The Balvenie announces Kelsey McKechnie as malt master

The Balvenie announces Kelsey McKechnie as malt master

McKechnie has been mentored by The Balvenie's malt master David Stewart

News | 26 Oct 2022

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Scotch distiller The Balvenie has announced that Kelsey McKechnie, a protégé of the renowned David C. Stewart, will become one of its malt masters.

McKechnie was named apprentice malt master at The Balvenie at the age of just 26, making her one of the youngest women in the world to achieve such a senior whisky-making role at the time.

She first joined the Speyside distillery in 2014, having graduating from the University of West Scotland that year with a Bachelor's degree in biology and biological sciences. She progressed to study a Master's degree in brewing and distilling at Edinburgh's Heriot-Watt University.

Her most recent achievement with The Balvenie was assisting in the launch of The Balvenie Sixty, an extremely rare 60-year-old single-cask bottling released to celebrate Stewart's 60th anniversary in whisky in 2022. This special whisky, dedicated to her mentor, will be the first that McKechnie signs as 'malt master'.

Kelsey McKechnie and her mentor, David C. Stewart


Of her appointment, McKechnie said: "My apprenticeship at The Balvenie taught me many things, but particularly about patience, collaboration and perseverance. Continuing our craft is a privilege and I look forward to seeing The Balvenie through the generations to come as a malt master.

"I couldn’t be more excited to continue my work with The Balvenie as a malt master. Over the past few years my relationship with David has evolved from a teacher to a mentor and now a friendship. I look forward to building my own legacy within the whisky industry, shaping and innovating, whilst honouring the tradition that The Balvenie is built on."

She added that she was "extremely humbled to have learned from David, an incredibly knowledgeable and patient man, and a living whisky legend".

Charles Metcalfe, global brand ambassador, said: “In such a notable time for The Balvenie, celebrating David Stewart’s 60th anniversary, it is a privilege to also announce the move of Kelsey into a malt master role.”

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