Join brand ambassadors from Scotland and around the world. Meet whisky bloggers, writers, connoisseurs and amateurs alike.
Alex Bruce is Managing Director of Adelphi Distillery Ltd and the Ardnamurchan Distillery. He has been involved in the Wine & Spirits Industry since 1996, heading up Adelphi since 2004.
He is a direct descendant of Andrew Usher, who is credited with producing the first ever blended Scotch whisky in the 1850’s, Ushers OVG.
He is a Keeper of the Quaich, a member of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, and an honorary member of the Whisky Guild of New Zealand.
He also sits on the board of directors for Scotland Food and Drink.
Andrew (Andy) Dunn
President – Gold Medal Marketing Inc.
Andy has been involved with the selling and importing of beverage alcohol – specializing in Scotch whisky for approximately 20 years. GMM represents Springbank Distillers Ltd., Tullibardine Distillery, Gordon & MacPhail/Benromach Distillery and Kilchoman Distillery. Along with Spencerfield Spirits and Pràban na Linne – The Gaelic Whiskies. In April of 2008 Andy became a “Keeper of the Quaich” #1779 – an exclusive, international community of members recognized for their outstanding commitment to Scotch Whisky.
After 13 years working for KWM (Kensington Wine Market), first as a delivery driver and then as the store’s resident Scotch and whisky expert I purchased the business April 1st 2015. In my time here I helped to put KWM on the international map as one of the World’s top whisky shops. In March of 2015 Whisky Magazine awarded us “Highly Commended” or 2nd place for “Whisky Retailer of the Year – Single Outlet”. I’ve also built a reputation as one of Canada’s most trusted whisky experts. On April 11th, 2011, I was inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, the first Canadian retail expert to be so honored. I have my own whisky tour company, www.fergusonwhiskytours.com. I am also the President of a Calgary whisky club, The Companions of the Quaich, Calgary Chapter. A native of Calgary, I studied Military History at the University of Calgary. I spend much of my free time outdoors, and am especially fond of skiing, hockey, mountain biking and triathlon. In October 2010 & 2011 I qualified for and competed in the Xterra (offroad triathlon) World Championships in Maui!
Best whisky experience: Sampling the White Bowmore 1964 ($4300) in the No.1 Vaults at the Bowmore Distillery on the Isle of Islay. The No. 1 Vaults are located below sea level along the shore of Loch Indaal, and are prone to flooding. More than 200 years of accumulated whisky fungus and salt stains give this earthen-floored warehouse the feel of catacombs, and when combined with the scent of maturing whisky casks, many over 40 years of age, the atmosphere is spiritually intense. The No. 1 Vaults at Bowmore are possibly the most holy place in the world of whisky. And to have sampled the White Bowmore there was the experience of a lifetime!
ASHOK CHOKALINGAM Head – International Operations, Amrut Distilleries Pvt Limited, Bangalore, India
Ashok Chokalingam joined Amrut Distilleries in February 2004 as Territory Manager – Sales and Marketing, responsible for marketing and logistics for the EU market. He assumed responsibility of International Sales and Marketing in Feb 2007.
Ashok was awarded with ‘Icons of Whisky’, Whisky Ambassador of the Year in 2012 by Whisky Magazine, U.K.
Born in Tamil Nadu, India, Ashok has wide workplace experience in several fields, including information technology (IT) and engineering plus academic qualifications in Mechanical Engineering and Business management. Ashok completed an MBA at Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, in December 2002, having been awarded an international postgraduate scholarship by the university of Newcastle Upon Tyne. Ashok is an active member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London and is pursuing his Diploma in Distillation.
An accomplished athlete and sportsman, Ashok was vice-captain of his college cricket team and won a bronze medal for the 4x100m at the Indian inter-polytechnic state athletics meet. While studying in Newcastle, Ashok played cricket for the university and Cow gates Sports Club, participating in British Universities Sports Association League and Northumberland county matches. He is an active supporter of Newcastle United Football Club.
