In 2018, at the age of 26, Kelsey McKechnie became one of the youngest women to ever achieve the rank of Apprentice Malt Master, studying the craft under David Stewart (one of the longest serving Malt Masters in the industry). She’d only been working for William Grant & Sons (parent company of Balvenie) for a few years before this elevation, but her talent and dedication to the craft was recognized and rewarded.
Having studied Biology and Biological Sciences at West Scotland University,she pursued further education at the Heriot-Watt University as part of their Msc Brewing and Distilling program, and also began working for William Grant & Sons as a Technical Graduate and Whisky Technologist. It was during this time she gained experience learning the art and science of crafting the Balvenie. She volunteered for the nosing panel and has loved the fast paced growth trajectory. She works with Stewart daily, learning from him nuances that can’t be taught via books. Nosing dozens of whiskies each day, it is her responsibility to build knowledge of the brand and set up blends for the core ranges. She also has worked extensively with Master Blender Brian Kinsman on products such as Glenfiddich, Monkey Shoulder, and Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.
Personally, I’m wicked impressed by all that she’s already achieved and the path yet before her – very exciting stuff!! Definitely keep an eye on her journey.