Join brand ambassadors from Scotland and around the world. Meet whisky bloggers, writers, connoisseurs and amateurs alike.
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.
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.
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!”
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.
Andrew was born to the whisky trade, from the first memories of his mother working in Glen Ord
distillery in the highlands of Scotland to selling whisky at the Whisky Shop in Inverness, Scotland; owned
Walls of Whisky, a whisky, wine and food tasting & entertainment company for 15 years; named ‘Master
of Malts’ by the Alberta Whisky Society; ‘Director of Kilts & Swords’ by the Edmonton Scotch Club;
‘Whiskypedia’ by the thousands of whisky tasters that Andrew has poured for and taught over the years;
and Brand Ambassador by Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery. Andrew is a WSET Level 3
certified wine and whisky sommelier and will both entertain and educate the lucky few that attend his
MasterClass – The Whisky Regions of Scotland – The Beautiful Myth
A discussion of the regions of Scotland and their flavour profiles. Leading into the prevalent myth of
terroir and the reality that still shape and production methods are more important that water source
in the middle of a road trip. She’s been enchanted ever since.
In 2014 she began offering casual, fun and approachable whisky tastings in her home. The tastings were
so popular, she was forced to expand beyond her Toronto living room – and she began partnering with
some of the city’s most popular bars and restaurants to host monthly tastings. Her whisky club, Bourbon
Thing continued to grow rapidly and provide a space for whisky aficionados and neophytes alike to enjoy
a dram, a laugh and some whisky education together.
Jamie is also co-host of a popular weekly Whisky Podcast, The Whisky Topic with Whisky Author, Mark
Jamie joined The Balvenie family as Canadian Brand Ambassador in January of 2017.
You can find her on tweeting and instagramming at @bourbonthing
The Macallan, Highland Park, Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Brugal Rum
Dan Volway is used to being an expert. With more than 20 years of experience in the
hospitality industry as a trained Sommelier and instructor with the Canadian Association
of Professional Sommeliers at Niagara and George Brown College, it’s fair to say that
Dan’s palate is exquisitely refined.For years Dan had imbibed on fine wines until a longtime
friend introduced him to scotch whisky and effectively
converted his formerly grape-focused palate to appreciate
the nuances of fine hand-crafted scotch. As his repertoire
expanded, Dan fell madly in love with The Macallan,
Highland Park, Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark – brands
known across the globe for their heritage, quality and
unrivalled approach to whisky making. When the
opportunity arose to represent his favourite scotch portfolio
in Canada, Dan jumped at the chance and was willing to
move across the country from Toronto to Vancouver to fulfill
his duty as Brand Ambassador.Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dan’s role is to connect with like-minded
individuals, groups and establishments by exposing the virtues of the whiskies he’s been
charged to represent. His schedule is filled with meetings and events held by various
whisky appreciation groups, where he works on building relationships and cultivating
connoisseurs who share the very same passion for whisky that attracted him to the
Dan is also responsible for connecting his brand with people in the spirit trade with staff
from some of the country’s top bars and prestigious restaurants all the way to swanky
speakeasies and stalwart pubs. “It’s a real privilege to be in a position to share my
knowledge and passion for scotch whisky with aspiring scotch enthusiasts and experts,
alike,” Dan says, explaining that his job is just as much about building relationships as it
is about showcasing the brands’ merits. “If I can help to bring a special epicurean
experience to someone with humour, warmth and insight, then I feel as though I’ve
done my job.”
Dan originally hails from Calgary, Alberta but has called Toronto home for the past 20
years. Dan relocated to Vancouver in late 2011 to pursue the job of his dreams.
James is a Fine Wine & Spirits Ambassador for Authentic Wine & Spirits in Vancouver. With over 15 years in the industry James has worked with brands such as Bruichladdich, Tomatin, BenRiach, Compass Box & Michters among others.
Kellie Du has strong wine and spirits experience, remaining in the industry after
taking her first job after graduation in 2010. Kellie has since deepened her industry
expertise through frequent travel to Scotland to learn the whisky making process.
She joined Kavalan Distillery in 2015 and started working as a Brand Ambassador,
which has taken her all over the world, attending whisky shows and holding Kavalan
Masterclasses and tasting events globally.
“It is my great honour to be part of the team of the one and only family-owned
whisky distillery in Taiwan. I love nothing better than to share Kavalan Whisky’s
distinctive and complex characters and to represent Taiwan to the world.”
Stacy Kyle joined the family business in 2009. Having previously worked in the food and
beverage industry the switch proved to be a natural fit. Stacy was a key influencer in
establishing the Rare Drams Whisky club in partnership with Legacy Liquor stores offering
a unique scotch whisky experience at Legacy Liquor Store throughout the calendar year. She
quickly expanded her role by hosting private and festival events at including the Victoria Whisky
Festival, and Tip a wee Dram. Stacy has also created somewhat of a niche by providing
women’s only Scotch Whisky tastings.
Anthony Wills, 60, has been involved in the drinks industry for 39 years. Fifteen in the wine trade
before moving to Scotland in 1995 and starting up an independent bottling company. In 2005 he
founded Kilchoman Distillery, a farm distillery on the west coast of Islay. Every aspect of production
is carried out on site from growing the barley, malting, distilling, maturing and bottling at the
distillery. The first single malt was bottled in 2009 and is now exported to 40 markets worldwide.
Austin had his first taste of the industry back in 2010 as a Wine Brand Ambassador during
university and joined Enoteca Bacco Importers shortly after graduation in 2012. With 7 years of
industry experience in Sales, Marketing, Operations and Business Development, he is well
versed in the unique and exciting business of wine and spirits.
Although Wine was his starting point in the industry, it’s the allure, passion and camaraderie of
the Spirits trade that inspires him to stay. Austin is grateful to have had the opportunity to work
with and represent brands such as Nikka Whisky, Armorik, Rock Town, Dry Fly Distilling and
Dad’s Hat. Coming from a background of science and research, Austin approaches each brand
and whisky with the same level of curiosity and holistic understanding from his formal education,
and aspires to pass along his learning and experiences of these excellent drams to other whisky