Whisky jobs… Vic Cameron talks whisky consultants
We asked EWA teacher, Vic Cameron, to share his experience of the whisky consultant role, tell us more about the day-to-day and what qualities are required to succeed…
The role of a whisky consultant is to provide independent advice and expertise to companies in the area of whisky production. Obviously, whisky production is quite a broad area and there can be many different specialisms… so it is by design quite a unique job.
Get experience with a decent distilling company, covering as many roles in the industry as possible. I was lucky in that way, working from barley development and procurement, through malting and distilling management and also laboratory management and process optimisation.
You have to be able to push yourself, working for your own company and being your own boss, there is no-one else to do that. You also need to be able to get along with people, interpersonal skills are essential for this role. Experience, of course, is another requirement. I can only do this after 23 years working for a major distilling company and now seven in my own business.
With more countries making whisky today, there is more opportunity for travel. In the last 18 months I have been to France, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Singapore, Myanmar and China, and across the UK from Shetland to London to Northern Ireland (as well as Scotland of course) while working as a whisky consultant.
I think that I have the best job in the world; I am living the dream! At the moment I am involved in a project commissioning a new-build distillery and once this is complete, I’ll be helping to optimise the process. I am also helping a couple of clients to bring maturing stock together into a final expression for hitting the shelves. That means I am involved selecting, sampling and then evaluating whiskies, deciding what to marry together for the final product.
I teach at a number of educational establishments – Edinburgh Whisky Academy being one of them! This is a particular joy of mine, passing on my knowledge and experience to enthusiastic students.
Nosing and tasting sessions are another area I am involved with. All taking place online at the moment due to COVID-19 but I’m hoping that face-to-face sessions will be permitted again soon. And I also have a book that I am thinking about writing… one day