The Whisky Show attracts some of the whisky world's most sought-after guests, from writers to whisky makers and ambassadors to distillery owners. 

  • Alex Chasko

    Alex Chasko

    As the first employee of Teeling, he has been involved in developing the whiskey and the distillery from the very beginning. Previously he was the Innovation Manager at the Cooley Distillery and began his career at Bridge Port Brewery in Portland Oregon. Alex graduated from the prestigious Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland where he completed his MSc. in Brewing and Distillery. Alex is at the forefront of innovative Irish Whiskey distilling, maturing and blending.  

  • Andrew Lennie

    Andrew Lennie

    Andrew's career in hospitality began in 2007, working in revered cocktail bars and restaurants across the globe for over 10 years. Throughout this time Andrew developed his spirit knowledge, particularly focusing on Scottish whisky.

    In 2017 Andrew was introduced to the owners of the newly opened Lindores Abbey Distillery in his hometown, Newburgh, becoming their first ever brand ambassador. He was instrumental in developing one of most impactful brand stories in the business and spearheaded the launch of their award-winning Aqua Vitae.

     

  • ASHOK CHOKALINGAM

    ASHOK CHOKALINGAM

    Credited as the reason for much of the success of Amrut in international markets, Ashok spends much of his time traveling across the globe conducting seminars and masterclasses focusing on the growth of Indian whisky and in particular the award-winning Amrut range.

     

    Awarded the Icons Of Whisky, Rest Of The World, Whisky Ambassador Of The Year for 2016, Ashok has a reputation for delivering insightful and witty masterclasses that are sure to surprise and inform in equal measure.

     

    A keen sportsman, Ashok is always keen to talk about his beloved cricket but, after studying in The North East, wears the burden of being a Newcastle United supporter.

  • DANIELE BIONDI

    DANIELE BIONDI

    Starting out as a Bartender from the late 90s, with a stint as director of a Rum bar in Milan from 2003-2006, Daniele founded the first blog in Italy regarding rum in 2006, rumclub.org, organising tastings and seminars all over the country.

    Daniele served as the Italian country manager for WIRSPA (West Indies Rum & Spirits’ Producers Association) from 2008-2010 and 2013-2015 for the project Authentic Caribbean Rum, which allowed him to travel among all distilleries in the Caribbean, managing the ACR communication campaign and doing dozens of educationals all over Italy and Europe.

    He joined Velier in 2010 as marketing manager for their rum portfolio, helping with selections of Demerara bottlings, Caroni, and other partnerships with Agricole rhums producers. In 2012, along with Luca Gargano, he discovered Clairin, the Spirit of Haiti and participated to whole project of bottling, launching and developing the brand over last few years. 

     

  • Daryl Haldane

    Daryl Haldane

    Daryl has worked in the whisky industry for over 12 years. He began his journey as a bartender in some of Scotland’s most recognised bars. As a competing bartender, Daryl travelled extensively sharing his creative ideas and views on spirits and cocktails across the globe.

    He soon became involved more directly in the industry, working for Diageo as a Luxury Brand Ambassador and Edrington as Head of Education, before joining Whyte & Mackay as Head of Whisky Experience in April 2017.

    Over the last 10 years, Daryl has focused on single malt whiskies, sharing the stories of some of the most prestigious brands in Scotland. Daryl is a Keeper of the Quaich.

     

  • Dave Broom

    Dave Broom

    For over two decades Dave Broom has been a freelance writer covering a wide range of spirits, particularly whisky and rum.

    He is Contributing Editor for Whisky Magazine and writes regular articles for its international sister publications, as well as for Whisky Advocate and a range of other specialist drinks magazines. Dave is also Chief Engineer for our news partner, Scotchwhisky.com, contributing regular articles and some of the finest tasting notes the world has ever seen.

    A certified Malt Maniac since 2005, Dave has released a number of acclaimed books, including the award-winning Rum, Whisky: The Manual, and The World Atlas of Whisky.

  • David Stewart

    David Stewart

    Born in Ayr on the west coast of Scotland in 1945, David Stewart started work at William Grant & Sons as an apprentice in 1962, the year before Single Malt Scotch Whisky was first officially exported to England, when Glenfiddich became the first single malt to be enjoyed outside Scotland.

