International Women's Day 2021
Here at Kingsbarns, we believe women and whisky should be celebrated all year round. However today is a day to really talk about it! We asked some of our friends in the whisky industry to share their experiences and perspectives as women in whisky.
I've always had a passion for food and drink, but whisky has this almost magical aura that had me hooked right from the start. What I love most about being a journalist is telling a good story, and whisky is brimming with them. There's so much to explore, from the styles, regions, flavours and intricate production processes, to its history and generations of personalities that I don't think I'll ever be able to retell all its stories!
I feel very lucky to be part of such a wonderful, supportive industry, which really is like an extended family. Rarely has my gender been an issue; the whisky industry just sees passion and skill. However, I have felt on many occasions overlooked and underestimated by the public, who are generally very surprised when they learn I write about whisky. In their eyes, whisky is a 'man's drink', and I'm often asked if I even like it. It's a common misconception, which is why I feel it's so important for the industry to represent women more in their communications, not just around International Women's Day, but all year round.
I’ve only really liked whisky for about three years now, ever since a smoke monster from Islay caught my interest. Flavour has always fascinated me and especially in relation to where it comes from - be it tea, baked goods, wine or whisky - and I find that the more I learn about whisky, the more questions I have. It is like a never-ending world of knowledge that I’m very excited to explore and share with others. When I started sharing my whisky journey in social media I could’ve never anticipated how much it would’ve grown over the coming two years. And one of the absolute best things about it is the storytelling. Meeting people who have their own stories to tell and being able to connect in spite of age or cultural differences because we simply like whisky.
When I started working with whisky, it was in the tourism sector and I met so many wonderful people from all over the world. But I also met a lot of people that treated me with less respect and prejudice because of my gender. It is a slow moving progress but I am definitely seeing improvement in how the world sees the typical “whisky drinker”. Right now it also so exciting to follow so many inspiring whisky women that are doing such interesting things within the industry. I don’t want to focus on the negative aspects of being treated differently because of something like gender, that shouldn't really matter, when it comes to drinking whisky, but I can’t stress enough how important I think it is to encourage each other and come together over a love for this wonderful spirit instead of intimidating and lecturing each other. My aim has always been to offer a friendly and welcoming approach and I will continue to do so because I feel like the whisky world, or maybe just the world in general, needs it. In the end everyone (over legal drinking age of course) should be able to enjoy whisky however they want to - cocktails, neat, in milk, with cake, with haggis? You do you!
Slainte & Skål!
The summer I “discovered” Whisky I was in Edinburgh (2019), working at The Royal Edinburgh Tattoo where my friend told me to try his bottle of Glenfiddich Solera and my response “it wasn’t too bad...” The universe heard and fates aligned: I received my own bottle of the same Whisky as a thank you gift. Well, what was a girl to do?! She had to drink it. From that first summer my ‘Whisky Journey’ started. Had I ever expected to be on Social Media, forming incredible friendships, feeling part of an exceptional community, spending my free time sampling and reviewing? Never ever! Would I change it? Not on your nelly!
I joined Instagram nearly two years ago with one agenda: log the Whisky I try and to learn about the process because Whisky is an EXPERIENCE. I feel immensely grateful for the amazing people in this one-of-a-kind community and I have made online friends who have my back in what was a man's world. There were many women on Social Media before me, but gosh, it is increasing every moreover, all genders want to hear about the “behind the Whisky” process and people are generally becoming more aware of female roles in the industry.
I once said a bottle was beautiful and I loved the design, to which I received a response telling me to drink Gin because it doesn’t matter what bottle a Whisky is in, only the liquid matters. I feel this was a very “manly” attitude. Brands are thankfully noticing the power and opportunity of the female Whisky consumer. After all, chasing after men only captures 50% of the audience and more industries have long moved past sexist branding and marketing. I believe the female audience is also helping to make the industry turn towards a more sustainable, environmental stance too.
Whilst it is flattering to be recognised for representing ‘Women in Whisky’, I neither make the Whisky nor work with or for a distillery. Women have, for many years worked (and have been leaders) within the industry but thankfully they are now receiving the recognition for their fantastic work. I am just proud to be in a position on social media to share their story or represent female Whisky lovers. Slainte.