Fast 5: Ewan Gunn, Diageo Whisky Master
Recently Ewan Gunn, Diageo Global Whisky Master toured India to introduce a few of the company’s Scotch whiskies. Over a tasting, Gunn and I discussed the changing trends in the world of whisky: the delicate art of blending vs. the notion of drinking a whisky simply for its age. The last few years ‘Single Malt’ has become somewhat of a buzz word in India (following from the global trend) with drinkers moving away from blended Scotch or what their ‘father’s and grandfather’s drank’ and instead passionately examining their favourite Speysides and Islays.
But that stuff isn’t necessarily what connoisseurs are made of. In fact, as Gunn explained, to blend a whisky is much tougher, requiring years of experience to be able to arrive at the same final flavour profile year after year. Different whiskies, each with a unique flavour profile must be selected in precisely the right amounts to create that perfect dram. Every. Single. Time. I imagine it’s much like writing a symphony for a 40-piece orchestra. Put into context then, you see why Black Label and its ilk continue to excite drinkers even a century later.
But blend or not, as long as you know what you like and, more pertinently, how you like to enjoy it, it’s all good. That my friend, is what makes a connoisseur!
I asked Gunn to share some of his whisky peeves as I throw a quick volley of questions at him, in “Fast Five”. More pictures of our tasting and dinner up here: