Rachel Barrie is one of the only 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 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 after graduating with a first 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.
Barrie’s career began in 1991 as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. Already a pioneer, she was the only female scientist in the maturation and blending department, where she worked on developing the ideal bourbon cask for maturation, as well as researching and optimising fruitiness in single malt Scotch whisky. In 1995, Barrie 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, Barrie made her debut at global launch events, and has since travelled extensively throughout Europe, the US and Asia to spread the word about malt whisky. In 2003, she 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, Barrie 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.
Barrie 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.
- “As a start-up brand you focus hard on achieving credibility and creating awareness. Winning Gold Outstanding and the Mezcal Trophy provided us with a level of credibility and exposure that we simply could not have achieved on our own. The awards helped secure key listings in Harvery Nichols and Selfridges and certainly played a significant part in opening up dialogue with potential U.S importers and ultimately securing one. I thought hard about which competition to enter and what the return on that investment would be. I can say with absolute confidence that the IWSC was worth every penny.”David ShepherdFounder & Director, Corte Vetusto
- “IWSC is a very important competition to us in terms of showing consumers our quality. It's one of the competitions that we definitely enter on a yearly basis.”Ian ChangMaster Blender, Kavalan Distillery
- “Out of all of the awards, the IWSC is probably the most prestigious and most honest awards. You choose your judges very well and they're very good, honest, decent people. They do it for the love of the industry.”Sukhinder SinghMD, The Whisky Exchange
- “The IWSC is a very prestigious competition. The prestige is a great thing to be able to communicate to our customers who have great respect for it.”David PorterOperations & Buying, Lea & Sandeman
- “The IWSC represents everything, without a doubt. There's no better competition in the world where you can judge yourself not just against your countrymen but against the rest of the world.”Andy AndersonWinemaker, Takapoto Estate
- “Fantastic company and fantastic award . . . In the wine industry, having an award like this is such an accolade.”Claire GriffithsCommercial Director, Vina Cono Sur
- “It's one of the greatest international awards you can get. It's similar to an Oscar, if you like.”Lenz MoserWinemaker, Yantai Changyu Pioneer Company
- “Because of the number of international judges that are tasting the wines and the number of wines that are being entered, it’s a great privilege for us to receive this award. The history of the competition, the standing that it has amongst the international wine world and certainly amongst one’s peers, to be able to get an award at the IWSC means a lot. There are a lot of competitions around the world – this probably represents the top award you could get as a winemaker.”Gary & Kathy JordanWinemakers, Jordan Wine Estate
- “It’s a great honour to win especially as nowadays people are focusing on the quality not just the numbers, so it does mean a huge amount getting recognition from an institution as well sought after as the IWSC.”Chris BlandyOwner, Blandy's Wines
- “This will be a recognition that will help in building the brand further, and building its prestige around the world.”Victor FuentesDirector General, El Coto de Rioja S.A
- “The IWSC is a well renowned, well looked up to standard and a symbol of premium products so it’s a great achievement to win any award.”Andrea FreeboroughCellar Master, Nederburg Wines