Celebrating whisky women
Welcome to the March issue of Unfiltered! A conventional start for an unconventional month. When I first pitched the idea of a women’s issue for March, to celebrate International Women’s Day, I wasn’t sure what it would look like. But I knew that one of my biggest responsibilities would be choosing just a handful of stories for this massive and timely topic. What should these stories say? Who should tell them? How could we bring them to life?
I was also keenly aware that this topic needed to be wider than just this one issue. So although we’re celebrating the maverick women of whisky and spirits in a big way this month, make no mistake, these stories will continue. There are many more game-changing women to come. If you’d like to be a part of that as a writer, photographer or interviewee, we would love to hear from you.
We kicked this issue off in January when we hosted an all-women Tasting Panel, with the bottlings selected by this set of discriminating noses due to be released for International Women’s Day in March next year.
While we’re on the subject of nosing and tasting whisky, Charlene Rooke dives into the sensory, exploring smell, taste and whether women are more likely to be “supertasters” in this month’s knowledge feature.
Elsewhere, much of this issue has been about looking forwards and backwards at the same time. It’s about telling the stories of the women who shaped where we are now, while looking ahead to the mavericks carving out the future of our industry. Kristiane Sherry kicks off her first feature for Unfiltered looking at these seriously inspiring future-changers.
I was lucky enough to sit down with Anne Dana, the first managing director of the Society, and organise our other interviews with women who have shaped the SMWS over our past four decades. In doing so I was struck by the impact of their ideas. They contributed so much to the Society we recognise today, from our approach to maturing whisky, bringing events to a wider audience, through to the creation of our Members’ Rooms in London’s Greville Street and Queen Street in Edinburgh. These moments were sparked by having a different perspective and a willingness to not only suggest something new, but to then get on with it and make it happen. In 40 years’ time, I look forward to finding out what those moments are for this generation of whisky women.
In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy reading this issue and join me in raising a glass to the spirited women who inspire you.