We sit down with Ron Welsh, Master Blender at Beam Suntory, the owners of five of Scotland’s most iconic distilleries. Laphroaig and Bowmore on Islay are probably the best known along with Auchentoshan on the outskirts of Glasgow. But it is in the North East of Scotland, in rural Aberdeenshire that our focus lies, at the lesser known Glengarioch and Ardmore distilleries.
Educated at Strathclyde University after schooling at Eastwood High, Ron’s career started in steel before taking a turn into the Whisky Industry almost by chance. Amongst his favourite creations are the Laphroaig 18 year old and this year’s Handfill at the Glengarioch distillery, opened on the 1st January 2020, thought to be the only cask in Scotland opened on the first day of the new decade.
Ron is renowned for his quality whiskies, and also his enthusiasm for his brands. Often seen at Distillery events backing his own products, he is one of the more ‘hands on’ Master Blenders. While thousands revere his whisky, Ron is a most modest man. Indeed, standing next to him in the Glengarioch warehouse opening the first cask of the decade, his wife asked him how he knew so much about the cask and it’s contents. “What do you think I do for a job?!” Was his reply. It seems not all are so keen to take an interest in his new releases! Always humble and honest, Ron tells us of his beginnings in the whisky world.
Why launch a Whisky Academy in the Highland Whisky Making Region of Scotland?
The idea came to me while I was attending the Edinburgh Whisky Academy. Having run the Inverurie Whisky Shop for 2 years at this point I was looking at expanding my own personal knowledge of Whisky. Looking for different courses I was amazed to see that there was nothing really in the North of Scotland for people, either in the trade or for enthusiasts.
We are delighted to announce that Vic Cameron has joined the line up of fantastic lecturers at the Highland Whisky Academy.
Vic’s experience in Barley and Malt Production, as well as his time in all fields of whisky production, make him the ideal man to lead our learning outcomes on Barley. Taking us through a scientific look at barley and the malting process, we truly are learning from the best here.
Having spent 23 years at one of the largest whisky companies in the world, Vic ended his time as Laboratory Services and Cereal Manager, meaning there are few who know more about this field than Vic.
Vic needs little introduction to those in the Whisky Industry, travelling the world as part of his whisky duties, affiliates include the Spirit of Speyside Whisky School, The Edinburgh Whisky Academy and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. He also runs his own training company, Discerning of Spirits, guiding newcomers and afficinados alike through their whisky journey.
We are thrilled that Vic has agreed to join us as part of the Highland Whisky Academy, and delighted for our students who will learn a great deal from him, and the other speakers, distillers and Master Blenders throughout the week.
To find out more about the Highland Whisky Academy, click Here