    Following a 12 year apprenticeship at the independent family distillers learning the skills of nosing and blending the best quality Scotch whisky, David was appointed Malt Master of William Grant & Sons in 1974; a position he has held ever since, making him the longest-serving malt master of any distillers in the industry.

    During his 50 years at William Grant & Sons, David has developed an award-winning range of single malts and blends which have earned him some of the industry’s top accolades and helped the independent William Grant & Sons become Distiller of the Year an unprecedented five times by the International Spirits Challenge (ISC), four times by the International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) and for the first time by the World Whiskies Awards in 2011.

  • Dhavall Gandhi

    Dhavall Gandhi

    Considered by many as a polymath whiskymaker, Gandhi applies a vast array of novel approaches to the whisky-making process. His creative influences range from a spectrum of domains – art, mathematics, perfumery, and winemaking to name a few. 

    Gandhi was the whiskymaker for The Macallan before he was recruited by the Lakes Distillery to formulate their whisky strategy and product portfolio. Although he is obsessed at optimising every stage of the flavour development process, the focus of his career is maturation and blending – and developing an expertise in Sherry cask maturation. He is a Chartered Scientist in distillation and judges at various prestigious competitions, including the IWSC.

     

     

  • Dr BILL LUMSDEN

    Dr BILL LUMSDEN

    Holding a PHD in Biochemistry, he combines his talent for both art and science and is renowned for his ground-breaking wood management techniques, experimentation with exceptional casks at various ages and utilisation of extra maturation to deliver outstanding whiskies. 

    Dr Bill is regarded as a pioneer of innovation in the malt whisky industry and is renowned for his unsailable excellence. This has been recognised through an array of accolades.

    For two years in a row, in 2016 and 2017, he has been awarded Master Distiller of the Year by the International Whisky Competition and was named Master Distiller/ Master Blender of the Year at Whisky Magazine's Icons of Whisky 2016 awards. He is the only person to have been honoured three times with The Malt Advocate 'Industry Leader of the Year' Award in 2001, 2006 and 2008. Dr Bill was also awarded the IWSC 'Outstanding Contribution to the Industry' in 2010 and in 2015, received a Special Recognition Award for a Master Distiller/ Blender by the International Spirits Challenge (ISC).

  • George Grant

    George Grant

    George started his career at Inver House Distillers and moved to Hong Kong to work for the brands distributor there. He spends his time speaking about and presenting Glenfarclas to whisky lovers the world over.

    George will be at the show to chat about his family's whiskies and maybe tell a few tales of life as a brand ambassador.

  • Georgie Bell

    Georgie Bell

    Georgie Bell has spent over a decade in the whisky industry, from working behind the bar at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, to travelling around the world talking as a Global Malts Ambassador for 8 years – most recently for John Dewar and Sons.

    A BSc in Distillation, coupled with a love of travel, endless devotion, drive and determination Georgie has made it her life mission to get under the skin of whisky. She was also the youngest woman to gain Livery with the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

    Standing up to misconceptions and challenging the so-called ‘image’ of whisky along with all the stereotypes that go with it, Georgie is striving for diversity within the Scotch whisky category. She’s trying to get the industry to shake off the pipe and slippers image of yesteryear. While others avoid discussing the pink elephant in the whisky room, Georgie doesn’t, offering up plenty of insight in to some of the industry’s most avoided topics.

  • IAN PALMER

    IAN PALMER

    Ian Palmer Started working in the whisky industry in 1978 with the Invergordon Distillers Co. as an engineer at their grain distillery. Following the takeover of that company by Whyte & Mackay Ian worked in numerous roles in distilling and packaging. After 27 years he moved to the Glen Turner Company, managing the building of their bottling and maturation facility and the construction of the Starlaw Grain distillery.  In 2011 Ian formed the John Fergus & Co which in 2014 started the construction of the Inchdairnie Malt Distillery, which started distilling in late 2015.

  • Ichiro Akuto

    Ichiro Akuto

    Ichiro Akuto was born in Saitama on the outskirts of Tokyo in 1965 into a family that has been making sake since 1625.

    After studying at Tokyo University of Agriculture, where he majored in Fermentation Science, Ichiro started working for Suntory in 1988.

    In 1995 he joined the family sake business, also producing whisky, which his father ran in Hanyu. However, as a result of the economy, the business ran into difficulties and was eventually sold in 2000 with Hanyu distillery being destroyed in 2004.

    Akuto-san established Venture Whisky in September 2004, and launched Ichiro’s Malt whisky, bottling the remaining casks of Hanyu, most notably with the pioneering Card Series range of single casks releases.

    With the distilling and production experience gained at BenRiach and Karuizawa distilleries, Ichiro built Chichibu distillery in November 2007; the first spirit flowed from the stills in March 2008.

    Ichiro and his whiskies have won many accolades, including World Whiskies Awards and Whisky Advocate Awards.

  • JOY SPENCE

    JOY SPENCE

    In 2018, Joy was the first female to receive the Jamaica Prime Minister Medal for Science and Technology, continuing the trailblazing journey she started in her beloved Jamaica at the age of 13. Joy Spence's career began with being appointed chief chemist for J. Wray & Nephew in 1981, and from 1997 became the Master Blender at Appleton Estate - making Joy the first female master blender in the spirits industry. Joy’s amazing career is chronicled at the recently opened Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience at the Appleton Estate Distillery in St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica.

  • LOUISE MCGUANE

    LOUISE MCGUANE

    Louise is no stranger to the drinks trade, having spent the previous 20 years working for Diageo, Pernod Ricard and Moet Hennessy in countries such as North America, France, and Singapore. Louise then returned to her family farm in County Clare, Ireland to resurrect the lost art of Whiskey Bonding which ceased to exist in the 1930s due to the collapse of the Irish Whiskey Industry.

    She is Ireland’s ONLY modern whiskey Bonder maturing and blending whiskey just a mile from the Atlantic Ocean. The story of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey is a story of a Woman determined to bring back the lost art of Irish Whiskey Bonding.

  • Luca Gargano

    Luca Gargano

    Luca Gargano is a living legend in the rum world. CEO of Velier and discoverer of some of the world's rarest rums, as well as an incredible storyteller, he is one of the most sought after speakers about cane spirits.

    He started his rum journey in the 1970s as an ambassador for St James rum, but moved into becoming more corporate in his mid-twenties when he became marketing director for Spirit S.p.a, Italy's largest importer of spirits. However, in 1983 he started the current chapter of his career when he bought into family-run importer Velier.

    Velier has expanded over the years and become well known for its rum offerings. Luca has been behind the acquisition of incredibly rare rums for the company, including the last known stocks of spirit from Caroni, closed since 2002 and now one of the most sought after rums in the world. He has also worked with distilleries across the Caribbean to create new rums, including Bielle on Marie Galante, where his own Rhum Rhum spirit is made.

    Luca is also the creator of the Gargano Classification of rum, trying to introduce some order to the often confused world of rum.

  • MARK AND KATE WATT

    MARK AND KATE WATT

    Anyone that has been to one of Mark’s tastings before will have heard him state ‘Chill filtering is evil’ so obviously they won’t be doing that! Nor will they add any caramel colouring or other additives. Mark and Kate said, ’this will be our first ever whisky show with Watt Whisky so we’re very excited to be able to attend and tell everyone about our first release and our plans for the future.'

  • MARK BRUCE

    MARK BRUCE

    Mark’s career spans over 14 years, he spent the first 10 years working across the drinks and hospitality industry in Australia, before relocating to the UK. During his time in England, he trained and worked as a sommelier, before undertaking a BA (Hons) in International Wine Business.

    Mark spent 2 years with William Grant and Sons as an Account Manager in Central London. He then made the move over to Whyte & Mackay as a Premium Business Manager, looking after key accounts in the region. Mark managed the relationships with some of the best bars and restaurants in Central London across the company’s single malt portfolio.

     

  • Mark Gillespie

    Mark Gillespie

    Mark is a veteran journalist with four decades of experience in broadcast and online journalism, and was recently inducted into the Kentucky Distillers Association’s Order of the Writ for his contributions to whisky-focused journalism. In addition, he has been recognized for his work by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Spirited Awards, the Academy of Podcasters Awards, the Drammies Awards, the Alaska Press Club, and the Houston Press Club. He is a former president of the Alaska Press Club.

