After a decade-long stint in IT, in 2011 Billy Abbott took a leap and left the world of finance to embark on a new life as a whisky writer.
Already a whisky blogger and regular at whisky tastings across London, he started work at The Whisky Exchange as a writer for the company's website. Over the years he has taken on a wider role, writing for all of The Whisky Exchange's various projects (including The Whisky Show and this very article) and leading whisky tastings for the company around the world.
Outside of work, he runs Whisky Squad, a London-based whisky tasting club, judges at drinks competitions and writes about whisky for a variety of publications, both print and online. He even sometimes gets a few moments to update his own blog, which will turn 10 years old in 2019. Writing his own bio for The Whisky Show website has been one of the stranger experiences of his whisky career.
Denis Nicol has an almost unrivaled knowledge of brewing and distilling, he literally wrote the book on whisky distilling; contributing the capter on distillation to "Whisky: Technology, Production and Marketing".
Starting his career as an Analytical Chemist at Hiram Walker, he went on to manage both Tormore in Speyside and Laphroaig on Islay. His time at Laphroaig spanned four years from 1976 to 1980; a time of some change at the distillery, with the output from his time as manager now revered by whisky fans. Denis' experience doesn't stop at whisky however, he also spent some time at Technical Manager at Demerara Distillers in Guyana.
Sukhinder has grown up in the drinks business. In 1971 his family opened an off license in Hanwell, west London – The Nest – and both Sukhinder and his brother Rajbir helped out in the shop. Sukhinder started to collect miniature bottles of whisky, and after progressing to full-sized bottles became well known as a buyer and seller of whisky. When his parents decided to retire, rather than take over the shop, he and his brother decided to create a new business online: The Whisky Exchange.
Over the past 19 years, The Whisky Exchange has grown from a small operation running out of the family home to being the largest specialist retailer of spirits online. Sukhinder has continued to collect whisky and now owns the world's largest collection of Port Ellen.
With a pioneering approach to bottling very old and vintage whisky, former Macallan managing director Willie Phillips is the man who made Macallan what it is today. He positioned Macallan as ‘the Cognac of whisky’ and combined irreverent advertising with his dedication to rich new-make spirit matured in sherry casks, creating through the 1980s and 1990s the template for Macallan's rise to fame.