only “man things”. We woman are upcoming in the whisky market.  And we’d like it a little bit different than most man.  I’m not saying, it has to be pink. But more sweet, sexy and smooth. Make room for a new image, to attract more woman. Now we haven’t got a very nice image…just picture google on Whisky and woman….  It’s a shame. For example. Just look at the washing advertising on tv. Where are all the men who are washing their clothes. Slowly there is a change in this image. So also in the whisky and women combination. 

What’s next?    Just keep an eye on whiskygirl. I may surprise you 

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ALWYNNE GWILT

 MISS WHISKY     http://misswhisky.com/                   Photo: imageRevolver

Where do you live?   London, England

What do you do?   Freelance Journalist and Blogger

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   I went to a tasting about four and a half years ago at a small whisky shop called Milroys in London. I thought I hated whisky as I’d had bad experiences when I was younger with horrid cheap blends, but that night my eyes were opened to the beauty of single malts.

How long have you been drinking whisky?   Since February 2008! A well-remembered evening!

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   Unfortunately, I don’t remember my first dram. My last was a secret one from Islay which I don’t know the name of as I am a judge in some whisky awards, so they don’t label the drams. My next one will almost certainly be another random Islay whisky – I’ve still got 23 to go!

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    I hope to keep exploring the world of whisky, learning about new countries emerging onto the whisky scene and furthering the fact that us ladies enjoy a dram as much as the fellas do! But 10 years? Gosh, that’s a while yet. I’ve only been drinking it for less than five, so I can only hope to double my exposure in that time. Fingers crossed!

When are you coming to see us in Islay?   Oooo good question! I hope to get up there this autumn (maybe September?) if I can as I’ve still only driven through rather than properly visited Islay so it’s a big one on my list!

What can the industry do to improve things for women?    That’s a tricky one. I know so many amazing women who work in this industry who really love what they do and don’t see any difference between how they are treated and how the men are. Yes, there are loads more men working in the whisky world, but I think that is slowly changing. On the note of women who drink whisky and maybe trying to get more into it – I think that will only develop over time. The whisky world is a slow moving one but we’re seeing huge step changes in how it’s marketed and advertised and I think that will only increase the number of females, and younger (ie: below 35-year-olds) who drink drams.

What’s next?   I hope to just keep encouraging more people to discover whisky, whether female, male, young or old. I’m constantly doing this in my inner circles of friends and family, but hope Miss Whisky (my website) will encourage more women to get into it. Equally, I love hearing people’s stories, especially those of the women in the industry, and can’t wait to keep sharing those with the wider audience.

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AMANDA LUDLOW

 

CO FOUNDER OF THE WHISKY LOUNGE    http://www.thewhiskylounge.com/

 Where do you live?    York

What do you do?    I organise Festival side of The Whisky Lounge and I am the Commercial Director of The Great Whisky Company which specialises in distributing interesting Whiskies to the on and off trade exclusively and our first client is Berry Brothers and Rudd

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   My Daddy and my husband

How long have you been drinking whisky?    6 months

What was your first dram/last/next dram?    Bushmills Black Bush, Jameson’s Select Reserve and Berry Brother 1980 Coal Ila

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    More drinking of mine malts in small amounts, more learning and converting others to do the same

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    Hopefully at the end of July start of August

 What can the industry do to improve things for women?    the industry is welcoming from my point of view I think we need to educate women to the beauty of whisky if we succeed in doing that they will be joining the industry in droves

What’s next ?   Right now organising the TWL Liverpool Manchester and 10th Anniversary Festival in York 13th October.  Planning for 2013 with TWL Festivals in France 2013 and Belfast 2013, possibly a new distillery project, plus 2 new clients for The Great Whisky Company in the Autumn all fingers crossed.

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ALLISON PATEL

 OWNER AT LOCAL INFUSIONS AN IMPORT/EXPORT COMPANY http://thewhiskywoman.wordpress.com/

Where do you live?    New York City, USA

What do you do?   I run my own spirits import/export company, Local Infusions, where I focus on independent craft producers.  I search the globe for unique, hand-crafted products, focusing mostly on whiskies produced in non-traditional countries and manage my blog. I am also preparing to launch my own whisky, Brenne, a French Single Malt that’s been finished in Cognac casks. When I first met with this 3rd generation Cognac distiller 2 years ago, I learned that he was making whisky as a side project.  He had no interest in marketing and selling it so I set up a partnership with him and offered to create the brand around this beautiful whisky and handle all of the sales if he continues to make it. There is nothing like it on the market and I can honestly say it is the most approachable whisky I have ever tasted.  I’m so excited to be launching it in NYC first this Fall!

