A whisky lass?

Cards on the table: my malt heritage is rather unconventional – I have been a public relations consultant for an Indian malt whisky distiller.

I had just left a PR job with a multi-national electronics company when an industry contact suggested I met a friend of hers who was looking for some consumer PR consultancy. Very quickly I was planning the launch of Amrut Indian malt whisky. Not only were we set to launch in Scotland, the home of whisky, but I hadn’t even tasted the whisky – it was a big adventure.

This is not the place to tell the full story but suffice to say Amrut made headlines in the Scottish papers on 24 August, 2004. We even dominated the front page of the Press & Journal which meant we reached Scotland’s whisky heart – Speyside.

I spent the next decade involved with Amrut, telling the world about this malt whisky from Bangalore, made with Indian barley and distilled in humid temperature at an altitude of 3,000ft. I manned stands at whisky fairs, wrote websites, set up Twitter accounts and even told the story in French at Whisky Live Paris.

It was all done on a shoestring, but immensely satisfying. And when Jim Murray named Amrut Fusion as the third best whisky in the world in his 2010 Whisky Bible it was worth all the effort.

When I spoke to Jim Murray as we submitted our samples, and saw how his book had become such a massive project, I never imagined I would be asked to write a gin bible.

In fact, when my publisher said they were looking for a Scottish “whisky or gin” bible I instantly dismissed the idea of whisky and added that we couldn’t attempt anything called a “bible” (Jim had set that bar very high).

Amrut set me on the road to other whisky adventures including one memorable trip to Islay.  It was published in Scotland on Sunday here: