Meet the alumni – A wee chat with some of our fantastic team from years gone by!

SWE alumni can be found all across the world, working as distillers, brand directors, and so much more! We couldn’t be prouder to have worked with such incredible people! And now some of our fantastic alumni, are very kindly giving us a wee treat by hosting a virtual tasting for our team this weekend. We thought whilst we had the chance we’d ask them a wee bit more about where they are now and find out what they enjoyed about their time working at The Scotch Whisky Experience, so here we go – enjoy:

Euan Christie – Distiller at Dornoch Disillery

What’s the most interesting thing that you learned at SWE?

How many distilleries were in Campbelltown – I still find that amazing!

What have you taken from SWE to your current role?

SWE massively improved my ability to think about whisky from a consumer perspective. Whenever I’m analysing our spirit up here in Dornoch I try to have the tasting lessons I gained at SWE in the back of my head to give me a different perspective to a purely production/analytical point of view.

What are some of your most memorable moments from your time as SWE?

It’s hard to choose as there is so many but giving a tour and then finding out Clive Vidiz’s daughter-in-law was present with her father and saying how much she enjoyed it is a definite highlight.

Cat Marney – Social Media Manager and Content Creator at Cask 88

What’s the most interesting thing that you learned at SWE?

Maybe a cop-out answer but the knowledge I first learned at whisky school and then developed over the 4 years has become the most interesting thing that I share with new people these days. When in doubt, whip out some whisky knowledge. 90% of people are impressed, and want to know more. Many, back in pre-covid pub-bing days, would be so impressed that they would buy me a whisky – just so I could tell them about it. So according to the people I meet, whisky facts and stories are the most interesting thing that I learned.

What have you taken from SWE to your current role?

Passion for the whisky industry, passion for the amber nectar itself, a sense of community within the larger Scottish tourism and drinks industry, the ability to talk about anything and in front of any number of people and, of course, so much knowledge.

What is your most memorable/ funniest memory of SWE?

Lots of strange, unexpected, hilarious and beautiful things happened to me while I was working at SWE but there is a more every-day memory that I hold very dear. I did a full tour mid-July that included an elderly Russian couple. The husband of this couple spoke no English but his wife had learned a little. They were the last people I put on the ride and, relatively out of original chat by this point, I asked the lady if she was a whisky fan. She seemed genuinely embarrassed to say she wasn’t and I assured her, somewhat tritely, that she would be by the end of the tour. She was a really sweet lady and we share a lot of smiles during the 50 minutes, even if she didn’t quite understand everything that was going on. At the end of the tour she made a point of seeking me out to enthusiastically tell me that I was right, that she did have a good time and now she did like whisky. Maybe it was the Summer fatigue getting to me but the lady seemed so genuine and sincere that I was almost brought to tears.

Ali Baxter – Brand Director at Burn O’Bennie Distillery (Ardent Sprits) ALSO co-host of soon to be released KilnCast Whisky Podcast!

What have you taken from SWE to your current role?

I have taken my knowledge of not just the whisky industry but the whisky consumer market into my role. Coming into contact with 1000’s of tourists means one gets the opportunity to interact with many different sectors of society and many different palates. 

What are some of your most memorable moments from your time as SWE?

One of my fondest memories would have to be in the “old sensory rooms” where after delivering a rather inspirational speech about blended scotch whisky, I went through the back to get a wee drink of water. As I did so, my colleague Iain (a much taller more bearded version of myself) took over the tour as if nothing happened. This was met with equal parts laughs and confusion as if I had just aged 10 years in the blink of an eye.

Jordan Edwards – Sample Room Technician within the blending team at Chivas Brothers

What have you taken from SWE to your current role?

This would undoubtedly be the passion for Scotch and whisky knowledge I gained during my time at SWE. The exposure to such a variety of Scotch brands paired with the passion for Scotch whisky amongst my former SWE colleagues made it such a great working environment to be in. The knowledge I gained from my peers and seniors was unbelievable – I truly feel it has set me up for the career path that I am on today.

Alex Lumsden – Production Intern at Glenmorangie Company

What have you taken from SWE to your current role?

I have taken my ability to communicate clearly and confidently to all levels of the business from our CEO and to other interns like myself.

What are your favourite memories from your time as SWE?

When we got to meet the Blenders and the distillers at the meet the blenders night during May it was such a great opportunity to try fantastic whiskies and talk to the people that created them. 

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