Meeting 10 Master Blenders

The World's Largest  Collection of Scotch Whisky, at the Scotch Whisky Experience (1)

From a whisky geek’s point of view, I am genuinely excited about the event that is happening on Wednesday at the Scotch Whisky Experience (there may still be tickets left, if you want one, check here). What, you haven’t heard? Well, let me enlighten you using a press release (I’m normally not a big fan of press releases, but this is a good one):

International Spirit Challenge Judging at the Scotch Whisky Experience

Moving from its established London home for the first time; the whisky element of the International Spirits Challenge is being held in Scotland at the Scotch Whisky Experience from 5th – 7th June 2012. Ten of the world’s most experienced Master Blenders will come together to judge in excess of 300 whiskies. Visitors to the Scotch Whisky Experience will be able, for the first time, to catch a glimpse of the experts at work with a live webcam linked to the Whisky Shop. There will also be a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet with the Blenders at a unique event; “An Evening with the World’s Master Blenders” giving whisky lovers the opportunity to meet;

John Ramsay, The Edrington Group, Chairman of ISC, Scotch

John has been on the judging panel since the inception of ISC in 1996 and became Chairman of Judges in 2007 following retiral of Ian Grieve, first chairman. He retired from Edrington in 2009 after 43 years in the industry with responsibility for Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Glenrothes, Highland Park and Macallan.

David Stewart, William Grants, Scotch

David has been a member of the judging panel for more than 10 years with responsibility for Wm Grants Standfast, Glenfiddich and Balvenie – he will complete 50 years’ service at Grants this year.

Gordon Motion, The Edrington Group, Scotch

Gordon replaced John Ramsay in 2009 as Master Blender for Edrington with responsibility for Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, The Glenrothes, Highland Park and Macallan.

Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay, Scotch

Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay Blended, Jura and Dalmore single malts. Richard has been a judge for over 10 years with over 40 years’ experience in the industry.

Caroline Martin, Diageo, Scotch

Caroline is one of several blenders for the Diageo team – Bell’s, Johnnie Walker and a host of other products. She joined the panel about 5 years ago.

Chris Morris, Woodford Reserve, USA

This is Chris’s first time on judging panel – Master Distiller for Woodford Reserve, a premium Bourbon product launched in 1996. Only American who is a Keeper of the Quaich.

Seiichi Koshimizu, Suntory, Japanese

Seiichi is the Master Blender for Suntory, the premium Japanese distiller with some outstanding whiskies like Hibiki blended and Yamazaki Japanese single malt. He has been a judge for more than 10 years.

Tadashi Sakuma, Nikka, Japanese

This is Tadashi’s first time on the Judging panel as a replacement for Mr Hisamitsu both on the panel and as Master Blender at Nikka.

Billy Leighton, Irish Distillers – Jameson, Irish

Billy has been a member of the judging panel for about eight years with responsibility for the Jameson range and numerous other Irish expressions, liquid and vocal.

Angela D’Orazio, Mackmyra Svensk Whisky, Swedish

This is Angela’s first year on judging panel with responsibility for the Mackmyra range of Swedish whiskies. There is a fantastic growth of non-Scotch whiskies across the globe and it was felt we should have representation on the panel from that source. She is well known amongst the blending fraternity and very experienced.

A chance to chat informally with each of these renowned whisky experts will be followed by a tutored tasting of a special dram by Richard Paterson, Master Blender with Whyte & Mackay. The evening will conclude with a question and answer session hosted by the judges’ Chairman, John Ramsay, former Master Blender with Edrington. Be ready to discover some of the secrets behind the world’s most famous whiskies.

End of Press Release

If you have any questions for these folks, comment below and I will try to get a chance to ask them.

Chris Hoban


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