|By Whisky Live Staff||16-05-2017|
Peter Methven epitomizes the discerning Scottish whisky drinker, and so it’s no surprise to learn that this is indeed his ‘claim to fame’. Having grown up in the home of Scotch, he brings the heritage of a true Scotsman to his role as The Glenlivet’s new South African Brand Ambassador.
His love affair with South Africa began when he set foot on our southernmost shores in January 2016, eager to experience the pulse of Africa. He ascribes his strong rapport with discerning local whisky drinkers to a mutual love of the finer things in life – above all the finest Scotch.
As the bastion of the world’s No.1 single malt Scotch whisky, he is already in great demand as a dinner party host and guest, and he puts his popularity down to his authentic accent. His team would argue that his warm and engaging nature, passion for whisky, and wealth of knowledge - coupled with a rare gift for storytelling, also have a lot to do with it. He believes it has everything to do with approach. ‘You need to be able to relate to very different people on a variety of levels. The key is to read your audience well, and then to make your story really resonate. It boils down to the quality of your own emotional intelligence,’ he asserts.
He makes no secret of the fact that his goal is to convert local whisky lovers into fans of The Glenlivet. ’I love to create opportunities for people to engage with the brand on a deep and meaningful level. I have a natural affinity for the kind of man and woman that is drawn to The Glenlivet, and this makes my work a true pleasure’.
‘Whisky is a growing global phenomenon and it’s incredibly exciting to be in South Africa where people enjoy the drink so much. I regard it as a privilege to represent this finely crafted whisky range, with its rich heritage and superior quality. Dedication to excellence underlies our approach to creating whisky, and that has remained unchanged since our founder George Smith started the first licensed distillery in 1824. Today, under the helm of master distiller and 30-year industry veteran Alan Winchester, it continues to be an award winning whisky. This really makes it an easy sell,’ he enthuses.
He believes a great brand ambassador needs to know his trade very well, though an underlying passion for whisky is at the heart of any real success. He loves the fact that no day is the same, and he can as easily be found launching a new product in the range, as driving around the corner to speak to a local barman. ’I am as comfortable training colleagues or teaching friends as I am talking to celebrities and dignitaries ’ he says with his easy smile.
His own whisky journey began early on in his life, when his mother introduced him to the drink at their home in Glasgow. ‘As a Scotsman, you are born with a penchant for whisky. I recall sitting in my mother’s kitchen when I was 18 years old and asking her what whisky was. She disappeared and returned with at least 12 different whisky expressions that night, among them smoky Islay malts, and a few Speyside ones too. I recall taking my first sip of The Glenlivet on this memorable evening. I was smitten and have been ever since,’ he confides.
Of course, there is so much more to the whisky experience than simply tasting it oneself, and at the age of just 28, this young man brings a wealth of experience to his role as The Glenlivet Brand Ambassador. His hands-on education of the single malt began in 2007, when he worked at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh as a cocktail bartender, and this is also where he started his journey of learning about mixology.
Somewhat of a technophile, he counts his iPad and Mac among his favourite gadgets, and puts them to good use to stay abreast of trends in the industry. ‘Due to the demand for whisky, a lot of people are moving towards non aged stated whisky, and so lots of new expressions will be released over the next couple of years. Whisky distillers are also starting to experiment with a variety of casks, and this will lead to new flavour dimensions, which is good news for whisky lovers. I’d love to see an Aberlour bourbon cask release in South Africa’ he enthuses.
One of his favourite aspects of the job is educating whisky drinkers on the art of sipping their favourite drink. His recommendation to those wishing to enter the fold of whisky connoisseurs is to drink their whisky with a healthy splash of water. ’This opens up the whisky, allowing the palate to detect a much greater quantity of flavours and characteristics.’
This also applies to The Glenlivet’s Classic Range, comprising of the 12 Year Old, 15 Year Old, 18 Year Old and the rare 21 Year Old expressions. The 12 Year Old gets his vote for being closest to the traditional Glenlivet style. ‘’As it’s the youngest, you really get those fruity tropical notes that The Glenlivet is famous for. The pineapple and vanilla are really prominent, and the fresh pear notes come through because the maturation has taken place in exclusively ex bourbon.’’
Another of his recommendations is to always enjoy a dram with good friends, because great experiences are best shared. ‘It’s another reason I love The Glenlivet. It’s known as the whisky to share - with your friends or tribe, whomever they may be,’ he says with his trademark mischievous smile.
To share The Glenlivet experience with single malt lovers across the globe, the brand has introduced the concept of the Guardians of The Glenlivet – an online hub for fans to engage with the brand and each other. This network of around 200 000 people across the globe are privy to exclusive information on the whiskies, are offered first access to limited edition releases, and are placed on the invitation list to attend unique local events. Among these are The Glenlivet’s Legacy Talks – a series of inspirational, by-invitation only evenings that celebrate the legacies of South Africa’s leaders of industry. Guardians of The Glenlivet was established to bring all enthusiasts and aficionados of The Glenlivet together and to reward loyal fans for carrying forward the torch.
As though whisky lovers need any more reason to become part of the world’s most sought after whisky drinking clan!