Date of Birth: May, 1974
Barry describes himself as a single malt whisky ‘amateur’, from the French ‘lover of’ – with the advantage of approaching whisky with an open mind and in a financially disinterested manner. Barry enjoys exploring all facets of whisky, especially its relationship with food and ambience. ‘Scotch is a social drink to be savoured and shared with friends – it’s just the beginning of the experience,’ says Barry.
Barry has hosted many whisky tastings, strategically pairing whiskies so as to compare and contrast their unique and common characteristics.
He is Co-President of the local chapter of the Companions of the Quiach – a whisky appreciation club.
Bisi Zhang started as a “wine person” with her WSET level 3 and French Wine Scholar background. Even though she doesn’t hold as many qualification titles as wine, Bisi has gone through extensive private training from Davin de Kergommeaux and Michael Nicholson and broad sampling of whiskies from around the world. Now, Bisi has established a good sense of her own palate and whisky knowledge.
Dave’s love of Whisky was kick-started in the mid ‘80’s when he worked in the Pubs of London, England. In subsequent years, longing for fine whiskies in British Columbia was frustrating – and the void was filled by frequent visits to other provinces and states. Discovering hidden, rare and wonderful gems – and sharing them with friends became a passion. By late-2002 this had inspired Dave and a group of like-minded individuals to band together to launch the West Coast Whisky Society… and their Mission of “Celebrating the Water of Life”. Having hosted ~100 Whisky Tasting events since, Dave and the many volunteers from the WCWS have supported charities, enhanced corporate events and shared their love of Whisky with countless individuals. He looks forward to “sharing a dram or three” with whisky lovers at the inaugural Vancouver Whisky Festival.
David McMillan is president of the Westshore Chapter of the Companions of the Quaich on Vancouver Island, and a recent graduate of the Springbank Whisky Academy. He is also a bagpiper currently playing with the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band. David takes delight in sharing his passion of whisky with others. When it comes to whisky, his motto is, “You don’t drink whisky. You taste it.” David likes to use the analogy that each dram of whisky is different, just like people. That tasting a whisky is like having a conversation with a person who has a story to tell. The more time you spend conversing, the more the whisky opens up and reveals itself.
David is looking forward to greeting you with his pipes and sharing a dram or two.
DAVIN DE KERGOMMEAUX is the author of Canadian Whisky: The Portable Expert, the definitive guide to Canadian whisky. An independent whisky expert, de Kergommeaux has been writing about, talking about, and teaching about whisky for more than fifteen years. His writing and tasting notes appear regularly in Whisky Magazine, Whisky Advocate magazine, and various lifestyle publications. De Kergommeaux has also contributed to or co-authored three other books about whisky, and two about spirits and cocktails. He is the founder, and head judge for the Canadian Whisky Awards, and publishes comprehensive notes about Canadian whiskies on canadianwhisky.org. Follow him on twitter and instagram @Davindek.
Ian Chapman is Marketing Director for Gordon & MacPhail. A Keeper of the Quaich, Ian joined the business in 2005 and is responsible to developing, implementing and monitoring marketing strategies for Gordon & MacPhail and Benromach. In 2015 Ian oversaw the launch of numerous initiatives including Benromach 15 Years Old, Gordon & MacPhail’s “Wood Makes the Whisky” campaign and the launch of Generations Mortlach 75 Years Old by Gordon & MacPhail at the Royal Opera House in London in September.
I have been involved in Kilchoman since my father first told me and my brothers about his mad plan to build a new Islay distillery back in 2003. Since then I have had a number of roles at Kilchoman varying dramatically in responsibility from polishing stills and painting doors to mashing and distilling. My current position as Kilchoman brand ambassador for North America and Europe takes me far and wide spreading the word of Kilchoman and our short but intriguing history.
Founder and Creator of the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Jonathan Bray and his wife Cindy own Secret Spirits, a Canadian based manufacturing and importing company focused on exceptional whiskies from small producers. Jonathan has built his career around seeking out unique and exclusive whiskies from all over the world with a heavy bias towards amazing Single Cask Scotch. A regular blogger on his Singlemalting.com site Jonathan has been active in the whisky community for over a decade. Now in its second edition The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar brings together 25 never before released whiskies in the ultimate journey through the myriad of styles and complex flavors that make up with world of Scotch Whisky.
