Over the last few years since starting this blog I have been introduced to some great whisky and of course some fantastic, friendly and ever so helpful people and none more so than those involved at Tomatin, so it is with great pleasure that I can bring you this interview with one of the members of the team involved in producing some absolutely delicious whisky at Tomatin..
A day in the life..
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
I was born and brought up in Orkney. I started in the whisky industry at Scapa Distillery, one of the two distilleries on Orkney, initially as a warehouse operator before progressing into production roles in both the mash house and still house. In 1992 I moved into the office to become a trainee brewer before being transferred to Glendronach Distillery in Aberdeenshire in January 1994 as brewer. October 1996 saw a change of employer with a move to Glenmorangie as assistant manager before taking on the role of Glenmorangie Distillery Manager in 1998. During the next 10 years I oversaw all aspects of production and maturation, increased the distillery capacity and spent time carrying out the brands ambassador role. After departing Glenmorangie in 2008, I took on the project of re-opening Glenglassaugh Distillery after 22 years of closure. In 2011 having overseen the resurrection of Glenglassaugh, an opportunity arose to join the Tomatin team in the position of Distillery General Manager and here we are.
Can you tell us a little about your day to day job and what is involved?
Although my title is Distillery General Manager that falls some way short of explaining my role – to be honest it’s not easy to explain as it’s very wide and varied but that is what keeps it interesting. I’m responsible for all aspects of production in the distillery from raw materials in (malt, yeast, water, casks etc.), scheduling of production programmes and the ongoing strive for quality and consistency in the new make spirit. I also have control of maturation in the warehouses. This covers everything from sourcing casks for filling all the way through to cask/whisky selection for use in bottling of the single malt. Longer term I must ensure that we operate the distillery as efficiently as possible so this requires keeping up to date with the latest advances in energy efficiency and environmental strategies. Throw in some PR work with tours and tastings, sitting on two committees within the SWA, day to day man-management, controlling budgets and it just about keeps me out of mischief.
How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started working at Tomatin in August, 2011, however I’ve been in the industry more than 27 years – time flies as they say !!
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Hard to say really but having pretty much full responsibility to come up with the recipes for all new expressions of Tomatin is definitely up there – and it’s great fun too !
What does whisky mean to you?
Everything – it pays the bills, gives me the best reason to get out of bed in the morning and has given me some great memories so far – both my children have even grown up in distilleries. Add in the fact it tastes nice and what more could you ask for?
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Anytime, anywhere as long as there are friends and family involved and someone else is driving obviously.
Meet “Frank” apparently he is a super Rabbit.. I’d say a lucky one !!
I would like to thank Graham for his time and all the people at Tomatin for all the endless help they give.
All photos are Courtesy of Tomatin..