The Macallan team

First female master whisky maker for The Macallan

October 2, 2019
By Alana House

The Macallan has appointed a woman as master whisky maker for the first time in its near 200-year history.

Kirsteen Campbell will lead the strengthened Whisky Mastery Team, which has been expanded to include:

  • Kirsteen Campbell, Master Whisky Maker; 
  • Stuart MacPherson, Master of Wood, who has 40 years’ experience working with The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks; 
  • Sarah Burgess, Lead Whisky Maker; 
  • Polly Logan, Whisky Maker; 
  • Steven Bremner, Whisky Maker;
  • Russell Greig, Sample Room Assistant.

The Macallan said: “Its formation will see maturation and whisky making working hand in hand from the very beginning of the journey to bring out the best of spirit and wood.

“It will additionally secure the legacy of almost two centuries of whisky making heritage, by bringing together the next generation of whisky makers with The Macallan’s most experienced and skilled craftsmen and women.

“As part of the new approach, apprentices with natural sensory talent will be recruited into the Whisky Mastery Team, where they will learn the art of whisky making from the breadth and depth of experience within the team.”

The Macallan whisky

Campbell has been working in the industry since 2001, where she initially started in a laboratory responsible for the quality of new make spirits. It was there that she discovered her passion for Scotch whisky.

From there Campbell continued to develop and grow in her unique skill-set and fascination with the world of whisky. She joined Edrington in 2007 as a Whisky Quality Technologist and progressed her career over the years to become Master Blender for Naked Grouse and The Famous Grouse. She holds a Diploma in Distilling and has also previously worked at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

She said: “I feel a real sense of honour and pride to be entrusted as the custodian of The Macallan, charged with leading the Whisky Mastery Team in the creation of The Macallan’s single malt whiskies.

“Having been a part of the wider Edrington whisky making team for over a decade, I’m really looking forward to working more closely with the team.”

Campbell’s appointment follows a landmark year for the brand in 2018, which saw the opening of its new £140 million distillery and visitor experience on its Speyside estate, increasing investment in whisky, warehousing and signature sherry-seasoned oak casks.

Managing director Igor Boyadjian said: “The appointment of Kirsteen and investment in the future legacy of The Macallan comes at an incredibly exciting time.

“In the wake of the first anniversary of the new distillery, The Macallan is experiencing continued global growth and success, enjoying growing demand in new markets.”

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