Distillery Profile: Stewart Walker (Fettercairn)

September 25, 2016

Distillery Profile: Stewart Walker (Fettercairn)

We have decided to forego the usual weekly review format for this week in order to provide a distillery profile for one of the lesser known distilleries on the market which has been producing some rather exceptional whiskies over the years.

We've had the pleasure of corresponding with Mr Stewart Walker - the Manager of Fettercairn distillery -  and he was more than happy to answer some questions about the distillery and himself.

Over to you, Stewart!

B: Hi Stewart! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. First of all, please tell us about yourself.

S: My name is Stewart Walker and I am married with 4 children. I have been working at Fettercairn distillery for the past 26 years and started out as a warehouseman. Over the years, I have progressed through the ranks and have worked as a Mashman, Stillman and Brewer before being promoted to Distillery Manager last year.

B: With Whyte & Mackay having been sold by United Spirits (and by extension, Diageo) to Emperador Inc, has this change of ownership affected the company and distilleries in any way (e.g. future plans, direction, production etc)?

S: Since Whyte & Mackay was taken over under the new ownership, the distilleries within the company (including Fettercairn) has been looking at things with a more long-term view rather than viewing things as a short-term fix. Such a shift in the vision has been very good for the company as it provides us with a clear direction of where we want to go.

B: What makes the whisky produced at Fettercairn special in your opinion?

S: Fettercairn whisky is special in my opinion as we have stuck to traditional methods when it comes to crafting our whisky. We have been utilising the same water source for the past 192 years and all the staff we have had working at the distillery are passionate about their jobs and the whiskies that we produce.

B: If you could pick one whisky from the Fettercairn range as your favourite, which one would it be and why?

S: If I could pick one whisky from the Fettercairn range, it would definitely have to be the 30 Years Old expression as it is a whisky that is very full-bodied but also very smooth. Ideal for sitting down with at the end of a busy day!

B: Fettercairn has historically produced unpeated whiskies but in recent years has produced small quantities of heavily peated spirit. What are your thoughts on this relatively new development?

S: I am very happy that we are producing peated whiskies as it allows us to explore a different dimension of flavour and provide a varied offering of whisky to our customers.

B: What is the age of the oldest cask left in the distillery warehouses at the moment and could you provide some information about it?

S: The oldest cask we have within the warehouses at the moment was distilled in 1965 and it is a beautiful spirit which is sleeping within a sherry butt.

B: Finally, if there was one thing you could tell consumers in order to get them to start drinking Fettercairn whisky, what would it be?

S: I would tell consumers to not judge the whiskies we produce at Fettercairn based on other people's opinions. I would rather that they try it for themselves and realise what a wonderful spirit Fettercairn is. It is a distillery which has been a sleeping giant and it is ready to be woken up and enjoyed throughout the world

The Single Cask would like to extend our humble thank you to Mr Stewart Walker of Fettercairn distillery for the opportunity to interview him and we wish him the very best with his future endeavours (and look forward to tasting more of the delicious whiskies from Fettercairn)!

Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask 

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