Where did your interest in whisky come from?   My husband!  Every night after dinner he would relax with a good single malt.  I didn’t think I liked whisky so I tried everything else looking for my own night cap.  Then one night we were in lower Manhattan at a bar called Vintry Wine & Whisky and having just returned from South Korea, he had a new-found love for Japanese whiskies.  He ordered a Yamazaki 18yr, I took the first sip and never gave him back his glass!  I was hooked and never looked back.

How long have you been drinking whisky?    Since the Summer of 2008

What was your first dram/last/next dram?   First was Yamazaki 18, Last was Mackmyra Special 07, Next … something later on tonight!

 Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?    Hopefully still running my company.  I’d like to be able to look back and see an integration of craft whiskies all around the world.  I know there is a supply & demand issue and one of the appeals of “craft” is that it’s limitedly produced – but I don’t think every product needs to be in every market.  However, I do believe that every country has pockets of consumers who are passionate about whisky, eager to learn, experience & share and I’d like to be one of the people that can help bring these amazing, global craft whiskies to them. 

When are you coming to see us in Islay?    Does tomorrow work? 😉

What can the industry do to improve things for women?   Not separate us from the men.  I think whisky separates the boys from the men, but not the women from the men! 😉 It doesn’t matter to me if your male, female or somewhere inbetween; if you enjoy your brown spirits, then that’s what it’s all about!  Don’t “dumb it down” or start putting rainbows and glitter on your labels to try to attract more female consumers.  Just focus on making something that tastes great. Period.

What’s next?   Launching Brenne!

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 MYSELF! ~ RACHEL MACNEILL

 Photo ~ imageRevolver

OWNER OF WHISKY FOR GIRLS & WILD AND MAGIC ISLAY TRAVEL CO http://www.whiskyforgirls.com/home/

Where do you live?    Isle of Islay, Scotland

What do you do?    I run Whisky for Girls company which  started just for fun, as a joke really, as a way to introduce my friends and other women to whisky,  and like all great jokes it took on a life of it’s own. Whisky for Girls integrates people,  drams, the process, the elements and the humour and graft and shows it to people and acts as a bridge between just whisky focussed things and peoples lives.  Whisky for Girls has whisky tours to Islay for women and men,  Slow Dram Whisky Tasting, and is developing an online whisky club. I also have Wild and Magic Islay travel co., Wild and Magic Islay Apparel and Whisky for Girls Jewellery.

Where did your interest in whisky come from?  When I was teenage we used to go into the distillery at night after a dance and visit the boys on night shift. We would have a cup of the wash to warm us up, or a drop of something stronger! and I would make them take me round (and then round again) the distillery explaining everything to me.

How long have you been drinking whisky? Since I was a teenager

What was your first dram/last/next dram?    First dram was probably a White Horse, the blend from Lagavulin which was in it’s hay day away back then. Last dram was a Laphroaig 10 year old found in the back of my kitchen cupboard the other night in a honey jar! and next dram is probably going to be a Kilchoman 100% Islay

Where do you see yourself going in relation to whisky in next 10 years?   I want to learn lots more about maturation and blending. I find it so fascinating. I want to learn all this stuff then write about it in an accessible way for women (and men) so to demistify whisky, but by doing so one actually really appreciates the natural magic of it all.

What can the industry do to improve things for women?   More images of women and whisky in the media. Less guff about golf (for example) and exclusive clubs, don’t just advertise your stuff in whisky magazines, take it to the mainstream,  less big secret talk using words that sounds cool and are not explained to the less knowledgeable  to maintain a feeling of power in the talker! Making whisky connected to everyday things and stuff that people do ~ music, books, food, dance, sport, talking, poetry, parties.  Less guff about tasting and more about drinking with friends. Remembering that the drink comes from the elements and everyone is connected to the elements, so all people can connect with and drink whisky. Get whisky into spas and beauty parlours and bridal shops…… (maybe not hairdressers, though) it’s endless!

What’s next? I’m writing a whisky book which I hope will be ready next year ~ but I’m not exactly speedy so we will see.  I want to develop Slow Dram Whisky Tasting (very appropriate….) and go out and do tastings for people all over the world. I want to bring more women (and men) to Islay and take them round the distilleries. I think it’s great for people to see the dram being made and to taste it in the distillery. I made whisky at Bruichladdich and I signed the log book in the still house ~ it was a great feeling!

 

 

THANK YOU TO ALL THE WONDERFUL WOMEN WHO TOOK PART IN THIS ARTICLE ~ YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION, AND AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO DRINK WHISKY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whisky For Girls ~ washbacks to slingbacks 009
Jul. 20.

