A scientist by training, Brian Kinsman became Glenfiddich’s Malt Master in December 2009, and is responsible for fulfilling William Grant’s adventurous ambition of creating ‘the best dram in the valley’. He is the sixth Malt Master since Glenfiddich first flowed from the distillery stills on Christmas day almost more than 125 years ago.
As Malt Master, Brian is in charge of the time-honoured Glenfiddich whisky making tradition; from careful cask selection and overseeing the marrying process – a Glenfiddich specialty which ensures consistency in the quality – to the maturation process within the Dufftown warehouses, where every new year imparts different qualities to the liquid.
Born in West Lothian in 1972, Brian studied chemistry at The University of St Andrews, where he met his wife, Lisa. He graduated in 1994 with a first class honours degree and, whilst no formal qualification is required to be Malt Master, his scientific background and pioneering outlook helps him understand the character of a whisky, the effect of maturation and the possibilities a maturing whisky may have.
Brian joined William Grant & Sons in 1997, attracted by the tradition, skill and craftsmanship at the world’s most awarded and distinguished distillery. Eight years ago he became apprentice to David Stewart, Scotland’s longest serving Malt Master and one of the industry’s most loved and respected craftsmen, embarking on a complex journey of learning about the art of single malt whisky craftsmanship, which traditionally can take up to a decade to complete. Working alongside David for eight years, Brian learned his craft and inherited an unrivaled passion for whisky and a deep respect not only for tradition and time-honoured techniques, but for pioneering new ways to make exceptional single malt Scotch whisky.