Sometimes in life we come across people that just stand out.. There are those that are blessed with good looks, those that have the gift of the gab.. And those that are just unforgettable.. But every now and again you get someone who has it all.. My second guest in this series of people from inside the industry has all the above.. When ever I meet him he is making everyone smile ( although this might be the whisky ) he is the type of person that could sell me a fur coat in a desert.. His enthusiasm is second to none and if you have never met him then you really are missing out.. So without wasting any more time I would like to introduce the ever youthful, the enigmatic, the one and only MR COLIN DUNN.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF.. Colin Dunn
The position I hold is Whisky Ambassador Western Europe for Diageo Reserve. This means, in a nutshell, that I promote, educate, entertain, learn, and execute, anything to do with the Whisky Industry. No two days are the same in the work that I do and to give one example is almost impossible but I will give you an example of one from last week. The Morning involved answering e/mails, ranging from requests for liquids, tastings, events, information and requests like this ! After this, it is into London Town to host a training session of our Whiskies to the staff at Obelisk at the Shard. This involves speaking to around 40 staff and giving them Bullit points and tastings on all of our Whisky Brands stocked in the Outlet. The main thrust is about flavour and the differences that each of our Distilleries produce. For me it is really important that each attendee really gets to understand the sheer depth of flavours that Whisky has and is armed with the right vocabulary to explain to their customers in a brief and succinct way. This is so important as the Staff at venues such as this have so much to take on board in their work that I really need to understand the way that the Outlet works and give them the right info to assist them in delivering the right information to the customer.
From there it is onto visiting more Bars in the area to see if they need any training or would like to have a Whisky Evening for their customers. This is a growing area where Bars are looking at offering special events based on Food Pairings or Cocktails that engage with their clientele. Recent events have been Whisky & Chocolate nights (Johnnie Walker & the Chocolate Factory) showing off the Johnnie Walker range, Whisky & Cheese evenings, Whisky Acoustic/Electric nights, tasting Whiskies neat and then in an innovative Cocktail.
Then it’s on to East London to co-host the Lagavulin 200th anniversary Dinner for 200 people. This involved presenting a tasting 3 different Lagavulins in a specially created room that takes you, via the wonders of technology, to Islay, showing the Distillery, the production and meeting the staff at this iconic Distillery. These are 30 minute presentations and I hosted 4 of the these as well as networking with journalists.
Then finally its back home to action anything that needs immediate attention on my laptop. So in summary, my day started at 8.00 and I arrived home at midnight. Obviously each day brings new challenges and I have to be able to reach out to as many customers/bartenders as possible so there are days when I am hosting 2 trainings a day, or driving to various towns/cities across the UK to present at Whisky Festivals which is an area that is in huge growth, hosting over 20 in the last year.
There you have it ! – a multi – faceted job that ebbs and flows, with new expressions, new customers and new practices, showing that the Whisky category is in a great position going forward in the next decade, whether Single Malts, Blends or otherwise.
I would like to thank Colin for taking time out of his busy schedule to take part in this feature.. As with my first guest Graham Coull from Glen Moray I think you will agree this gives a great insight into what goes on in the industry. Every job is different and hopefully during this series you will see as many different sides as possible..