Fuelled more by a desire to make sense of things than the need to follow a well-trodden path, our whiskymaker Dhavall Gandhi began his career as far away from casks, flavour and creation as you can imagine.
Graduating with a degree in corporate finance and economics in the USA, Dhavall joined the world of management consulting with Ernst & Young, where he could be working anywhere across America from Monday to Friday, before travelling home for the weekend.
It was not until a client engagement in Kentucky – where he and a colleague decided to visit several whisky distilleries – that Dhavall had his epiphany moment to become a whiskymaker.
Sat on the steps of Maker’s Mark, Dhavall realised the direction he wanted his life to take. Although financial models and whiskymaking don’t have many parallels, he did possess the rare gift of being able to identify different aromas and more importantly, was comfortable with abstract concepts.
A move to Scotland quickly followed, and the dream to become a whiskymaker began.
Enrolling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Dhavall earned a post-graduate degree in brewing & distilling but with whiskymaking opportunities scarce, worked as a brewmaster for Heineken and shortly thereafter received his Chartered Scientist status.
Soon an opportunity presented itself to join The Macallan as a whiskymaker. This was the place where Dhavall developed a firm grip on the fundamental concepts and techniques in the art of blending and gained an in-depth understanding of the Sherry casks he now uses to make The Lakes Whisky.
It was in 2016 when Dhavall was approached by The Lakes Distillery, at a time when we were searching for a whiskymaker who could help us to define our single malt whisky house-style.
No stranger to risk, Dhavall made the bold move from The Macallan to our relatively unknown English whisky distillery. Today, he has carte blanche to run our distillery’s whisky operations, practising holistic whiskymaking and drawing upon influence not just from within the world of whisky, but out with it as well.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Dhavall’s unique approach to whiskymaking, you will enjoy some of his most recent interviews, where he shares an insight into his artistic ethos and sherry-led approach: