Women in Whisky: International Women's Day 2022

Female Whisky Distillers - International Women's Day 2022

Here's to strong women... May we know them, be them, raise them, and drink whisky distilled by them!

The theme for this year’s International Womens Day is 'Break The Bias', so we're spotlighting the leading ladies taking the whisky industry by storm. We chatted to the women behind the drams in our brand new Women of Whisky Tasting Pack about their experience within the industry. 

The limited edition box is available to shop now at whiskyloot.com.

BREE ATTWOOD - Backwoods Distilling Co.

Bree Attwood co-founded Backwoods Distilling Co with her husband, Leigh, in 2017. After moving back to the High Country region with their young family, the Attwood’s were inspired to join the many artisan producers that are putting the area on the map as a craft drinks region. Before jumping full-time into managing the distillery, Bree worked many years in marketing and communications in the not-for-profit and education sectors. She loves to tell the story behind the brand and has a knack for connecting people with Backwoods and their boutique spirits.

Featuring Backwoods Australian Rye Whisky - Batch #5
Bree says: "This one boasts dark rye bread, toasted with butter, and washed down with a 1980s style creamy soda. I recommend it served neat, with a side of good quality, dark chocolate. Or if you’re looking for a refreshing summer drink, serve with Capi Dry Ginger and a wedge of fresh lime."

What initially attracted you to the wonderful world of distilling?

I was attracted to the world of distilling by the romance of creating something so complex from a recipe of grains. The fact that we can champion Australian malts and Australian casks to create a unique local whisky is what inspires me every day!

The whisky industry has historically been very male focused/led, has this led to any challenges for you? 

The only challenge I come across is the perception from consumers that women don’t drink whisky. I often get asked by visitors to the distillery if I drink whisky and if I like it. I find it quite hilarious that anyone would think I would start up a whisky distillery if I didn’t like drinking whisky!

Do you feel like the industry is slowly changing with activities like Liquor Loot's International Women's Day boxes shining a light on the great work female distillers do?

I think having female-led distilleries showcased in whisky packs definitely helps change consumer perceptions that women don’t drink whisky. We not only drink it, we make it too!

Why are you pleased to be included in the Liquor Loot boxes and what made you choose the offering you have to go in the box?

I’m thrilled to be included in the Liquor Loot boxes as I still pinch myself to be given these opportunities, alongside distilleries that have inspired me along our journey. I chose this batch of rye whisky to be included as I love the nostalgia the whisky evokes for people. So many 80s and 90s teenagers have commented that this batch has a distinct creamy soda note and it makes them happy, which I love! 

 

CHANTAL DANIELS - Kinglake Distillery

Chantal is an adventurer and competitor, she raced nationally at Cross-Country Mountain Bike and spent six seasons in the French Alps off-piste snowboarding. Just before starting Kinglake Distillery, she hiked the length of the UK, the final section whilst carrying and breastfeeding her firstborn. She has a Masters in Applied Science and has also won awards for business to business Sales.

Featuring Kinglake O'Grady's Stand Single Malt Australian Whisky
Chantal says: "We believe that taste is very subjective and often unique to each individual therefore we don’t provide detailed tasting notes. However, we can share the thought process behind the choices we made whilst making our whisky.

We use a mixture of four grains in our mash-bill. By mixing a Schooner barley with our base La Trobe malt, we aim for a slightly more biscuity flavour, to add richness we use a very small amount of chocolate roasted malt. The final element is a heavily-peated barley from the Scottish borders. Used sparingly we’re looking for lingering smoke rather than overpowering medicinal flavours. Our washbacks are left open to the environment to encourage nature yeasts and pollens into the ferments.

Our still is short and squat with a down-ward sloping line-arm and our cuts are very deep. We hope this gives an oiliness and further level of richness to our final spirit. ex-bourbon barrels provide additional sweetness without overpowering the spirit with wood influence."

What initially attracted you to the wonderful world of distilling?

Whilst travelling for 12 years in Europe and USA Chantal discovered a passion for hospitality and particularly spirits. A 3 rd generation Kinglaker she wanted to make a spirit that truly takes on the character of her home and single malt is perfect for that. Kinglake Distillery is very much a family business and an important part of that is the whole family being involved with plenty of time for play.

The whisky industry has historically been very male focused/led, has this led to any challenges for you? 

I’ve always worked and played in traditionally male-dominated environments and so I suppose it’s become second-nature, I’ve never felt inhibited or significantly disadvantaged by being a female in the distilling industry and the form of Kinglake Distillery is very much a result of all the advice I’ve had from more established players in the Australian distilling Industry.

Do you feel like the industry is slowly changing with activities like Liquor Loot's International Women's Day boxes shining a light on the great work female distillers do?

I think the world is slowly changing to become more inclusive to all genders, and people are generally taking more care of other’s feelings. I see this in my children and their interactions with friends. It’s lovely that Liquor Loot has taken the opportunity to specifically recognise the girls. I think the other two whiskies in this collection stand up against the best, regardless of the gender of the distiller!

Why are you pleased to be included in the Liquor Loot boxes and what made you choose the offering you have to go in the box?

It’s fantastic to be nestled up to two other such incredible whiskies. We’re very much focused on one release at a time and at any point, our O’Grady’s Stand Single Malt is the very best whisky we can make.

 

ELISA JIMENEZ - Joadja Distillery

Elisa and her husband Valero established Joadja Distillery in 2014 after purchasing and moving to the historic site of Joadja a few years earlier. The Scottish heritage in the valley and their passion for conservation of historic Joadja inspired them to establish the distillery with sustainability and provenance leading their way. Elisa oversees the operations and customer engagement at the historic site and distillery and enjoys returning to her birth place of Jerez and the surrounding wine regions in Spain to source barrels for their aged spirits.

Featuring Joadja Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask Single Malt Australian Whisky - Batch #15

What initially attracted you to the wonderful world of distilling?

What initially attracted us to distilling was the connection to the heritage of Joadja itself, which was a private mining town that used to be the home to thousands of Scots in the late 1800’s. Distilling was a way we could continue to maintain the property with a successful business that doesn’t detract from the history of the Valley but showcases it, while supporting the semi-retirement sustainable lifestyle we wanted to achieve. The beauty of this business is the creative and scientific nature to it that fulfils both of our lifestyle needs.

The whisky industry has historically been very male focused/led, has this led to any challenges for you? 

When we first started out it definitely felt like a boys club, but that has changed quite a lot. I would say that myself and my daughter found it hard to immerse ourselves socially in the industry.

Do you feel like the industry is slowly changing with activities like Liquor Loot's International Women's Day boxes shining a light on the great work female distillers do?

Definitely, it is such a pleasure to see more female faces behind the products. Historically the industry tends to focus on the head distillers and their “hobby” roots. We work a bit differently here, although our head distiller is a man, every single one of us here at the Distillery have input into the final products, whether or not a whisky or aged spirit is ready or playing around with Gin flavours or cuts, and 4 out of 5 of us are female, then of course we have our 2 female distillery dogs! So these emerging female faces, business women and craftswomen in their own right is really great to see being showcased to show that this industry isn’t a boys club.

Why are you pleased to be included in the Liquor Loot boxes and what made you choose the offering you have to go in the box?

We are delighted to be included in the Liquor Loot boxes because it’s such a great experience for craft spirit enthusiasts. It makes it more affordable and accessible to try more products and it also supports Australian craft distillers at the same time. We chose our single malt and highland gin as they are products that represent our identity. We are known for our sherry bomb whisky’s and showcasing Australian botanicals local to the region of NSW.

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