In a perfect world, we wouldn't need to create a whisky tasting box all about amazing women in whisky. In a perfect world, gender-based stereotypes about our favourite spirit wouldn't exist. Things like "whisky is a man's drink", "women don't like strong or smoky flavours", "making whisky is hard work and men are better suited for it", that sort of thing. But, as our founder Chris puts it: "People who work in whisky know that women are very much at the heart and soul of the industry, but a lot of daft, sexist myths still persist despite this."
That's why we're celebrating inspiring women from around the whisky world. Since International Women's Day falls in March, we've partnered with six (female) whisky pros for our March "Women in Whisky" box of the month - of which we'll also be donating the proceeds to charity! Don't forget to grab your box before joining us at an extra-special virtual tasting, so you can taste along and meet these whiskymakers and distillery owners. In the meantime, here's a little bit about our tasting panel guests and why we think they're awesome.
Six Inspiring Women in Whisky
Founder, J.J. Corry/Chapel Gate Whisky
Louise McGuane left Cooraclare in 1995 and went on to pursue an international career in the luxury drinks industry living and working in New York, Paris, London and Singapore. She returned home in 2016 to found J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey on her family farm back in Cooraclare.
Louise brought back the lost art of Irish Whiskey Bonding, and became the first whiskey bonder in Ireland in over 50 years. She matures and blends award winning whiskies which are now exported all over the world. She is Ireland's only solo female founder in the Irish Whiskey Industry. #Girlpower.
Founder and CEO, Nc'Nean Distillery
Annabel started Nc’nean to change the way the world thinks about whisky from Scotland. In her own words, she aims "to create light and delicious spirits which can exist in harmony with this planet we call home". She quit her job in the city back in 2013 to start work on raising funds, then building the fully organic distillery from the ground up. Nc'nean also just so happens to employ quite a few women as part of their team. Late last year, Nc’nean released its first organic single malt and she can’t wait for you to try it.
Communications and Media Relations Manager at Whyte & Mackay
Taking a “less than traditional” route into the whisky industry, Laura’s career began in commercial photography, where she won several awards and accolades for her work. Since stepping away from the lens, Laura has since specialised in digital and communication disciplines. Laura has spent the past five years working within the whisky industry, but her love for the amber gold extends far beyond, fuelled by her very first taste of whisky – a Single Malt from Jura, gifted to her by her dad over a decade ago. Laura says it's still her dad's favourite dram, and he's proud she's now working with it at Whyte and Mackay.
Whiskymaker and Brand Ambassador, Compass Box
Jill Boyd is a Compass Box Whiskymaker who loves the excitement of whisky experimentation. And it’s no doubt her fascination with the blending process that led her to be named ‘Master Blender of the Year’ at the World Whiskies Awards 2020.
Jill has been part of the Compass Box team for four years, and works across both the core range and creation of new limited edition expressions. Previously, she was a laboratory analyst with William Grant and Sons in Dufftown, Scotland, helping manage distillery analysis and running the sensory panel for the three distilleries on site. This followed her introduction to the industry six years ago at The Drouthy Cobbler whisky bar in nearby Elgin. It was here that she first developed her interest in the nuances of style, regional variety and cask variations.
Distillery Manager, Penderyn Distillery
Laura has been with Penderyn for over 8 years now, in a variety of roles. Her responsibilities at this proudly Welsh distillery have ranged from managing the visitor centre; promoting the whiskies overseas as a brand ambassador; and managing all aspects of distilling and production. Not only that, but she is also lucky enough to have trained under the late Dr Jim Swan. Laura now leads the all-women distilling team, with Aista Phillips, blender, and Bethan Morgans, the trainee distiller.
Head Distiller, Cardrona Distillery
Sarah Elsom was born and bred in Dunedin, New Zealand. She pursued a degree in Viticulture and Oenology with Lincoln University and used that degree as a ticket to travel the world of wine; a Pinot noir harvest chaser. On returning home from Canada in 2014, Sarah saw opportunity in the Cardrona Distillery being built just 20 minutes from a place she had long settled on as home, Wanaka.
Hired first as a distillery hand, Sarah was put to work digging in the irrigation for the estate grown perfumery roses whilst the distillery build was completed. Captivated by this new extension of fermentation, there was no looking back. Five years later, Sarah is now the Master Distiller of the Cardrona Distillery. She feels incredibly grateful to work with such a passionate and engaged team. Sarah manages a team of three distillers (also women) and continues to dedicate herself to the pursuit of continuous improvement in a new world, that of premium spirits.
Celebrate Women in Whisky with us
On the 10th of March 2021, Dram Teamer Harri was joined by these six inspiring women for an extra-special virtual tasting! If you missed it on the night, you can watch back here.
And if you'd like to know more about the whiskies we were tasting, have a look here.
Taste more great whisky more often!
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