Listen to Episode 44: Scotch Whisky Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie”
What does it take to be one of the greatest whisky blenders in the world? According to Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender for historic single malt scotch brands BenRiach, The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh, it takes a complex blend of traits, much like her creations.
She is part scientist, part soothsayer, composer, and artisan. Besides nosing and tasting thousands of casks every year, Rachel has to anticipate exactly how a whisky will age, if and when to blend, and how the wood she selects will affect the final product. Despite the many variables, she considers her role to be an artistic one. Her warm approach and affection for her precious creations has an almost maternal quality. And her passion for Scotch is infectious.
I caught up with Rachel while she was in Los Angeles celebrating the release of the much anticipated The GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival.
The GlenDronach brand is one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, and is most noted for their sherry cask aging. Rachel and I sipped through this new release as well as two other expressions, while we discussed her journey over the last three decades to become Scotch Whisky’s First Lady.
This week’s recipe is Rachel’s favorite scotch-based cocktail…
Blood & Sand
3/4 ounce Scotch
3/4 ounce Cherry heering
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
Garnish: orange peel
Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish.