MEMBER PROFILE: DAVID FISHER
Building a passion
Society member David Fisher grew his passion for whisky from attending SMWS tasting events in North East England and has now published his very own book to capture his personal whisky journey. Society ambassador Lee ‘Connas’ Connor caught up for a chat with David about his passion for whisky and what made him turn his hobby into a publication
The best trips are the ones that happen accidentally, as illustrated by SMWS member David Fisher’s introduction to whisky.
“I worked in construction all my life,” David tells me. “Unusually, I suppose my first exposure to whisky was when I helped build a whisky bond in Glasgow. That was back in 1966!”
But it’s fair to say that the whisky bug was a relatively slow burner for David. “I didn’t really take whisky seriously until the first Whisky Lounge ‘Newcastle Whisky Festival’ at the Discovery Museum in 2009. It surprised me how many different styles of whisky were on show, all with individual characteristics. It clearly ignited something in me, as I attended one of their ‘whisky schools’, and it dawned on me how much of a massive puzzle the whole whisky industry was. It really drew me in. From then on, I’ve been fascinated by it.”
ABOVE: Discovery Museum, Newcastle
And with fascination, comes reputation, it would appear. “Steadily, suppliers and subcontractors in construction realised that ‘Dave likes whisky’. At Christmas time, I’d be bombarded with bottles of single malt. Not a bad problem to have…”
MORE THAN JUST A DRINK
Although David’s practical interest in whisky is what drew him in, his experience has clearly led to an appreciation of it as more than just a drink.
“Being an SMWS member is more than being someone who likes whisky,” he says. “It’s a community. That’s what whisky is all about for me. You can learn all about the facts and figures, and what certain distilleries do differently than others, but without doubt the community is the best thing about it. “I’ve met some great people at SMWS tastings in Newcastle, there’s an open sense of sharing, without the slightest hint of pretentiousness. I’m forever picking your [Connas’] or Malcolm’s [Campbell, fellow Society member] brains on something or other, and even if you don’t know the answer off the top of your head, you’ll point me in the right direction.
“Obviously, history is important, and I very much enjoy the tasting side of things. But meeting people and enjoying the camaraderie has been the biggest joy for me. And that’s before you even consider that you’re likely to be drinking whisky that you’re never going to be able to try again!”
ABOVE: SMWS ambassador Connas has helped David Fisher along the way on his whisky journey
A PASSION PUBLISHED
His appreciation of whisky has led David to hope that he can inspire others to engage with the culture. He has now independently written, published and printed a book about his passion entitled My Scotch Whisky Journey.
“Obviously, there are tonnes of whisky books out there. I wanted to put something down in print that conveyed my thoughts on my experiences,” he says.
“It’s not for sale, I’m only giving copies to friends. And although there are some distillery-specific facts, it’s more to do with the things I’ve learned that have surprised me through the years.
“Be it the fact that very few Scottish distilleries are still in Scottish family ownership. Or, being in construction, how deep and far-reaching the influence of [distillery designer] Charles Doig is. Or the fact that women have played a massive role in shaping the industry as we know it.
“These and other things are often overlooked, but I feel that they’re worth shining a light on. I hope that anyone who reads it walks away with some of my enthusiasm for the subject. And I’m pleased to say, I’ve got a lot more in reserve!”
David’s book My Scotch Whisky Journey is not available at any bookshop, regardless of its quality. You’re only allowed one if he likes you!