Miss Whisky

Frauen in der Whisky-Branche sind nicht nur selten, sondern auch selten bekannt. Die Finanz-Journalistin und Whisky-Bloggerin Alwynne Gwin ist angetreten, das zu ändern. In ihrem Blog "Miss Whisky" stellt sie regelmäßig auch interessante Frauen aus der Whisky-Branche vor. Bei meinem letzten Besuch in  London [siehe hier] hatte ich Gelegenheit, mich mit der gebürtigen Kanadierin über ihre Rolle als Whisky-Ambassador und ihr Engagement für die Marie Curie Krebsstiftung zu unterhalten.




  • Do you remember your first dram?
    Well, that's a tricky one. My "first dram" was what originally put me off of whisky when I was 18 as a friend and I bought some cheap bottle from an off-license one night for a beach party and proceeded to drink the whole thing. I then proceeded to feel well, shall we say, rather ill! It put me off whisky for four years. Then my first proper dram I also don't recall - I tried a few on the evening I fell for "whisky" collectively. I was so overwhelmed with how amazing really good whisky was that I was hooked but I unfortunately did not make note of which one it was that really got me into it. All I know was that it worked!
  • How did you become a Whisky ambassador?
    I started writing full time about whisky in 2011. I'd just gone freelance as I had been a journalist for 10 years by that point and wanted a change in my job. I had been developing the Miss Whisky concept for six months when I launched the site and put huge amounts of time working for free in those early days trying to get it off the ground, to network, to learn about the spirit. I was never so broke (!) with no income coming in but I suppose that's what you have to do if you really love something. I continued trying to put in as many hours as possible and was very lucky to meet some important people early on who helped introduce me to more and more contacts in the business.
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  • Will we see more of your tasting videos for the SMWS in the future? I would like to do some more! My background is partially in broadcast journalism so I very much like working in the video format, though I was always behind the camera in production in the past rather than in front of it! Still, fingers crossed they will be keen to do some more!
  • Do you offer professional tastings at the SMWS?
    I do not yet, though that is hopefully in the works. I do currently run whisky tastings in London of my own accord and as a part-time ambassador for The Balvenie in the southeast of England. 
  • Do you think it is more difficult for women to do whisky tastings on a professional level than for men?
    I don't think so - I just think it comes as more of a surprise to people that there are women conducting tastings. But, every class I've taught thus far has been brilliant with people always being respectful and, most importantly, interested in the whisky first and foremost.
  • Recently, you organized a charity tasting for the Marie Curie Cancer Care. What was the reason behind it? Do you plan similar activities in the future?
    The charity is close to my heart as I lost my mother to cancer when I was 13 and the work they do does so much to help individuals with cancer and their families. I began to volunteer with them two years ago so knew them well. Every year, the charity asks people to host tea parties and when I was up in Scotland in the spring, I got chatting to the team at Glengoyne and found out they produce something called the "Teapot" dram and would be willing to help out in providing whisky for the charity event. Everything else fell into place and it was a joy to hold a great afternoon tea party with friends raising money for a great cause, drinking lovely whisky cocktails out of teacups! I definitely plan to do more in the future.
  • What advice do you have for women who want to start exploring the wide world of wonderful whiskies?
    Whatever anyone says, it's not strange for a woman to like whisky. I still hear this a lot, and it's not necessarily meant in a rude way, but more out of curiosity. It tends to come from the general public, not the whisky or bar industry and it does surprise me. After that, I recommend by far the most important thing is to go to a whisky tasting. Like anything in life, you won't like it as much if you don't get to know a bit more about it and a whisky tasting can be a great way to learn about the spirit and, importantly, to learn what you really like yourself. Then you can start exploring further based on the whiskies you enjoyed most!
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