GLASGOW, Scotland — Rachel Barrie, raised in Aberdeenshire and one of only a handful of women in the “top job” in the whisky industry is the first female Master Blender to be given an honorary doctorate by the University of Edinburgh.
As a Master Blender, Barrie creates some of the world’s finest single malts for BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach distilleries. Her expertise and service to the whisky industry were recognized by the university when she was made an honorary Doctor of Science at a ceremony July 9, 2018.
“This is one of the proudest moments of my life. My quest has been to unlock a deeper understanding of the distillation, maturation and provenance of Scotch, to develop and nurture richness of character and taste and celebrate it with the world; it’s a great privilege to be recognized in this endeavor,” said Barrie. “Master Blenders and Distillers are guardians of quality: honoring the legacy and tradition of the past, protecting spirit quality in the present, whilst innovating and continuously improving for the future. The decisions made today provide the foundations for growth that will be built on by the Master Blenders and Distillers that follow. I’m very thankful to have had a part to play in creating some of the finest whiskies in the world.”
“Rachel Barrie’s creativity, sensory perception and mastery of analytical chemistry have undoubtedly widened and deepened the appreciation of Scotch whisky around the globe,” said Dr. Andrew J. Alexander from the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry, who awarded Barrie the honorary degree. “The University of Edinburgh is tremendously proud to honor Rachel for her achievements.”
After an illustrious career in whisky, Barrie now looks after the whisky at Brown-Forman’s three Scottish distilleries. Her job involves nosing and tasting thousands of casks to select which whiskies will be released into the market, as well as planning the stocks for the coming year.
Barrie’s love of whisky began in her childhood, growing up alongside an area of Scotland which has the highest concentration of distilleries in the world. She studied chemistry at the University of Edinburgh before beginning her career as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. She has received numerous industry accolades for her work developing award-winning whiskies, in addition to judging international spirits competitions and serving on numerous industry committees.
About The Brown-Forman Single Malt Scotch Whisky Portfolio
The Brown-Forman Single Malt Scotch Whisky Portfolio is comprised of three of Scotland’s most revered distilleries, BenRiach, The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh. Located in Speyside, BenRiach is respected as one of the country’s most innovative and experimental distilleries. What sets it apart is its use of both peated and unpeated malted barley and its innovative range of cask finishes. It is also the only Speyside distillery with operational floor maltings used for select expressions. Located in the Scottish Highlands, The GlenDronach is renowned as sherry cask connoisseurs. Their rich and robust spirits, which are made using hallowed traditional methods, have been enjoyed since 1826. Standing on the Moray Firth coast, Glenglassaugh borders the Speyside and Highland regions and sits alongside a beach at Sandend Bay. It is the only distillery in Scotland to enjoy this triple geographical diversity, which its unique whiskies capture. Since 1870, Brown-Forman has enriched the experience of life by responsibly building fine quality beverage alcohol brands including Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Woodford Reserve, Slane Irish Whiskey, Korbel and Tequila Herradura.