Mark Gillespie is the host and executive producer of WhiskyCast, now in its 11th year of providing whisky lovers with weekly news and interviews from the world of whisky. A former contributing editor for Whisky Magazine, Mark is a veteran journalist with more than three decades of experience in broadcast and online journalism. He and his family own CaskStrength Media in the charming, yet regrettably dry town of Haddonfield, New Jersey.
Nick comes from a bartending background. Having stood behind various bars in Vancouver for many years, he gained an appreciation for whisky. The Peat smoke offerings of Islay initially piquing his interest, he branched out to discover many other whiskies from many other regions. Nick joined Fountana Beverage in 2013. The company has rapidly expanded its portfolio focusing on World Whisky and Independent Bottling. Nick is enthusiastic to introduce these drams to whisky drinkers everywhere.
Noel Buckley describes himself as an “equal opportunity alcohol enthusiast!”
Peter’s introduction to whisky was through his father, who worked for Gordon & MacPhail. In 2002, he followed his father into the whisky industry, initially working at Loch Fyne Whiskies, and later at Springbank Distillery.
Peter spent eight productive years on the Mull of Kintyre, gaining first-hand experience of traditional floor malting, distilling, warehousing & bottling under the watchful eye of Frank McHardy, before working up through the sales team to the position of Sales and Marketing Manager. The highlight of his time at Springbank was being awarded Young Ambassador of the Year and Distillery of the Year by Whisky Magazine in 2010. After eight years of dedicated service, the time was right for a new challenge. When Duncan Taylor Whisky Ltd asked him to swap the West Coast of Scotland for the West Coast of America, Peter and his family jumped at the chance. Peter now serves as Duncan Taylor’s International Sales Manager and resides in Los Angeles, California.
In Canada for the first time, Peter MacKay of Morrison and MacKay ltd will introduce a unique range of rare single cask whiskies from the companies Carn Mor Strictly Limited range.
Morrison and MacKay are a family business based in Perthshire, Scotland, run by Kenneth MacKay.
Kenneth’s son, Peter MacKay, joined the family business in 2010 and today is heavily involved with the sales and promotion of Morrison and MacKays brands across Europe and now in Canada.
Peter is qualified in distilling with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. In April 2015, Peter was awarded the honour of being made a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers in London.
Peter has been a very keen curler and plays in the local league in Perth alongside many former world champions so he is incredibly excited to make his first trip to Canada with his curling shoes in his suitcase just in case!
Leaving a buying position at the duty free Vancouver International Airport in 2006, he worked for Maxxium Travel Retail Americas as Key AreaManager Western Canada and US northern border, in 2009 he joined PVI Global to further develop the market. From there he led sales in BC until 2014, at which point he opened Barrica Wine and Spirits. Later he joined the Fountana Beverage Corporation, managing their beverage operations.
Throughout the years Roberto has developed a really good understanding of spirits, and he has made a name in the industry as a brand ambassador for the brands that he carries, as well as having really strong relationships with all key players and partners in the BC liquor industry.
Thomas is the General Manager for a local liquor agent in Vancouver. Thomas is also the co-president of the Companions of the Quaich, Vancouver Chapter. Working together with Barry Dunner, the social club focuses on whisky appreciation and food pairing. Thomas likes quality whisky regardless the age, cask type, region or grain type. Find your passion in whisky and look up the whisky club in town: www.vanquaich.com
Tony, a whisky aficionado and liquor enthusiast for over 25 years, has traveled the world visiting distilleries and breweries, procuring and collecting rare whiskies and other obscure liquors. He frequently organizes charity fundraising whisky tastings throughout British Columbia. As of late, Tony has been concentrating on the pairing of whiskies and cigars. Tony’s family business, Pedersen’s Rentals, is a proud supporter of many fundraising tastings for charity.