Interview - Gregor Hannah from Lady of the Glen
Next up in my series of interviews of people in the whisky industry is Gregor Hannah the man behind the Lady of The Glen bottlers
Gregor has been running Lady of the Glen for a number of years now and kindly took time out recently to chat to us about whisky.
1. How long have you been involved in the Whisky Industry?
I've been involved with Hannah Whisky Merchants ltd for three years now. But, I've worked with Whisky since I was a student at University and I worked part-time in Stirling.
2. What’s your earliest Whisky Memory?
Well my Dad, who was/is a piper used to receive a Whisky for piping at weddings and so he accumulated a lot of Whisky over the years. Some of the nicer bottles were stored in a cabinet and I remember that glowing golden cabinet of Whisky - it was like a treasure trove the way the light would reflect off and I remember being in awe of this. So really I was more taken by the aesthetic and the prestige with which Whisky was held rather than the taste as I was too young to taste and appreciate it.
3. What’s your proudest moment in your career within the Whisky Industry thus far?
That's a difficult one. Exporting felt good, when I first exported to Germany I couldn't believe it! But, now I'm exporting to a number of countries and it's about managing the demand.
4. What was the last dram you had?
22 Year old Bourbon cask Tullibardine from Cadenheads.
5. What other whiskies and/or distilleries inspire you and why?
I'm excited to see Daftmill releasing their Whisky. When I visited Francis at the distillery he gave me a really lovely tour and I enjoyed his Sherry and Bourbon casks - you get the feeling that Francis is under no pressure at all and he's benefiting from that independence. It's also refreshing that all of the component parts that went to make up the distillery were constructed and/or sourced locally to the farm.
6. What is your dram of choice?
I don't really have one. Fortunately Whisky is not a marriage so there's room to try other things. I did get a bottle of Hibiki for Christmas and so that's put me on a path to try more Japanese Whisky.
7. The whisky industry seems very strong at the moment, where do you see it going over the next few years?
It is strong. I wrote an article on my thoughts if minimum pricing is introduced,
At present I see it very much diverging into different areas and niche markets, creating 'unique expressions' and flavours to suit particular markets and yet with improved production and warehousing we could be looking at a more homogenised spirit coming from the distilleries. I wouldn't like to assume too much in the years to come but one thing is for certain, the prices for older Whisky are going to go up.
8. Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
We're looking at finishing our casks and experimenting a bit more going forward. So over the next five years I would like to think we have developed a solid reputation for that.
9. What is the strangest whisky superstition you’ve came across?
I've always heard of superstitions in the Whisky industry but I've not been exposed to them. Although glimpsing into Cadenheads in Edinburgh you would suspect there are a few superstitions regarding the immovable shop design but at least the stock changes.
10. What dram would you absolutely not be able to live without?
My joined first release was an Invergordon 24 year old Single Malt. In my opinion it's one of the best I ever released and it's my wife's favourite. The number 1 bottle, they were all individually numbered as all Lady of the Glen are once again, is very important to me as that's where it all stems from for me. So that's the one Whisky I couldn't live without.
Many thanks to Gregor 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 the Lady of the Glen website for more about this fantastic whisky bottler.