the 5-minute interview – All in good spirit

Dr Timothy John Woods, quality manager for Distilling at Whyte and Mackay, the company which has made the Dalmore 62 Year Old the most expensive single malt Scotch whisky yet, was in town recently to deliver a lecture on blending single malts. A scientist who took to alcohol rather well, Woods has been chairman of the Society of Chemical Industry at Scotland, leader of Whyte and Mackay’s nosing panel and a member of the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.
In conversation with Rishi Majumder

Photographer: Deepak Turbhekar

Dr Timothy John Woods

So how did a chemist become involved in the whisky industry?
Well, it so happened that I was given a grant to research wheat and barley processing. From there the makers of Gelnfiddich recruited me. I left that job for a brief detour in the oil industry but was back to whisky soon with Whyte and Mackay.

The Indian whisky?
It’s top end! I love Royal Challenge, for instance. It might not have the com
plexity of a single malt but it has very interesting tastes and flavours and a distinguishable peated element.

What’s your personal favourite?
Dalmore, because of its warm mouthful of aromas, and Talisker as it is unusually oily.

A place after Scotland, suited to whisky making?
Japan. Like Scotland, it has the sea, mountains, running streams of water and an ideal climate. The Japanese also have excellent research going on.

Single malt with soda or water?
I personally can’t see the appeal in having it any other way than pure – but to every person his or her own poison!

Why do so many whisky names start with Glenn, meaning valley?
Because valleys are where the streams supply the water and where whisky makers used to hide from excise officers.

A Dalmore whisky anecdote?
The guys at the distillery were so dedicated that each worked right up to New Year’s Eve even at the end of the millennium. Then of course they drank what they’d made in celebration.

This article first appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India:


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