When did you first develop a passion for whisky?
I started collecting whisky in my early days and over time I got very interested in the history of Scotch
whisky and knew that I had to start the trail of discovery by trying the different single malts of Scotland. Twenty years later I feel like I have just started the trail - I continue to learn something new everyday.
It's our round - what are you having?
Currently I am in love with our new range of whiskies, Elements of Islay, especially the CL1 (Caol Ila).
A common misconception of me is?
That I only like whisky. I am passionate about other good quality spirits, the challenge for me is to discover new spirits which are not currently in the UK and bring these to market. We have recently started a new company, Speciality Brands,
to do this. We already have some amazing brands such as Diplomatico Rums, Chinaco Tequila. Jensens Bermondsey Gin and Jensens Old Tom Gin.
If your profits doubled tomorrow, how would you spend the money?
Buy more whisky. It's getting harder and harder to find malts from the lost distillers.
How do you deal with irritating customers?
Our philosophy is that the customer is always right
- 99% of the time we solve the problem to their satisfaction .
If you could swap jobs with anyone for one day, who would it be?
Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo. I would like to experience what it would be like to run the most important drinks company in the world.
What's more important, what you know or who you know?
What you know. Being knowledgeable in your field will help build your business over the long-term. You may know someone important now, but they are only as good as they last.
Can you give us an unusual food and whisky matching tip?
I remember having steamed sticky rice in a Japanese meal with Lagavulin 16 Year Old. I find that anything in the tapas style works well with whisky.