March 23

Whisky and Mother's Day

Julie Ross

With Mothering Sunday just a few days away we’ve taken the opportunity to catch-up with Balblair Tour Guide and mum of 2, Julie Ross.  As a mum Julie is not just perfectly placed to share her thoughts on the ideal Mother’s Day gift, but also to give us a little insight into women and whisky! 

Firstly, tell us a little about yourself? 

I have 2 wonderful sons, who treat me like a princess… most of the time!  Once my youngest went to school I decided that after being a stay at home mum it was time to go find myself again. So in April 2011 I joined the team here at Balblair Distillery. 

As a Tour Guide I work alongside my husband John G Ross who has been an operator here at the distillery for 22 years and I wouldn’t change it for the world, after all who wouldn’t want to be part of the whisky industry!  It has to be said that whisky is not my only passion though, I also enjoy bingo.  Bingo, a little like whisky, is now not for the older generations but for everyone.

Do you think people still consider whisky as a ‘Man’s Drink’?

I suppose whisky has for decades been associated with being a man’s tipple (most likely because it’s often enjoyed straight-up!), however in my opinion, and indeed with ever increasing numbers of women on our tours with an appetite to taste and learn more about Scotch, I’d say that whisky is shaking off that stereotype and should certainly not be considered as a man’s only drink.  After all, us women would really be missing out if we didn’t enjoy a dram of whisky (or two) from time to time!

When it comes to choosing a whisky that will appeal to a woman’s palate, where should one start?

I don’t think selecting a whisky should start with gender that’s for sure, it’s simply about what you like.  If you love rich spicy flavours then the character of a whisky matured in Spanish oak will likely carry appeal, on the other hand if you prefer lighter flavours, then the smooth vanilla of bourbon maturation may be more to your taste.  So firstly think about personal taste and then marry this up to the flavour profile of a whisky expression and you’ll be sure to find the perfect match.  Whilst I may be a little bias I honestly believe that our collection is sure to have something that will make the perfect gift.

What would be your recommendation for a whisky-infused Mother’s Day gift?

A great place to start is with Balblair 2005, it’s an easy-drinking dram that’s also won a suite of awards, so you certainly don’t just have to take my word on the appeal of this expression!  Its light sparkling gold in colour, full-bodied with classic aromas of fresh green apples, ground spices and honey.  Matured in ex-bourbon barrels you’ll likely be able to smell oaky vanilla, oranges and perhaps even fragrant cut flowers when you lift the glass to your nose.  On first sip our signature style of citrus orchards will fill your mouth, this will be promptly followed by the intense sweetness of toffee and vanilla and long delightful finish.  To my mind this ray of sunshine in a bottle would be perfect for saying thanks to Mum.

On the other hand, I also think that experience based gifts are a great idea - not least because if you plan it just right you’ll get to enjoy the experience too!  So for some one-to-one time with your mum (or perhaps even as a group)  why not consider taking road trip to a whisky distillery where you can enjoy an intimate behind-the-scenes tour and tasting could be the surprise gift your looking for.  In fact, if you stay further afield or want to make a little more of it than a day trip you could even go the extra mile and whisk Mum away for a night or two to the Highlands where you could visit us for a distillery tour here in Edderton and perhaps also enjoy some of the many other tourist attractions the Scottish Highlands have on offer!

What’s your idea of the perfect Mother’s Day?

The most perfect Mother’s Day would be knowing that everyone has had a great day and everyone is happy, so for me it would involve my family from start to finish!

Firstly, we’d start with breakfast in bed, and after a relaxed morning we’d head outdoors for a long walk with possibly a picnic or light lunch en route - there’s lots of great scenic walks around Edderton to take in. After working up an appetite the day would be topped off by going out for dinner and of course, not forgetting a dram of my favourite Balblair at the moment, Vintage 2005.  

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