Last week Dhavall tasted and judged almost 600 whiskys to discover the IWSC’s ‘Best Whisky in 2019’. With master-blenders coming together from The Lakes, Johnnie Walker, Dalmore, Kavalan, and more, it got us wondering whether whiskymakers are born or made?
In our whiskymaker’s case, it is definitely the latter. Always with the gift to ‘nose’, Dhavall started his working life as far away from casks, flavour and creation as you can possibly imagine.
In the world of corporate finance and strategy with Ernst & Young, he could be working anywhere in the world from Monday to Friday, before travelling home at the weekend. It wasn’t until his boss suggested a weekend stay in Kentucky that his whisky epiphany occurred.
Over two days, the men visited every distillery in Kentucky and, sat on the steps of Maker’s Mark, Dhavall realised the direction he wanted his life to take.
Dhavall took a big risk and, after completing a post-graduate degree in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University and time spent working as a brewmaster at Heineken, he was offered the opportunity to join the whisky-making team at The Macallan.
Using mind, hand, and creativity, Dhavall became an expert on maturation (particularly ex-Sherry casks) and blending. Joining The Lakes for the chance to create a masterpiece of his own, the risk has certainly paid off for us.
Today, Dhavall has carte blanche to run our distillery, practising holistic whisky-making and drawing upon influence not just from within the world of whisky, but out with it as well. No other whiskymaker does this.
With unrivalled attention to detail and painstaking pursuit of perfection, he adds layer upon layer of complexity to the spirit’s journey through our distillery, creating more flavour options to blend with which, hopefully, will one day see The Lakes Single Malt win the IWSC award.