    Mark and his family own CaskStrength Media, and are based in the charming, yet regrettably dry town of Haddonfield, New Jersey. 

  • MARK REYNIER

    MARK REYNIER

    Mark began his career in the London wine trade in 1980, forming La Réserve – one of London's premier wine & spirit merchants, before resurrecting the mothballed Bruichladdich Distillery at the end of 2000. There he introduced pioneering cask finishing policies, brands such as Port Charlotte and Octomore, as well as launching The Botanist, one of the world's best-selling gins.

    Bruichladdich was sold to Rémy Cointreau 2012 with Reynier going on to purchase the former Guinness brewery in Waterford, transforming a state-of-the-art brewery into a modern distillery. July 2018 work commenced building the game-changing US$30 million Renegade Rum Distillery in Grenada, which is due for completion this Autumn.

  • Mickey Heads

    Mickey Heads

     Like his father and grandfather before him (his grandfather was head maltman at Port Ellen and his father was a stillman), Mickey has a true passion for distilling and continues this legacy from his home at the Ardbeg Distillery, on Islay’s rocky shoreline.  

    Mickey’s career began in 1979, when he joined the Laphroaig Distillery on Islay, cutting peat.  He worked his way up to become brewer from 1990 to 1999, also assisting at Ardbeg during the most turbulent time in the Distillery’s history.   In 1996, when Ardbeg shut down – perhaps for ever – Mickey’s passion for Ardbeg came to the fore.  He and a small group of Ardbeggians believed that the smoky malt would rise again, as it did in 1997.  And so, they saved a handful for casks – their foresight preserving the Distillery’s most precious stock from oblivion, including the casks which became Ardbeg Twenty One. 

    In 1999 Mickey “emigrated” to the neighbouring island of Jura where he was the distillery manager at the Jura Distillery until 2007.   That year, he was appointed Ardbeg Distillery Manager – and, ever since, Mickey has been looking after the day-to-day production of Ardbeg, to ensure that it remains The Ultimate Islay Malt Whisky.   

    On 1 October, Islay native Mickey (the 20th manager at Ardbeg) will pass on the torch to a new Distillery Manager, as he starts his well-deserved retirement. During his decade at the helm, Mickey has overseen great change at the Distillery.  Not only has the whisky risen to become the most highly awarded smoky malt, but Mickey himself was acclaimed as Distillery Manager of the Year, at the 2014 Global Icons of Whisky awards.  Ardbeg has also marked its 200th anniversary, become the first Distillery to send spirit into space, and extended the reach of Ardbeg Day – the annual celebration of all things Ardbeg – across the globe.   

    Although his time as Distillery Manager has come to an end, Mickey will remain close to the Distillery, retaining his role of Chair of the Ardbeg Committee.

     

  • MITCH WILSON

    MITCH WILSON

    Mitch Wilson began his fascination with rum working at the London’s world renowned Trailer Happiness. His passion for rums from all around the world has led to him regularly traveling to distilleries, furthering his own knowledge, while bringing back both exceptional booze and stories to share.

  • Richard Paterson

    Richard Paterson

    Richard was initiated into the whisky trade when began his career as a general production assistant at A Gillies & Company Whisky Blenders & Brokers in Glasgow. After a few years, he moved to Whyte & Mackay and swiftly climbed the company ladder to become master blender at the age of 26. He holds the same title to this day.

    Richard’s day-to-day work involves looking after Whyte & Mackay’s range of whiskies, from the everyday blends through to the company’s award-winning single malts: Dalmore and Jura. He has been responsible for helping to create some of the world’s most expensive whiskies, including Dalmore Trinitas, and the Mackinlay’s ‘Shackleton’ blend, created in celebration of the explorer’s journeys in the Antarctic.

    Richard is well known for his spirited style of teaching whisky, and those who have experienced his tastings have been known to be treated with an extra dram, sometimes in a glass and sometimes thrown at them! He is a master educator and is passionate about sharing his experience with others.

