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EWA Alumni: Grant Ballentine

EWA Alumni: Grant Ballentine

Grant Ballentine, a former Diploma in Single Malt Whisky candidate, has created a new YouTube channel to talk about whisky. We caught up with him to find out more…

What attracted you to the Diploma in Single Malt Whisky?

My day job is with BMW Group working as an underwriter. In my spare time I enjoy rock climbing and, of course, whisky. I read up about the course and wanted to be able to broaden my knowledge. I also liked the idea of having a credible certificate.

What aspects of the course did you find most enjoyable?

I would have to say having all of Vic’s knowledge available to us. I would also say the tour of Glenkinchie distillery where we could “revise” helped see the physical processes we had learned. The whole atmosphere of the course was brilliant.

Has the Diploma changed the way you think about whisky, either personally or professionally?

I don’t believe anything was changed, but it helped me become more enthused than I already was. Having a more detailed knowledge in the processes that go into making whisky has made me more confident talking about it. I’m now using everything I learned from the course to help with my new YouTube channel Talking Whisky. I give whisky reviews and short segments explaining whisky and the processes to make it.

Whisky wisdom: quick fire questions

First whisky you ever tasted?
Glenlivet 12.

Best whisky you have ever tasted?
Oh, a tough one. I have a Top 3, Longmorn 16, Balcones Mirador and GlenDronach 18.

What person or people, dead or alive, would you most like to conduct a whisky tasting for?
I enjoy giving tastings to my friends who are new to whisky or are exploring bottle with me. I’d like to conduct one for would be Daniel Whittington from Crowded Barrel/The Whiskey Vault. I have had a tasting with him and would like to flip it where I pick the whiskies out for him.

Favourite distillery to visit?
I think it has to be Crowded Barrel Distillery in Austin Texas.

Ultimate bottling for your collection?  
As they have made a new version that is differed, it has to be the Old Longmore 16. Followed very closely by Balcones Brimstone Redux.

Favourite non-whisky drink? 
I’m a sucker for a good espresso martini but I’m also a big gin fan.

Favourite whisky and food pairing?
A smoked haddock and black pudding risotto with Laphroaig Lore.

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