BRUICHLADDICH IS BREAKING HEARTS

Don’t be broken hearted about Bruichladdich.

 

What an amazing job Bruichladdich have done in winning hearts and minds. Their customers feel an intense loyalty and have a huge feeling of ownership. They are like football club fans.

Football clubs change all the time. New players, new managers, new strategies and yet the fans stay with them, stay loyal. The fans are staying loyal to something inside themselves, it is from within themselves the passion is generated. The club is merely the medium which allows this intrinsic feeling expression.

 Bruichladdich Distillery has managed to generate the same love and passion. Indeed, they are like a football team with their very, very tight corporate branding image ~ their team T shirts, and with McEwan as the charismatic club manager.

 

Distilleries are set up to make money. People may have a passion for their chosen way of making money, but if they weren’t going to make money they wouldn’t do it.

Schroder and MacTaggart both invested in Bruichladdich, these are estate owners in Islay. Schroder is Schroders private bank ~ have you ever heard of a banker with passion or sentiment? If Bruichladdich Distillery wasn’t seen as a good money making investment Schroder would never have invested. There is no sentiment or love of Islay  in a bankers investment portfolio!

 Jim McEwan is retiring next year ~ retiring from Bruichladdich that is. McEwan has plans of his own ~ he is on the next stage of his life journey with whisky. He is planning to travel the world with a Spirit Aid show. He will be like a rock star, he will be like ‘The Boss’ but singing the praises of Scotch Whisky.

Mark Reynier’s family are growing up, his children are moving off the island to be educated, his personal life is changing.

These men involved with Bruichladdich are business men. They saw a great opportunity, they showed the world what they could do. They were unusual and quirky ~ yes, because they had to be, they worked with what they could afford. They were innovative ~ yes…. How do we generate an income while we wait for our whisky to mature? Lets make lots of different expressions, let’s do this and do that, so we have a product to sell. (I’ll not tell the joke here in this serious article, about Iain Allan’s dog, and the gate of the distillery, then the creation of a new expression!)

They had to do something to generate an income for themselves. And in doing so they opened up the world of whisky. Never a truer example of ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ than Bruichladdich. No one can wait 10 years for a return on their new project ~ unless one is a nuclear power station perhaps.

 Bruichladdich’s best thing (apart from their drams ~ and McEwan, of course) is their brand image. How clever to make something as tightly branded as say, Coca Cola or Nike, appear so rural and authentic. I’m not saying it is not authentic, but to create such a defined ACCESSIBLE homespun corporate image is very, very clever. Bruichladdich made people fall in love with them. They used the rules of corporate branding to create an image of exactly the opposite. It’s like Ardfin Gardens in Jura  ~ Peter Cool worked very hard to achieve the feeling of a wild, untamed garden. This is far harder to achieve than merely making a tidy, conventional garden.

As Martha Beck says, the future is small, individual, unusual, different things. We all have access to everything now. People are jaded. They want unique, special, crafted things. The business thinkers of the world know this. This is forward thinking, seeing future trends.

We can push into new markets such as Brazil and Africa and sell large amounts of gut rot to poor people, which, shamefully, numerous large spirit producers will. But the future of Scottish Malt Whisky is in small unique brands, and Remy Cointreau have seen this in Bruichladdich. Remy Cointreau do not have a champagne house on their portfolio and I think Bruichladdich can fulfill that unique, quality role for them.  Bruichladdich, or indeed Bruichladdich and a new Port Charlotte combined cannot make much difference to Remy Cointreau’s bottom line. There is not the physical space or transport infrastructure to generate huge amounts of spirit. And if that is what Remy want to do they would have bought a large Coffey stilled plant on the mainland. Islay Whisky is a distinct brand in itself, one has to pay just for access to that now.

Remy are looking to the future. It’s not the customer who has to worry about change of ownership, it’s the workers at the distillery ~ let’s hope Remy will at least pay lip service to the family orientated way this working environment has been run for the last 10 years or so.

Bruichladdich has been an adventure for Mark Reynier, Jim McEwan et al, albeit a heartfelt one, but at the end of the day these guys don’t stand still. They had a business idea, they took it to THEIR chosen level of fruition, and like a football club, or a river, or the concept of royalty, Bruichladdich will flow on, ever changing, ever the same.

If they were romantic, sentimental idealists they would have never managed to turn £6 million into £48 million in 10 years ~ The people at Bruichladdich Distillery truly are alchemists!

 Bruichladdich Is Dead. Long Live Bruichladdich

 

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