There are a few great names in the whisky industry, titans of the spirit, who know exactly what makes the perfect dram, and Colin Scott is one of them.
Keeping it in the family
Scott grew up around whisky. His father and grandfather both worked for Robertson & Baxter, which is now known as the Edrington group. Living in a household surrounded by whisky meant that Scott picked up a thing or two, and whisky became somewhat subconscious.
Whisky was in his blood, but it was a while before he really embraced the calling.
Scott was not initially as in love with whisky as you might expect. When he started of at Chivas, he didn’t enjoy drinking whisky. The company represented lots of gin, vodka and rum brands as well, so although he was in the whisky department, it was still easy for Scott to embrace other spirits.
However, you can only avoid the excellence of whisky for so long, and Scott eventuallygrew to love the spirit. After having started with Chivas in 1973, at Glenlivet Distillers bottling hall in Leith, it was in 1989 that he was made Master Blender.
Since then, Scott has created an incredible legacy at one of the best whisky brands in the world. He has crafted some amazing malts that will go down in history as markers of excellence in the world of Scotch.
In a recent Zoom call, Scott discussed his time at Chivas, which ended this year when he retired. And even after 47 years in the industry he still says “I’m still learning”.
During his time at Chivas he pioneered new maturation techniques, including the use of French oak casks. His perhaps best known creation is the Chivas 18 Year Old, which was released in the 1990s. It is an exceptional malt, and one that will forever be known as a stand out dram. Scott also recreated, as closely as possible without a recipe, the original 1930s Chivas 25 Year Old.
More recently he has moved the brand towards not using age statements, a growing trend within blending that Scott says has been a tradition for blenders for centuries. This sums up how he sees blenders, as guardians of quality and tradition within the whisky producing industry.
Scott remembers his own favourite creation at the Century of Malts Blended Malt, which was released in 1996. This curious blend was crafted from 100 different Single Malts, a true exploration of the quality of Scotch.
In his own words, whisky can be boiled down to “cereal, water and yeast” and oak, but the flavours that this combination can create are endless. That is what inspires Scott to keep creating.