Whisky Focus - Rachel Barrie Honorary Doctorate From University of Edinburgh

Rachel Barrie Honorary Doctorate From University of Edinburgh

10th July 2018
Master Blender, Rachel Barrie's contribution to the Scotch whisky industry has been recognised by the University of Edinburgh with an honorary doctorate.

Rachel Barrie awarded honorary degree by Dr Andrew J. Alexander from the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry

Rachel Barrie, who is known these days for creating single malt whiskies for the BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach distilleries has been recognised by the University of Edinburgh for her expertise and service to the whisky industry.

At a ceremony in Edinburgh yesterday, 9th July, the University of Edinburgh presented  Rachel with an honorary doctorate. Rachel, raised in Aberdeenshire, is one of only a handful of women in the ‘top job’ in the whisky industry is the first female Master Blender to be given an honorary doctorate by the University of Edinburgh.

During her whisky career Rachel has had a hand in some of the top Scotch single malt whiskies Scotland has to offer, having a hand in the whisky creation at Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch. Today, Rachel looks after the whisky creation at Brown-Forman’s three Scottish distilleries, BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach. Her job involves nosing and tasting thousands of casks to select which whiskies will be released onto the market, as well as planning the stocks for the coming year.

The BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach Master Blender Rachel Barrie at work.

Ms Barrie’s love of whisky began in her childhood, growing up alongside an area of Scotland which has the highest concentration of distilleries in the world. She studied chemistry at the University of Edinburgh before beginning her career as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute. She has received numerous industry accolades for her work developing award-winning whiskies, in addition to judging international spirits competitions and serving on numerous industry committees.

Commenting on her honorary doctorate, Ms Barrie said: "This is one of the proudest moments of my life. My quest has been to unlock a deeper understanding of the distillation, maturation and provenance of Scotch, to develop and nurture richness of character and taste and celebrate it with the world; it’s a great privilege to be recognised in this endeavour.

"Master Blenders and Distillers are guardians of quality: honouring the legacy and tradition of the past, protecting spirit quality in the present, whilst innovating and continuously improving for the future. The decisions made today provide the foundations for growth that will be built on by the master blenders and distillers that follow. I’m very thankful to have had a part to play in creating some of the finest whiskies in the world."

Awarding the honorary degree, Dr Andrew J. Alexander from the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry, said: "Rachel Barrie’s creativity, sensory perception and mastery of analytical chemistry have undoubtedly widened and deepened the appreciation of Scotch whisky around the globe. The University of Edinburgh is tremendously proud to honour Rachel for her achievements."

If you want to sample Rachel's work you will find the BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and The GlenDronach whisky ranges available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange and Master of Malt

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