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Issue 57 - Mark of distinction

Whisky Magazine Issue 57
July 2006

 

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Mark of distinction

The Harris Whisky Company is the latest company to bring quality whisky to the English market. Dominic Roskrow reports

If the key to success is making the most of the opportunities presented to you, then Mark Harris has a glittering future to look forward to.

In his career he's been faced with two golden opportunities, and he's grabbed them with both hands.

The first came when he started work as general manager at Green's, a restaurant owned by Simon Parker-Bowles, the former brother-in-law of Camilla, in the affluent St James district of London.

It's an establishment renowned for its quality British cuisine and particularly fish and its quintessentially English gentlemen's club atmosphere suits the district well. And, you'd think, a natural home for malt whisky.

But no.

“There was a very good wine list but not much whisky,” recalls Mark. “So I suggested putting some quality whisky in. And Simon gave me my chance, sending me off to Millroys with a cheque for £2,000 to £3,000 to spend whatever I wanted. It was a huge investment of faith in me and I have never looked back.” Since then Mark has built a relationship with independent suppliers such as Dewar Rattray, Compass Box and Doug McIvor, who he has stayed in touch with as he has moved between companies and who is now selecting whisky for Berry Bros & Rudd.

Mark spotted his second opportunity last year as a direct result of the interest in whisky among the clientele at Green's.

“Having a good range of whisky and being able to talk about it definitely creates an interest,” he says. “But a change has definitely taken pla...

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