Meet Libby Barmby…

I have met Libby a number of times over the last year at various whisky shows. Firstly with the Spirit of Yorkshire team, and now with The Glasgow Distillery. Generally I would hear her first, with laughter and banter coming from whichever stand she is working on. A joy to be around, and her personality bubbles on social media too, so wait no longer; meet Libby Barmby.

Firstly Libby, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, can you share how you are involved with the whisky industry?
In the Summer of 2018 I started my employment with Spirit of Yorkshire distillery as a ‘team member’, meaning I did a bit of everything from working in the café to sitting in ‘Front of House’ greeting the customers and later moving on to becoming a Tour Guide within the first few months of my time there.

As soon as my tour training began, I found a real passion for what I was learning, which lead to me doing more events both at the distillery and festivals around the UK. After four and half fantastic years at Spirit of Yorkshire, in November 2022 I moved to Scotland and with the move, bagged myself a job as Marketing Executive with Glasgow Distillery.

So you may say you’re relatively new to the joys of whisky. What’s the first dram you have chosen for what3whiskies?
My first whisky is Glenrothes PX 18 year old. Going back to Manchester Whisky Festival in
October 2019. This was my second festival that I had attended (however the first festival I could drink at as I wasn’t driving). Spirit of Yorkshire (SOY) had just released their first single malt whisky, Filey Bay First Release. With that in mind I’ve pretty much been ‘brought up’ on really young whisky, some stuff so young that it wasn’t actually whisky yet. Something that soon became the norm was to be sent off by Joe (Joe Clark, Whisky Director at SOY) to find a dram or two to enjoy. You know? Research.
As you can imagine with this festival being my first that I could drink at, I was a little bit like a kid at Disney World. I can only remember two or three of the whiskies that I tasted, one of those being the Glenrothes 18. With little knowledge of what kind of whiskies I liked other than the stuff we had at Filey Bay I was really surprised at what I got from the Glenrothes dram. It really stood out for me as normally I tend to enjoy a whisky with a bit of a kick to it (going back to being brought up on young whisky/spirit) yet the soft sweet notes of the whisky certainly ticked the box and the whisky soon went on to the Christmas list. It became the whisky I looked for behind bars etc to finally get another taste (unfortunately Santa never brought me a bottle), which finally happened in the Pot Still in Glasgow early 2022. To my surprise, my taste has obviously changed over the years as I didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as I had the first-time round, but still, an important whisky in my journey so far.

I love your thoughts around whisky shows, and yes “research” is very important!! What’s your second whisky, Libby?
The second whisky for me is Filey Bay STR* Finish. This whisky will always hold a special
place for me. From my first sip of spirit from an STR red wine cask I’ve been hooked. I
wasn’t particularly a red wine drinker, or a wine drinker at all for that matter when I first tried it so it came as a surprise to me. Of course, this meant I had to try the red wine that had seasoned the cask, Rioja. With a bit of help from Joe and Amy (UK Brand Ambassador for SOY) over the years, I started to really appreciate the world that is red wine. For me, the
STR casks always leave a little tingle on the tongue which is something I really enjoy from a whisky. STR casks have been my go-to since the release of Filey Bay STR Finish back in 2020. Basically, STR casks define my favourite profiles in a dram.

*STR – Shaved, Toasted and Recharred. This is a process created by Dr James Swan. It’s a process of rejuvenating casks and bringing about flavour profiles from the wood. Give it a Google!

So what is you last whisky, and why has it made the grade?
Having said that about STR, my heart is currently in the world of peat. I grew up in a place
not far from Loch Lomond and so this was often a place my family and I would visit during
the summer. With that in mind, Summer 2021 found us in Loch Lomond where I went to visit the whisky shop found at Loch Lomond Shores, a place called Stevie’s Drams. I got chatting to the gent in there who offered me a dram of something good which I simply couldn’t say no to. The dram this gent gave me just happened to be the Peated release by Glasgow Distillery which is finished in a PX cask. This was one of the first Peated whiskies I had tasted that I genuinely enjoyed. A nice, sweet smoke rather than a peaty smoke if that
makes sense? I think of this whisky as my first step into the world of peat which as I may
have already said, is currently where my heart is (and probably will be for a while yet).

Big thanks to Libby for her time, and I look forward to seeing if these three drams change at all over the coming years.

You can find out about the Glasgow Distillery here:

And you can follow Libby here:

Twitter @DramaticLibby

Instagram @dramaticLibby


Published by Claire Vokins

My am involved in whisky and horticulture. I own a small professional garden care company with a focus on working in a sustainable way. Whisky enthusiast. Studying "Politics, Philosophy and Economics" with the Open University. Stoic.

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