Meet the Educator: Samantha De Noia
Samantha De Noia, founder of creative whisky agency 9 Smoking Barrels, is our Approved Course Provider in Madrid.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the industry.
My journey in the spirits industry started in Italy, where my grandfather introduced me to the art of spirit making. After moving to Spain, I combined formal studies in spirits, wines, and mixology with hands-on experience in hospitality management. I've held diverse roles, from being the brand ambassador for Gordon MacPhail in Spain and developing luxury spirits brands to becoming a whisky trainer for professionals. Later, I fulfilled a dream in England, spending a year in Scotland before gaining more experience across Europe. Currently, I am the founder of 9 Smoking Barrels, a creative whisky agency in Spain.
How did you get into spirit education?
My journey into spirit education unfolded organically, shaped by early immersion in the industry and fuelled by a genuine passion. Drawing inspiration from both formal education and hands-on experience in pivotal roles like brand ambassador and whisky trainer, my commitment to sharing the intricacies of spirits deepened. Notably, my background in hospitality and people management has had a profound influence, emphasizing the importance of connecting with individuals and creating engaging experiences in the realm of spirits.
What excites you most about EWA?
The Edinburgh Whisky Academy excites me for its commitment to excellence in whisky education. I am thrilled to contribute to a program that upholds industry standards and fosters a deeper understanding of whisky. The academy's dedication to providing quality courses aligns with my passion for educating people on all aspects of whisky, making it an exciting collaboration.
What advice would you give someone wanting to learn more about whisky/get into the whisky industry?
My advice would be to start with a genuine curiosity and passion for the craft. Immerse yourself in the diverse world of whisky by attending tastings, visiting distilleries, and reading extensively. Seek out mentorship opportunities and consider formal education. As well, networking within the industry is crucial, so attend events and engage with professionals. Most importantly, don't be afraid to experiment and develop your palate, it's a journey of continuous learning and discovery.
Quick fire questions
First whisky you ever tasted?
Imperial 1993 Gordon & MacPhail.
Best whisky you have ever tasted?
Caol Ila 1983 / Mortlach 30 / Fettercairn 1997.
Favourite distillery to visit?
Strathisla / Ben Nevis.
Favourite non-whisky drink?
Mezcal / Champagne.
Favourite whisky and food pairing?
Ledaig with Truffled Cheese.
What person, dead or alive, would you most like to share a dram with?