EWA Alumni: Ameesh Patel
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ameesh Patel and I confess I’m addicted to whisky! I have been very fortunate to both discover and fuel my passion for the golden dram by working in a whisky retailer for 13 years. I have, until recently, been working in The Macallan Boutique in Heathrow Airport.
I also have interests in reading, drawing, writing and Lego. All these things I can do while having a sip of whisky. I have also begun to host my own whisky tasting nights to get my family interested in single malts.
How did you first discover whisky?
Growing up in an Indian family, there was always a bottle of whisky on the table. As a young teen, I had some Jack Daniel’s and Coke at Christmas. It was heavily diluted.
What attracted you to study at EWA?
I was invited to do the Diploma with my colleague ages ago but we just didn’t make it happen. My manager also highly recommended the Edinburgh Whisky Academy. As I wanted to get some official certificates under my belt, I decided to listen to the wise words given to me and start with the online courses on offer.
What aspects of the course(s) did you find most enjoyable?
I really enjoyed the Introduction to Whisky Certificate. I already had a basic knowledge of the production process but it was a refreshing experience to learn about it again in a very approachable and user-friendly way. I found that nearly all my previous trainings and distillery tours tailor make the information they gave me was to their uniqueness. With the EWA, I was able to piece all the bits of data I already had and come out with a much clearer understanding.
How might you use your new-found knowledge going forward?
With a much better understanding of the Whisky making process, I am now on the lookout for another opportunity to work with whisky. Maybe as a tour guide. I will also host more whisky tasting nights and be able to clearly explain whiskies to anyone willing to listen.
Whisky wisdom: quick fire questions
First whisky you ever tasted?
Jack Daniels. But my first true Single Malt experience was when I tried Glenmorangie 10 Years Old. It was my first day in Duty Free and we had training at 6am. It was a great start to my day.
Best whisky you have ever tasted?
Paul John Kanya. This one is for the Sherry Cask lovers out there.
Who is your ‘whisky hero’?
I really respect David Stewart from Balvenie. I’m just amazed and awed by his continued mind-blowing releases. The Balvenie 17 Double Wood is outstanding.
Who would you most like to conduct a whisky tasting for, dead or alive?
I’d love to do a tasting with all the James Bond actors. They made drinking whisky look freaking cool.
Favourite distillery to visit?
Bimber Distillery in West London. We were very fortunate to have a private tour and it was spectacular. We met the head distiller and owner and had many drinks and wonderful conversations.
Ultimate bottling for your collection?
My collection is 30 bottles strong; it would have been more but collecting is thirsty work. My prized bottle is The Glenrothes 1985 Vintage. This is my favourite brand and the year of my birth. My ultimate bottle to add to my collection would be The Glenrothes 50 Years Old.
Favourite non-whisky drink?
Coffee. I’ll take it anyway it comes.
Favourite whisky and food pairing?
I’m experimenting with whisky and desserts:
Balblair 12 and Lemon Cheesecake or Macallan 12 Sherry Oak and Black Forrest Gateau.