Whisky master blender Rachel Barrie joins BenRiach

Kentucky-based spirits and wine group Brown-Forman said it appointed Rachel Barrie as whisky maker for its Scotch whisky portfolio which includes the single malts BenRiach, The GlenDronach and Glenglassaugh distilleries, effective March 1, 2017.

Brown-Forman — known for its Jack Daniel’s brand — agreed to buy the Edinburgh-based BenRiach Distillery Company for £285 million last year.

The firm said Barrie would succeed Billy Walker, who “will continue to support the distilleries and share his whisky expertise throughout the transition.”

“Barrie has served as master blender of Morrison Bowmore Distillers for the last five years where she led whisky creation for Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch, most recently including Laphroaig and Ardmore,” said Brown-Forman.

Barrie has received a number of whisky industry accolades for her work in developing award-winning whiskies, has judged international spirits competitions and has served on industry committees.

Prior to joining Morrison Bowmore Distillers, Barrie worked with the Glenmorangie Company for 16 years, eight of which were spent as whisky creator and master blender for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single malts as well as James Martin’s and Bailie Nicol Jarvie blended Scotch whiskies.

During Barrie’s time at Glenmorangie, Brown-Forman had a minority ownership in the distillery and this new role brings Barrie back to some of her earlier distilling roots with the company.

Barrie was educated at Inverurie Academy and graduated with honors with a chemistry degree from the University of Edinburgh before beginning her career as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

“We are very pleased that Rachel Barrie is joining our team and will continue the excellent Scotch whisky-making tradition fostered by the venerable Billy Walker,” said Alex Alvarez, chief production officer for Brown-Forman.

“We take great comfort in knowing that Billy will continue with our team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition for Rachel.”