At the family owned William Grant & Sons they have a malt master and master blender by the name of David Stewart who recently gave an enlightening interview to the Guardian Newspaper. This gave us a little insight into the job that all of us would like to have, not an easy job to get with only about 12 in Scotland.
David left school at the age of 17 in 1962 with just 5 O-levels and was told in no uncertain terms by his parents to go and get a job. He promptly got 3 interviews one with and Insurance Company, one at a bank and one at William Grant & Sons. He was offered all three (a scenario school leavers now can only dream of) and chose to go and work in the world of whisky. His boss was the master blender and after 2 years clerical work his boss took him under his wing to learn the art of ‘nosing’ whisky. David quickly learnt what to smell for in the whisky, what should be there and more importantly what shouldn’t. David quickly identified that to ‘nose’ the whisky was going to be the most difficult part of the job and it took 12 years before David could prepare a blended whisky. By the time David was 29 he had taken over as the malt master at William Grant & Sons after his boss left the company. With William Grant owning such famous whisky as Glenfiddich, Grant’s and Balvenie this was a great honour and he has taken it forward with gusto since.
David spends 90 minutes per working day nosing whisky both from single malt casks and for blends. He also travels promoting whisky internationally and spending time in meetings talking about whisky. Oh it is a hard life David.