Family-owned distiller William Grant & Sons Ltd has announced the succession of Brian Kinsman as Master Blender for Grant's Blended Scotch Whisky from 1st December 2009.
'Apprentice' Master Blender for the past eight years, Brian Kinsman succeeds David Stewart who has held the post for 35 years - the industry's longest serving Master Blender. Brian becomes only the sixth Master Blender since the family firm was founded in 1887. The first was William Grant himself, who took pride in blending Grant's to exacting standards until he died aged 83.
As Master Blender, Brian is the ultimate custodian of the award-winning Grant's blend recipe and takes on overall responsibility for ensuring the perfect taste and balance of flavours. He will use over 25 of the best malt and grain whiskies to balance out the regional and seasonal differences to produce a consistent, distinctive taste each time. Brian will also monitor and select the finest casks for maturing whisky and regularly nose and taste from freshly distilled spirit, maturing whisky and even nose empty casks to ensure the highest quality.
His predecessor, David Stewart, is Scotland's longest serving Master Blender and one of the industry's most loved and respected craftsmen. Working alongside him for the past eight years, Brian has not only learnt his craft but inherited an unrivalled passion for whisky and a deep respect for tradition.
Brian studied chemistry at The University of St Andrews and first joined William Grant & Sons in 1997 to carry out analysis of spirit quality and study the maturation processes - attracted by the tradition, skill and craftsmanship of five generations of whisky making. Eight years ago he became David Stewart's apprentice, embarking on a complex journey of learning about whisky blending which traditionally can take anything up to a decade to complete. Although no formal qualification is required to be Master Blender, Brian's scientific background comes in useful when understanding the character of a whisky and the effect of maturation. Since blending is an art which takes years to master, other key skills are patience and a good nose. In the course of just one day, Brian could nose and taste up to a 1,000 whisky samples - reviewing them for their ageing potential.
Brian says, "For me, blending is an art. I am fascinated by the process of achieving the perfect blend. It's an honour to join the exclusive roll call of Master Blenders and to take on responsibility of the Grant's blend from David, who is simply the best nose in the business. My apprenticeship may be over but you never stop perfecting the craft - that is a lifetime of work and one I am looking forward to getting on with."