Meet Dave Worthington…

Well, it is a bank holiday weekend, so I have your undivided attention (between chocolate eggs, Simnel Cake and of course a wee dram.). This weeks’ what3whiskies guest is Mr Dave Worthington. I will try not to take too much space here, but Dave (or Boutique-y Dave to many) has been very much a friend and whisky mentor for at least 5 yrs. Dave gave me my first “break” working at whisky festivals, helped build my confidence and taught me whisky “networking”. How he manages to remember so much about every dram is beyond me, and sets him in the ranks of one of, if not the best global brand ambassador in the industry today. In fact Dave has won the “Icons of Whisky World Whisky Brand Ambassador of the Year 2018”, but, like many of us, he started off as a whisky drammer, an enthusiast, and is testament to the fact that enthusiasm, attitude and aptitude will serve you well. So, get your coffee, emergency olives (if you know, you know) and take five to meet Dave….

Dave, for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you, please tell us how you are involved in the whisky industry.
I’m a Brand Ambassador for that Boutique-y Whisky, since 2016.
From a little whisky blog started at the end of 2010, running a small whisky club, hosting club tastings to working alongside brands at whisky shows from 2013, I ended up in the right place, at the right time for That Boutique-y Whisky Company.

Now, given all the drams you get to try, what have you chosen as your first dram, and why?
Cadenhead’s Caol Ila 15 Year Old, Distilled 1991 Bottled May 2006, one of just 378 bottles.
It’s the whisky that changed my life, and I’ve told this story many times over the years…
The seed was originally planted at the end of 2009. Sales Manager and friend, Philip
Maurice bought in the ‘heel’ of a special bottle of whisky for me to try. Initially I didn’t want to even try it, I wasn’t really a whisky drinker. Back then I was a red wine and Guinness drinker (not in the same glass), and I would have a rum chaser in the winter.. But Phil persuaded me that this would be unlike anything else I had previously tasted.
He was right. It was a Clynelish 14 Year Old cask strength whisky and I immediately enjoyed the nose. I can’t remember too much about it and went back to drinking my red wine and Guinness throughout 2010.

Then at the end of the year Phil brought a different bottle for me to sample. I didn’t need
persuading this time, and jumped straight in.
It was another one of his special bottles, and another single cask from Cadenhead’s. This
time it was a 15 Year Old Caol Ila. I was smitten by this whisky – it was like nectar. Phil very
graciously let me take the heel of this bottle home. I’d never tasted anything quite like this,
and was going to investigate further. The following weekend I went out and bought my first
bottle of single malt whisky, it was an Islay malt, but not the Caol Ila I was craving more of!
I still carry a photo of that Caol Ila around, just in case there’s another bottle of it hiding
somewhere…I know it’s unlikely as there were only 378 bottles.

Now, for your second whisky, and why you have chosen it:
I’m going to pick Balcones ‘True Blue’ – as Balcones plays another defining moment in my
whisky life. I went to my first whisky festival in 2012. I went to my second, third, fourth, and
many more that year. I met Balcones founder Chip Tate at one of them, and called him up
early 2013 asking if he needed any help at Whisky Live London. Chip signed us up (my
daughter and I) for helping at Whisky Live London that year. I learnt a lot from Chip, and he
welcomed us back the following year, and at a number of other events over those years. It
was a great introduction to brand ambassador work, and where my whisky ‘career’ really
started, I guess. I’ve always got some Balcones in the cabinet, and True Blue is still a firm
favourite of mine.

And your final dram Dave, and why you have chosen it:
I’ve picked a Rye Whisky from Zuidam Distillers. It was my first taste of rye whisky, and the
one that started my passion for great rye whisky. This was a single cask pick from Milroy’s of Soho back in 2012, a Millstone Rye Whisky, bottled at 46% abv, so perhaps impossible to
find now! However, Patrick continues to make great rye whisky (to be honest everything I’ve
tried from Zuidam Distillers, be it malt whisky, grain whisky, rye whisky, rum, or their
Genever, has been excellent). I really do love the big, bold flavours you get from rye
whiskies. I’m talking about those distilleries that are using a very high percentage of rye, not the minimum 51% that the American standards call for. Some great rye whisky is coming out of European distilleries; Helsinki, Distilling, Spreewood, Kyro, and Millstone, of course. There’s a new wave of American distillers across New York, Colorado, and Pensylvannia rediscovering rye whiskey too, it’s all rather exciting to me. Rye whisky makes the best Old Fashioneds. Period.

It’s always difficult to pick favourite whiskies, especially when I have sampled so many over
the years. I have had some absolutely wonderful moments in whisky, but these are the three defining whiskies of my life. However, ask me what my favourite whisky is – and I’ll always answer: “Usually the next one.”

If you don’t already follow Dave, it’s definitely worth it! Not only does he chat whisky on various channels, but also bread baking, emergency olives, cigars and on occasion dog-sitting! You can find him here:

Twitter and Instagram: @BoutiqueyDave
Company website (if applicable):

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.

2 thoughts on “Meet Dave Worthington…

  1. The Whisky Wizard aka Dave Worthington, is undoubtedly one of the kindest and most generous enthusiasts for talking about whisky. Despite all the knowledge he has gained over his ten year Whisky Adventure, all the other enthusiasts and industry experts he has met, and all the whiskies, rums and other spirits and alcohol he has tasted; he is still the same old Dave from down the pub, and talks to everyone as if he’s learning from you, not trying to teach or put you right. There is no right or wrong Whisky, as the Whisky Wizard would always say.


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