In Their Own Words – Georgie Bell, luxury malts ambassador, Mortlach

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Georgie Bell

‘For my first song, I’d like to take you back to the early-90s grunge scene…’ [are you sure? – Ed]

After wowing the Edinburgh bar scene with her mixology skills, then educating whisky fans at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Georgie Bell is now on a mission to get people drinking Mortlach single malt. We caught up with her, one year into her new role…

I moved to Edinburgh to study. My parents said to me “don’t get a job in a bar” – I got a job in a bar … and I fell in love with the spirits industry through cocktails. For me, it was all about making people’s evenings through cocktails. I really loved bartending, but I knew I wasn’t good enough to make a career out of it’

I didn’t like whisky to begin with, and I honestly think that whisky is an acquired taste, similar to red wine or olives. I started off with white spirits, then rums. But the reason I got a taste for whisky is that I didn’t like that I didn’t like it. Each year, I teach myself to like two things. Last year, it was sherry and oysters. This year, it was sake and raw cockles. But I failed with sea urchin…’

My life is now Mortlach – friends tell me that I respond better to “Mortlach” than to “Georgie”. It’s consumed my life over the past year; I mother it like a single child’

We know that the single malt category is on fire, and we want to create the world’s first truly luxury single malt whisky – Mortlach is the obvious choice. It’s one of Diageo’s hidden gems, and we want to give it the recognition it deserves’

Mortlach defies the typical Speyside characteristic. When you think “Speyside”, you think soft, fruity, light, but with Mortlach, you think rich, muscular, juicy and bold. There isn’t another distillery in the Diageo portfolio that displays the boldness of character that Mortlach does. It also has that savouriness you just don’t get in other whiskies; Rare Old has so much body that it works really well in cocktails like a Manhattan or Sazerac’

Our distillation process involves creating three separate spirit streams. We run our stills hard and fast; the copper doesn’t have time to breathe. And we can chill filter because of Mortlach’s viscosity, and the oils that remain. I honestly feel that the whisky stands up – and I don’t think that a whisky should be judged on whether it’s been chill-filtered or had caramel added’

We went for 50cl bottles [of the new Mortlachs] to reflect the rarity of the liquid, and to make sure it can be shared. I think they’re a really nice size to have at dinner parties, too’

Which non-Diageo whiskies do I like? I love Highland Park 12, Monkey Shoulder and Ardbeg 10. I also love Japanese whisky, particularly Hakushu, and Nomad, which is made in Scotland but aged in Jerez. Oh, and High West Double Rye

In my free time, I run a lot – I’m doing the London Marathon in 2015 for the first time. And I have a very sweet tooth, too. I love baking’

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