Founded in 1846, Dewar’s has both age and heritage on its side; for Georgina Bell, it’s an unending fairy tale: ‘When I was growing up I dreamed of being an explorer,’ says Bell. ‘Now, that is exactly what I do for a living.’ Sure, as a part of her work, she travels non-stop around the world, ‘meeting amazing people and experiencing incredible cultures,’ even as she, the peripatetic raconteur, indulges in her other passion, sharing stories of an ‘incredible Scotch whisky brand.’ As the saying goes, ‘If you turn your passion into a career, you’ll never have to work another day in your life.’
More prosaically, Bell’s role in Dewar is to raise the profile of Bacardi’s single malt range, which includes Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Deveron and Royal Brackla, in emerging markets. Bell started her career eight years back with whiskies and since then has done nothing else. It was love at first sight, her affair with the spirits: ‘The day I got behind a bar counter, I fell in love with the spirits,’ says Bell referring to her stint as a bartender when she was studying in Edinburgh. ‘I instantly knew then that this is what I would do for the rest of my life,’ says the geography grad.
As she mixed the drinks at Edinburgh, Bell saw the underlying chemistry between geography and whisky: ‘both had a great deal to do with traveling, about territories, cultures and climates.’ Why else would whiskies from Scotland and Japan taste so different? Whatever the reason, Bell, the geography student made the switch and proceeded to do a technically advanced course on the bio-chemistry and chemical engineering of distillation.
However, even as she swapped whisky for geography, there has been no change in the way she looks at life. ‘I always believed you can not get anywhere without equal amounts of work and fun,’ she insists. Quoting Tommy Dewar, a founding member of brand Dewar’s, she says, ‘work in the morning, play in the afternoon.’ For her whisky is both work and fun rolled into one enviable life trip. ‘I love sharing a dram with people and delving into the rich history of distilleries, uncovering layers of flavour as I go along.’
Looking ahead, Dewar’s push would be into emerging markets across the East, building on footholds it established years ago in Calcutta where it has a rich archive on the brand Dewar. ‘India is a vibrant, burgeoning market in love with dark spirits, especially Scotch,’ she says. Given its rich history and the unique combination of flavour and complexity of its drinks owing to its signature double ageing process ‘Dewar’s will do exceptionally well in India,’ says Bell.
Of all the brands she promotes, Royal Brackla (available at GTR outlets in India) has a particularly fascinating history. ‘It was founded in 1812 by Captain William Fraser simply as Brackla. However, it became Royal when it gained a Royal Warrant from King Edward IV in 1833, the first Scotch whisky distillery to do so.’ All of Dewar’s malts are from the Highlands and Speyside but the 1891 vintage Craigellachie ‘has a more muscular, robust character at par with some Islay whiskies in terms of flavour intensity,’ says Bell.