I am a girl who likes her whisky. While it is pretty delicious on its own, I can drink it on the rocks, with a dash of water, a splash of lemon or even in coffee. There is something about it that tastes sexy to me and makes me think of speakeasy bars with velvet drapes hanging on the windows and the smell of cigar smoke in the air.

Just because I enjoy it, doesn’t mean that I know anything about the process of making Scotch – or even how to taste it like a real connoiseur. When I got the chance to meet Karen Fullerton, the global brand ambassador for Glenmorangie, I was excited learn about one of my favourite drinks from the best – and she did not disappoint! The Glenmorangie distillery was established in 1843 in Tain, Rossshire, Scotland and produces world-class single malt Scotch whisky.

“I got introduced to whisky pretty early on, with my father and grandfather following the tradition of drinking it before dinner. I saw how much they appreciated it and I got intrigued,” Fullerton explains as we sit down for a drink. “I started working in the wine industry first, before I got my dream job 12 years ago for Glenmorangie. I knew it was a proposition I couldn’t refuse and that is how I began my adventure for the brand.”

Fullerton’s eyes sparkle as she talks passionately about her work. As we start sampling the different Glenmorangie products, she explains the proper way to taste Scotch: “First, you gently swirl your glass and put your nose in it, but you don’t [actually] sniff the whisky. You open your mouth and you slowly breathe to get your first introduction to all the different aromas. You can repeat as many times as you want before taking a sip.”

We started with a Glenmorangie Original, which is a ten-year-old single malt that is supposed to taste like orange and vanilla. As I take my first sip, I can feel the familiar hot tingle in my throat and along the sides of my tongue. I timidly suggest that it reminds me of crème-brûlée, which is also probably the best food I could think of to pair with this whisky.

“Yes, there is a creamy side to it,” agrees Fullerton. “And there are no wrong answers! Everybody can taste something different and you don’t have to identify all the flavours in order to appreciate it.”

Maybe it’s because we’re a few glasses in, but I soon get the feeling I’m in whisky heaven and all my senses come alive. As we continue the tasting, Fullerton expertly guides me through the nuances between the different whiskys: from Lasanta (warm spices, orange and chocolate) to the Nectar d’Or (lime, ginger and white chocolate).

Since she has to travel a lot for her work, I ask Fullerton which country has the biggest love for whisky. “I would say South Africa,” she reflects. “They are big, big drinkers of spirit there. They are also lovely people and I always have a great time visiting.”

And the country with the most archaic reaction to a woman being a whisky brand ambassador? “Maybe Japan,” she reflects. “Women are still perceived as very submissive there, so it kind of comes as a surprise that I am in this line of work.”

We come to the end of our tasting and it’s finally time to sample the 18 Year Old Glenmorangie. Although at this point my little body can feel the effects of the alcohol, there is no way I am going to pass up the special occasion to appreciate such a fine, rare Scotch. It is matured for 15 years in oak casks, with a portion transferred to sherry casks for the final three years of maturation. It is supposed to taste like toffee, creamy vanilla, nuts and grapefruit. As I drink it, I can feel how incredibly smooth it is in my mouth and throat. As our meeting comes to a close and I meander back to the office, I can’t help but daydream of Highland countries and nights spent discovering a new whisky by a fireplace.

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About The Author

Marie-Ève Venne
Lifestyle Director

Marie-Ève is a little person who still secretly wishes she were one of the Olsens twins. You can catch her running from event to event, a coffee bigger than her face in one hand and her cell phone glued to the other. At Dress To Kill, she is the one writing about the newest musician you need to discover and that trendy boutique that just opened.

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