  • STEPHEN MARTIN

    STEPHEN MARTIN

    Stephen Martin began his career in hospitality in 2002. His career began just as the renaissance of cocktail culture in the UK was gaining real momentum. Stephen became a huge part of this movement through his exploits as a successful competing bartender.

    Having worked in cocktail bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels across the globe for over 10 years enabled Stephen to build up his knowledge by visiting some of the worlds most important distilling regions, developing  his industry knowledge and experience. As a result of his successes Stephen has been working in the spirits industry for the last 8 years representing whiskies from the Diageo portfolio which also involved spending a large percentage of his time at distilleries all over Scotland.

     

  • STEVEN OLSON

    STEVEN OLSON

    Steven Olson has been helping to shape the beverage industry for over 40 years.  Getting his start in restaurants, he’s gone on to be a writer, consultant, educator, and lecturer, and is particularly known for his pioneering work with Sherry, Spanish and Greek wine, Sake, Gin, and Agave spirits.  He’s opened nearly 50 restaurants and bars to date, including Gramercy Tavern in New York City, and was honored as Best Bar Mentor at the Spirited Awards at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail. 

  • Stewart Buchanan

    Stewart Buchanan

    In 1993 Stewart started work in the industry as a Stillman in Tobermory Distillery on the Island of Mull. There he learned  skills in production and also helped maintain the distillery on the engineering side. On the purchase of Benriach distillery 2004, Stewart jumped at the chance of joining Alan McConnochie, Distillery Manager (also ex Tobermory Distillery), to help restart the distillery which had been closed since 2002.

    From there he moved himself between all aspects of the industry, from production to warehousing, office work to hosting tastings, eventually becoming Production Manager in 2006. In 2012, Stewart moved into the Global Brand Ambassador role for the company, which entails travelling to all of the brands  markets across the world, hosting tastings, attending whisky events and working with media, letting as many people as possible experience all expressions over the three distilleries. With his background being predominantly in production, Stewart likes to explain the different techniques used in the process and also what makes the whisky unique by using several styles of casks in maturation. 

  • Stewart Walker

    Stewart Walker

    Beginning his working life in farming, Stewart made the move into the whisky industry in 1990. Having held most of the production roles that the distillery has, taking the journey from warehouseman to mashman to stillman and distillery brewer, he finally took on the top job in 2015. Over the years Stewart has proudly gathered a number of achievements including being made a Keeper of the Quaich in 2017, overseeing a major refurbishment and welcoming an increasing number of visitors to Fettercairn.

    Beyond the distillery, Stewart takes on the role of advocate for Fettercairn with varied and regular trips where he can share his passion and extensive knowledge with those new to the brand.

    the move into the whisky industry in 1990. Havingmashman to stillman and distillery brewer, he finallyBeyond the distillery, Stewart takes on the role ofwhere he can share his passion and extensive

  • Stuart Baxter

    Stuart Baxter

    Stuart has over 10 years experience in the drinks and whisky industry and now spends his days dreaming of post Covid travels so that he can spread whisky love!

    Prior to joining Douglas Laing he was living in India promoting the Single Malts portfolio for Pernod Ricard.

  • Tom Jones

    Tom Jones

    Diageo Global Scotch Whisky Ambassador, Tom Jones has an unwavering passion for fine spirits. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Tom has delved into the world of whisky with relentless detail, exploring craftmanship, flavour and heritage with precision, a commitment that is recognised in his status as a Keeper of the Quaich. 

    Tom is first and foremost a storyteller. With knowledge of the history, tradition, and production of whisky, he lives and breathes the intricacies of the spirit, able to recall origins from the ground up. This skill means he is a trusted, go-to voice for the industry, acting as a host and keynote at high-profile events, regularly commenting on all things whisky and drinks in the media, and sharing the story of Scotch globally. Tom’s journey has taken him to over 80 countries in all the continents, bar Antarctica, so far! If there’s a runway or a port, he’s probably been there to talk about Scotch.

    A meticulous planner with a passion for on the job coaching and training, Tom is the ‘go-to’ guy for Scotch training, capabilities programs design and implementation.

     His joy of whisky comes not just from the rich history of the spirit, but from the opportunity to introduce new people into the fold, encouraging them to appreciate whisky in an entirely new way.

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