I sat down with Struan Grant Ralph, the Glenfiddich Global Brand Ambassador whose Kingly, neatly trimmed, thick, beard grabbed my attention as soon as I met him.
Tell us about yourself
I’m what you would call a whisky geek. I love whisky and I’m passionate about it. I’m also a curious mind, I love discovering new places, meeting people, and experiencing new cultures.
Does your background in Chemistry play a role in your current position?
The underpinnings of good whisky production are all in the science. From when I was young I was really interested in Chemistry and this background I was already familiar with the whisky making process-scientifically. Thanks to my background it was easy for me to understand the whisky making process which can be quite technical. It really comes in handy when translating for people the technical process in a way that is easier to understand.
When was the first time you remember tasting whisky or your role as Brand Ambassador
I tasted whisky by accident for the first time. It is Scottish tradition to climb the 3000ft Munro Mountains and my dad and his friends finished climbing one of the mountains and they passed around whisky in a Quaich (a traditional shallow bowl with two handles on both sides used to drink whisky in ancient Scotland) and I happened to be at the end of the line. Being a cold afternoon with snow falling, at the peak of the mountain, all I remember is that going down the mountain was much more fun than going up.
Having been the Global brand ambassador for one and a half years now, what do you love most about your role?
People and Travel. The fact that on any given day I could be doing something totally different in any part of the world is thrilling.
Tell us your most memorable moment on the role?
This year I went to Soweto, South Africa and visited a bar in the middle of Soweto and I had one of the best evenings in my life. I’ve been to really high-end bars and lounges across the world and this bar was nowhere near luxurious but the culture and the energy resulted in a night I’ll never really forget.
What’s your ideal whisky cocktail?
I keep it quite simple so the classic Highball does it for me. That’s my ideal sun downer any day.
You are relatively young compared to the mature whisky industry, are there any challenges you face because of this?
I’m glad you said I’m young. The whisky industry is known for having a bit older brand ambassadors and though I may be a newer face, I wouldn’t honestly say I face any challenges. Unlike the previous years, we are now seeing younger people consuming whisky so I wouldn’t honestly say I have face any challenges. I believe my 20 years experience in the drinks industry has moulded me to suit the market. The fact that I tend to be away from my family and friends often due to the travelling required for the role is the only thing I wish I could change.