Interview - Daryl Haldane from Highland Park
Next up in my series of interviews of people in the whisky industry is Daryl Haldane, Global Brand Advocate for Highland Park
I've met Daryl a number of times at events and he's visited us out at Livingston Whisky Club also so it was a great opportunity to ask him some probing questions.
1. How long have you been involved in the Whisky Industry?
Since I began working in bars. I worked in my uncle’s restaurant when I was 14. I was a Kitchen Porter and then over the years ended up working behind the bar. My journey began all those years ago in the restaurant.
I ended up working in cocktail bars and began to learn more about the spirits industry.
I am 30 now, so for almost half of my life, I have been involved in hospitality. I have never looked at it like that before!
2. What’s your earliest Whisky Memory?
I am from the Kingdom of Fife. When I was young, 6 years old, I was in Cameron Bridge hospital for Scarlet fever. I remember looking out the window at the lights and thinking that’s a big spaceship…later on, I would learn that the ‘spaceship’ was a distillery called Cameron Brig.
3. What’s your proudest moment in your career within the Whisky Industry thus far?
Joining Highland Park was a pretty special moment. Everyone I have worked with over the years holds the distillery and the whisky in such high regard. To become part of that was and still is an amazing feeling.
My first dram as a father was also pretty special. I went to the Windsor Buffet in Edinburgh for a Highland Park 18 year old.
4. What was the last dram you had?
The last drink I had was a Highland Park cocktail in The Devil’s Advocate, Edinburgh. I have a bottle of Highland Park 12 years old at the ready for the weekend.
5. What other whiskies and/or distilleries inspire you and why?
American distilleries are fascinating. They are very good at trying new things and bringing them to life. I love the idea of small trials; they seem to be up for testing anything. I will be in Texas in October for a wedding and hope to visit a distillery near Austin. I have yet to break this news to the better half, so feel free to edit this answer!
6. What is your dram of choice?
Highland Park 21 years old. It’s ridiculous!
7. The whisky industry seems very strong at the moment, where do you see it going over the next few years?
I think single malts should be speaking to new people. I see malts being used in more cocktails. Great single malt cocktails are some of the best. This is a great way to attract new drinkers into the category.
8. Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
On a warm beach keeping one eye on my wee boat and sipping on a nice glass of Highland Park 21. I am going to win the lottery this year. In 5 years, I will be retired.
9. What is the strangest whisky superstition you’ve came across?
Years ago, at Highland Park, the kiln would have a tuft of heather thrown on top of the peat for good luck, prior to kilning. The trait is mentioned in Alfred Bernard’s book. I have never come across this at other distilleries.
10. What dram would you absolutely not be able to live without?
Highland Park 21years old is hands-down my desert island dram.
11. When will “Highland Park Steve” and its “interesting” bottle be released? (this is an in joke from Daryl being at Livingston Whisky Club.)
We discussed Highland Park Steve at great LENGTH, but we decided that the bottle shape was too HARD to make…maybe one for the future?
Tom Says - i know @steven_carrie will be disappointed not to have this bottle available for him yet
Many thanks to Daryl for taking the time to answer these questions and I hope you enjoyed viewing them, more in this series in the future and remember to have a look at The Highland Park website for more about this fantastic range of whiskies.