Meet the Judges
Whisky Festival International Ambassador Alwynne Gwilt aka Miss Whisky is a London-based journalist and Canadian expat who in 2011, out of a desire to widen her knowledge of whisky and to help increase the number of females writing about this fine spirit, starting writing her much praised Blog. The site launched in November 2011 after much research of the industry and she hasn’t looked back since.
The aim of Miss Whisky is to provide a wide range of content relating to the whisky industry – from features, to news, reviews and profiles of the women who work in this space – and to show that whisky is having a makeover, becoming a drink that can be appealing to a much larger demographic than it may have been advertised as in the past.
Patrick Duffy is managing editor with Peebles Media Group, the Glasgow-based publisher of several consumer and business-to-business publications including Scottish Licensed Trade News and Scottish Grocer Magazine and organiser of the SLTN Awards and the Scottish Grocer Awards.
Patrick currently edits Scottish Grocer and works on the SLTN Awards and Scottish Grocer Awards. He edited Scottish Licensed Trade News for many years, edited SLTN Catering & Hospitality magazine and has frequently been one of the judges of the SLTN Whisky Bar of the Year.
Vicky Duty helps run The Whisky Shop Dufftown with its owner Mike Lord. Set in the very heart of the Malt Whisky trail the shop welcomes a huge number of guests each year from around the world. The mission of the shop is to help its guests find their next favourite whisky.
Vicky loves to talk to people about whisky and help advise them on what to try and how to make their best out of the their visit to Speyside. She regularly holds tastings for visitors to Speyside, including during the Speyside festivals, to help them explore the extraordinary range of flavours that are present in single malt whisky and is invited to attend whisky festivals across Europe to share her passion for single malt whisky. She is a truly independent ambassador for Scotch Whisky. Vicky also writes tasting notes for the shop website and is involved in cask selection for the shops own bottlings. Her latest interest is pairing whisky and beer with food!
Blair Bowman had a profound vision – to create a day of celebration to toast Scotland’s national drink - and he never dreamt it would prove so popular. Today he is hailed as Mr World Whisky Day and drinks industry representatives are now beating a path to his door. The 23-year old's bright idea has since prompted more than 20,000 people to attend one of the 200 whisky events held in over 30 countries as far afield as Kuala Lumpur, New Zealand, Alaska and Argentina. World Whisky Day event on May 17, 2014
Penny Ellis jointly owns and runs Knockomie Hotel in Forres. With over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, Penny has also worked with J&B Rare Whisky and Cutty Sark Scots Whisky, looking after and managing the companies corporate guests. Penny developed a keen interest in whisky through her hotel located near the Western gateway to the Speyside Whisky Trail.
Penny has written many articles about whisky and used to write a regular Whisky Column for the Scots Magazine. She has written a book titled Distinguished Distilleries and regularly hosts whisky tastings at the hotel and other locations. Penny has been a Director of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival for five years.
Mike Collins is editor of The Northern Scot, one of the biggest selling weekly newspapers in Scotland, and Scotland's and the UK's top weekly award winner in 2012. A journalist for 40 years, he has been at The Scot for 27 of those, fulfilling a variety of senior roles before being appointed editor in 2007. He is proud to have the heart of Scotland's malt whisky industry on his patch and proud that The Northern Scot is media partner for the Spirit of Speyside Festival.
Tarquin de Burgh has been part of the wine and whisky trade in Scotland for over 22 years, cutting his teeth with Justerini and Brooks where for 3 years he learnt the ropes and how to pronounce Puligny Montrachet and Old Pultney and many more complicated names! It instilled in Tarquin, a love for wine and all things stronger too.
In 1999 he joined Inverarity Vaults as a shareholding director of what turned out to be one of Scotland's largest, and most successful, independent Wine Merchants
Following the sale of Inverarity Vaults, he decided to move on and set up his own Wine Merchants called de Burgh Wine Merchants. Still a fledgling business Tarquin's aim is to provide a very bespoke service to our clients, to make glittering additions to their cellars and compliment the lists they currently enjoy with their existing merchant. Oh and to have a lot of fun in the process!