Q & A – John D. Lamond – Lecturer, Author on all things Whisky – Part 9
The Whisky Boys have only known John for a short period of time, he is our lecturer at the Whisky Trail course in the City of Glasgow College, you can read more about this on our Whisky Boys – Back to School story.
If you check out his website www.johnlamond.com you will soon see he has a wealth of knowledge and experience on the Whisky industry, and we are sure, as the weeks and his course continues we will hopefully get to know John a little bit better too.
Once again the Whisky Boys are very happy to have another influential name to complete our Q & A section of our website.
Now lets see how John got on with our Questions:
1. Q. When did you first get involved in the Whisky Industry and why…. maybe it was a calling from the angels, or your family were already involved?
A. I started work in Dewar’s in 1974; was there until 1979 when I moved, within DCL, to Low, Robertson in Leith (Abbot’s Choice, Chequers, Linkwood & 40 other brands). I was there until 1988.
My family have had a long connection with Whisky. My great-grandparents owned Lochailort Hotel, then Glendaruel Hotel and finally Lochearnhead Hotel, where my mothr was born. My maternal uncle was banqueting manager in the Savoy in London and I had a maternal aunt who managed several hotels around the UK in her life. My maternal grandfather was a bank manager and, when he was posted to manage the branch in Dufftown, he was in his element as a Whisky drinker.
So you could say that Whisky is in my genes.
2. Q . If you weren’t in this industry where would you like to be and what would you be doing? Remember you are in the real world you still need to be making an income.
A. If I had enough money behind me (and no family ties), I would like to be able to go off and work for Jubilee Scotland, Christian Aid, Oxfam, the Fairtrade Foundation or similar and right some of the wrongs we have imposed upon this world and its peoples. I campaign as much as I can for various causes. If I had to earn a crust, then buy a hotel, or does that count as still “in this industry”? If it does then, become a teacher.
3. Q. So far what has been your proudest moment in the Whisky Industry?
A. There have been quite a few:
Winning the Master of Malt title in 1987; publication of the first edition of The Malt File in 1989; the greeting I received when I arrived in Japan in 2010; being inducted as a Keeper in 2008…
4. Q. Do you have a favourite Distillery, which one and why?
A. That’s an unfair question, there are so many. I love the quirkiness of Dalmore and Pulteney and the hand-knitted characters of Bladnoch and Springbank; I have soft spots for Linkwood because I exported it with Low, Robertson (although was disappointed by a SMWS bottling (39.79) last year, it didn’t have the intensity and weight I expect), for Aberfeldy, the first distillery I visited in 1975 and where I had my initiation to cask strength whisky, for the view from the stillhouse at Caol Ila…
5. Q. Where is your favourite bar / pub for drinking your favourite Dram, and who would you choose to be with you?
A. As I mature (like whisky), I find that I like my comforts. The SMWS members’ room at The Vaults in Leith IS comfortable. Fiddler’s in Drumnadrochit ticks boxes with its laid back, off the wall approach to whisky, or The Kempock in Gourock which is owned by a buddy. I would choose whisky-loving friends and throw in Tom Morton, Ian Buxton & Bill Lumsden for some whisky humour.
6. Q. Has there been a Whisky recently that has surprised the hell out of you?
A. I was amazed by how forward and approachable a 15 month old sample of Chichibu was; I was amazed at how well integrated the alcohol is in Wild Turkey 101 8yo; I reaBladlly enjoyed the elegant and flavoursome Tobermory 15yo and the flavours of the hope of early summer in Bladnoch 8yo.