“Ninety percent I’ll spend on good times, women and Whiskey. The other ten percent I’ll probably waste.” – Tug McGraw
Sometimes epiphanies aren’t as profound as we pre-dispose and actually can happen in the most simple of ways and in the most strangest of places. Many of us have conversations after a few drinks we’d rather forget the morning after, but little did Tom know that one conversation over a bottle of whisky in Glasgow on New Year’s Eve would change everything. After graduating from his second degree, Tom started to experience some disillusion in life. It would seem the photo of the suit with a synopsis of their success story, on the front of the prospectus at his university, would be a far cry from reality. A conversation with one of his best friends whilst they were both merry, resulted in the question: “If you could have a perfect job, what would it be?” Without a seconds hesitation Tom answered back “I’d be an independent bottler”. When we asked how he came up with the name, Tom told us it was just something that came to his head later on that night. If there was ever an argument to make more decisions whilst inebriated, this blog is it. Whilst most were nursing their hangovers on January 1st 2012, Tom was planning his new life. Two years on and he is a couple weeks away from launching his own bottled whiskies “Never waste a good crisis” – a quote attributed to the one and only Winston Churchill, but a mantra Tom lives day in, day out.
Tom’s childhood consisted of weekends fishing and retreating to the local pub in the night to boast about who bagged the biggest catch. He grew up watching his older friends drink good bottles of Scotch whisky neat and was always intrigued by the substance. Some years later and Tom is entering himself or rather, entering his nose into competitions to try and decipher the smorgasbord of aromas each whisky presented gave him. He was just a few points behind a Japanese master blender and whilst Tom is proud of taking home a good result, he will never forget the surreal experience. There is a theory that you have to have put 10,000 hours into an art in order to perfect it and be deemed a master. Any spare time Tom has, whether it be an hour in the morning, a quick hour at lunch or a whole weekend, he is constantly crafting his art and his passion is infectious. His aim of removing the pretentious and elitist predispositions that come with whisky is admirable to say the least and we have no doubt he’ll be successful. He believes most people experience whisky in the wrong fashion which is ironic as we always have our whisky old fashioned. Most young people’s experience of the elusive substance is downing it at a house party when your parents have left and the beer has run dry so you have to raid the secret cupboard. These kind of experiences mask a true representation of the craft, dedication and love that goes into any good bottle of Scotch. Tom talks about whisky as if it was an offspring of his and it is refreshing to hear such passion.
He still carries around with him the same notepad that he started using that New Years Day, lines and lines of recorded conversations, repertoire building and planning have been jotted down over the years. It is more than a notepad, it is a memento and poignant reminder how far he has come but the empty pages are an indication of how far yet there is to travel. Tom’s whisky will be stocked in the likes of R & H Fine Wines, Whisky Business and drinkable in haunts such as Salt Dog Slims and Berry & Rye. From today you can buy his whisky in Frederiks, The Bridewell, Sound Food and Drink and The Belvedere. Whether you spell it whisky or whiskey it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you first give whisky a try and secondly support Tom in his mission by buying a bottle of the fine stuff.