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Julie Trevisan Hunter of The Scotch Whisky Experience


This week we spoke to The Scotch Whisky Experience‘s Head of Marketing, Julie Trevisan Hunter. She tells us about The Scotch Whisky Experience’s new look, as well as her plans for World Whisky Day.

Tell us about your role at The Scotch Whisky Experience
I have been here for almost 18 years now – so I will have the choice of plenty of wonderful 18 year old Single Malts to celebrate!

What do you love most about your job?
It has to be the variety – working in both tourism and Scotch whisky simultaneously gives us so many opportunities and we meet the most wonderful people.

It’s also great to be able to share Scotch whisky with the world, especially as we host so many film crews, travel journalists, photographers and bloggers who take our message far afield.  In the past few weeks I have hosted BBC filming for a piece on James Bond and Whisky, and a Dutch film crew for a documentary on Scotch.

What has been your career highlight so far?
Having the opportunity to be closely involved in the blending of our 21 year old anniversary whisky.  It was an incredible privilege to be let loose in the blending lab (under the expert tutelage of the Master Blender of course!) and try my best to pay testament to the knowledge gleaned over the years from so many industry experts.

The Scotch Whisky Experience has just been given a whole new look – talk through the updates
Our private events business has grown phenomenally in recent years, so we felt it was time for a total revamp of our events spaces, both to enhance our venue and as a fitting completion to the 6 year, £7 million refurbishment of the entire building. The rooms have been given a luxurious whisky-inspired theme, with specially commissioned artwork mixed with all the latest technology. We’re delighted with the results

Whisky tasting can seem intimidating to some, how do you make it more accessible?
I think this is where we really excel! Our tour experience is built around taking people from novice to the first sparks of a Whisky passion in just a short visit. We use the regional variations and primary flavour characteristics to show the extreme differences between say; a rich and fruity sherry casked Speyside and a vanilla and smoke filled bourbon casked Islay. Anyone can pick out these flavours and tell the difference so it gives people a real confidence and great starting place.

We also know that it is not just the flavour that can hook people. Scotch Whisky is such a rich topic so we cover all the aspects; production, geography, climate, history, culture and even the mystery.  Everyone finds a different facet fascinating and that can be what draws people to a love of Scotch Whisky.

What is it about Scotch Whisky that sets it apart from other whiskies?
That’s easy – Scotland. We see visitors from all over the world and they are enchanted by Scotland and how its diverse landscapes and the integrity of its people help to craft the world’s best known spirit.

The whisky industry is booming, with some bottles now being sold for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Why do you think this is?
Scotch Whisky has an exceptional heritage and the brands are steeped in history. It is also one of the highest quality products on the market and the growth in demand in recent years has made limited editions and undiscovered gems highly desirable.

What’s your favourite whisky and why?
Ah-ha that would be telling – everyone has to find their own favourite and I know how easy it is to influence people. I’m not about to spoil anyone’s journey of discovery!

World Whisky Day is coming up – how do you plan to celebrate?
We expect record numbers for the special World Whisky Day version of our Gold Tour, with unusual derivations of contrasting regional whiskies, and matching chocolates. The surroundings will match the high-end drams, as we’re giving all Gold ticket holders the chance to taste their whiskies in the newly refurbished events suite. We’ll also have a twitter competition, cheese and whisky matching in our Amber Restaurant, and a free whisky liqueur sampling in our Scotch Whisky Shop.  After all that, I’ll be putting my feet up at home with whisky and chocolate in hand!

Quickfire Questions

Describe Edinburgh in three words
Dreams and drams.

Where’s the best place in Edinburgh to enjoy a wee dram?
It has to be in the World’s Largest Collection of Scotch Whisky – just run a Google image search and you’ll see how many people agree!

How do you drink your whisky?
With dark chocolate in the evening.

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