I first met Sophie, virtually, via The Whisky Circus a couple years ago. She is a rising star in the English whisky industry, working as a brewer and distiller for Cooper King Distillery in York. A wealth of knowledge, great palate and pure joy to be around. My memories of Sophie during the UK lockdown were very much about post-it notes when she was studying and of course #FreeJosh (some may know what this means, others won’t, but lets just say a source of amusement for many)….anyway, over to Sophie:
So Sophie, I’ve given a info little about you already, but lets hear from you; how are you involved with the whisky industry? and for how long?
I am a brewer and distiller at Cooper King Distillery in York. I’ve been working in the drinks industry since I was 19 years old and have been making whisky by hand for the past 3 years. I’m a huge advocate for showcasing that the whisky industry is for everyone. I believe that bringing more diversity to a currently male-dominated industry, will help create a more sustainable, a more interesting, and more varied world of whisky for everyone to enjoy.
There has been some great progress, with many fantastic women in whisky, creating incredible products, making leaps and bounds within the industry. Though, we’re not there yet. The day I feel the whisky community is accessible for all, is the day I’ll finally stop talking about it!
So what is your first whisky, and why you have chosen it:
Whisky has been a part of my life since I was a toddler, holidaying on Islay, playing around in peat bogs. Bruichladdich Classic Laddie was my first ever dram, my first Islay whisky, and my first beverage that made me realise alcohol isn’t all burning stuff! Laddie is light and floral with sweet barley undertones, which is perfect for someone who is just old enough to drink… It will always remind me of good times, and always tastes as great as the first time I tried it.
And your second whisky, why this one?
Loch Lomond Single Grain (unpeated) is my second choice. The Loch Lomond team have created a wonder here: malted barley distilled in coffey stills creates wonderful, spiced apple pie notes. It’s incredibly good value – under £30 a bottle – and always one I keep in the drink’s cabinet. It’s blooming fantastic, and a rarity to find such a good dram at this price.
And your last whisky, what made you choose it?
My third whisky is Ben Nevis, 12-Year-Old, White Port Pipe Finish. The balance between spice, sweetness and alcohol is exquisite My appreciation for how they blended this so perfectly has increased tenfold since I started blending whisky myself. I’m not sure if my Dad still has one buried away in his collection, but I may have to persuade him to crack this open at the next special occasion. Now a hard to find whisky, it was the one dram that made me consider a career in producing the sweet stuff myself.
Social media handles: Twitter & Instagram: @whiskysophie
Twitter: @CKdistillery | Instagram: @cooperkingdistillery
Company website (if applicable): https://www.cooperkingdistillery.co.uk/