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Jetsetting with The Macallan's Ken Grier

SINGAPORE — Having been with The Edrington Group for more than 10 years now, Ken Grier, Director of Malts, is responsible for The Macallan, the popular single malt whisky, and helped oversee the launch of The Macallan’s Fine Oak range in 2004. Based in Scotland, Grier was in Singapore to officially launch the M Decanter, which is a masterpiece born of a collaboration between masters of their craft. Renowned Creative Director Fabien Baron worked with crystal master Lalique to create a beautifully designed and meticulously crafted crystal decanter. Yes, it’s a limited edition, of which just 1,750 — each engraved with its own individual number — have been released worldwide this year.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts, The Macallan.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts, The Macallan.

SINGAPORE — Having been with The Edrington Group for more than 10 years now, Ken Grier, Director of Malts, is responsible for The Macallan, the popular single malt whisky, and helped oversee the launch of The Macallan’s Fine Oak range in 2004. Based in Scotland, Grier was in Singapore to officially launch the M Decanter, which is a masterpiece born of a collaboration between masters of their craft. Renowned Creative Director Fabien Baron worked with crystal master Lalique to create a beautifully designed and meticulously crafted crystal decanter. Yes, it’s a limited edition, of which just 1,750 — each engraved with its own individual number — have been released worldwide this year.

Q: What do you enjoy about travelling?

A: Travelling is a great opportunity to experience new cultures, observe the key challenges and motivations in our consumers’ lives and of course, observe their drinking habits. It’s so important to connect with our friends around the world, and I always aim to blend in with endless curiosity and empathy.

Q: Where do you normally travel for business?

A: This year alone, I have travelled to New York, LA, Miami, Denver, Portland, New Orleans, Beijing, Seoul, Takamatsu, Naoshima, Tokyo, Barcelona, London, Hong Kong, Vienna and Dubai. One anecdote I always tell people is how I once spent a day in the office in Scotland, flew to Barcelona for a 7.30pm meeting before starting dinner at 10pm and finishing at 2am, and being in a cab back to the airport at 5am so I could be at my desk by noon that day. It’s not all glamorous.

Q: What have you observed about the habits and palates of well-travelled consumers these days?

A: Consumers are drinking less but better — hence the fantastic success we are enjoying with The Macallan — and they want their friends to know it. This has influenced our approach in getting the brand into the world’s best bars, adapting by offering new serves such as the highball in Japan, and our focus on introducing new consumers to the brand through sampling.

Q: Favourite place to visit?

A: Macchu Picchu, as I love ancient civilisations. I have also visited the Pyramids, Angkor Wat and Teotihuacan.

Q: Which country or city has left the greatest impression on you?

A: Vietnam. I think it is culturally rich, the people are super friendly and the cuisine is wonderful.

Q: What is one item that you always travel with?

A: A Tumi business case because it is indestructible, has loads of pockets, is expandable and I always know where everything is!

Q: What is the best way to experience local culture?

A: Talk to taxi drivers and get great bar recommendations from hotel concierges.

Q: What is your most treasured souvenir?

A: Elliott Erwitt, the world’s most influential photographer, took my picture at a tasting in Los Angeles and sent me a signed copy. I treasure it.

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