The Glenlivet Master Distiller | Alan Winchester | Planet Whiskies Questions and Answers
Planet Whiskies recently approached Alan Winchester, the Master Distiller of The Glenlivet and ask him if he would answer a few questions from Planet Whiskies regarding working at The Glenlivet, the industry as a whole and how he likes to drink his whisky? Read about his thoughts of the Scottish Whisky industry below.
Planet Whiskies – Alan Hubner
Q&A with Alan Winchester, Master Distiller of The Glenlivet
How long have you worked at The Glenlivet Distillery?
I have been working at the The Glenlivet Distillery for more than 25 years – I started here in 1987, having begun my career in the industry in 1975.
What is your favourite part of the production of whisky?
I enjoy the whole production process, from seeing the barley growing through to seeing the final product on a shelf in a bar, as well as the challenge of making a whisky that lives up to The Glenlivet name and continues its legacy.
How many people help you at the distillery?
The actual number of people directly involved in production at the distillery is 16, but it’s very much a team effort. The additional support from those in the laboratory doing the analysis, the engineers, as well as those in the warehouse, looking after barrel procurement or actively bottling the product, is vital to ensuring the quality and consistency of the end product.
What is your favourite The Glenlivet malt and why?
A wee dram of The Glenlivet 18 Year Old with a splash of water. As for why, well why not?!
What is the best thing about working with The Glenlivet?
The fact that The Glenlivet is the original single malt Scotch whisky and is famous throughout the world is a source of great pride for me. It’s a privilege to be responsible for carrying on George Smith’s legacy and the fact that I happen to enjoy the work itself is an added bonus!
Which places in the world have you travelled to under The Glenlivet name?
Far off places like London.
With your malts do you normally have them straight, with water, or ice? And does this depend on the malt and where the malt is from?
The way I enjoy The Glenlivet varies according to where I am enjoying it, the weather and which of The Glenlivet expressions I choose. I generally enjoy my whisky with a little water but with the very old whiskies – such as Vintage 1964 from The Winchester Collection – I may use the water more sparingly.
What do you see in store for the whisky industry in the years ahead?
I love this industry and I’ve been surprised and delighted over the years by how certain trends can develop. It’s a very exciting time for malt whisky at the moment as interest in this category continues to grow around the world, particularly in places like India, where The Glenlivet has seen phenomenal growth in recent years. The Glenlivet has contributed to the growth of the global single malt category more than any other brand in the last five years and I think we can expect to see malt whiskies continue to win more fans around the world in the years to come.
Finally, what would you like to do in the future within the whisky industry?
Oh my goodness! Well, it’s entirely possible that I could retire at some point in the future, but I do certainly hope to continue to be involved in the whisky industry in some way. Maybe I’ll write a book about my experiences and the history of the industry. Watch this space I guess…