Rachel Barrie is one of a mere handful of female Master Blenders in the world, creating some of the world’s finest single malt Scotch whiskies. Her first experience of malt whisky began in distilling country in the Garioch district (in Aberdeenshire) where she was born and brought up to appreciate the nuances of the locally distilled malt whisky. Her career in whisky began immediately upon graduating with a 1st class Honours in Chemistry from Edinburgh University, and to the good fortune of many whisky aficionados the world over, her passion for creating liquid gems has only grown over the years.
Rachel’s career began in 1991 as a Research Scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. Already a pioneer, Rachel was the only female scientist in the maturation and blending department, and worked on developing the ideal bourbon cask for maturation as well as researching and optimising fruitiness in single malt Scotch whisky. In 1995, Rachel moved to The Glenmorangie Company where she managed all aspects of quality from barley to bottle. She was appointed Product Development Manager in 1998, focusing on malt whisky innovation for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. In 2000, made her debut at global launch events, and has travelled extensively throughout Europe, the US and Asia to spread the word about malt whisky. In 2003, Rachel was promoted to Master Blender at The Glenmorangie Company, the first female to receive this accolade. Over her 23 year career in Scotch whisky, she has sampled in excess of 130,000 casks from more than 80 malt distilleries. This intimate knowledge of malt whiskies led to her managing the whisky stocks, cask selections and tasting panel for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society between 2008 and 2011.
In 2011, Rachel began a new adventure as Master Blender for Morrison Bowmore Distillers, working with their three sister distilleries: Auchentoshan in the Lowlands, Bowmore on Islay and Glen Garioch in the Highlands. In addition, she is an active member of the Scientific Committee of The Scotch Whisky Association and Research Management Committee of The Scotch Whisky Research Institute.
Rachel passionately believes that malt whisky is for everyone, and continues to inspire, engage and encourage more people (especially women) into the wonderful world of malt whisky.