Scotland business

Master blender Rachel Barrie awarded honorary doctorate

Rachel Barrie receiving her honorary doctorate from Prof Peter Mathieson of the University of Edinburgh
Image caption Rachel Barrie is pictured receiving her honorary doctorate from Prof Peter Mathieson of the University of Edinburgh

Scotch whisky industry veteran Rachel Barrie has become the first female master blender to be given an honorary doctorate by the University of Edinburgh.

Ms Barrie was made an honorary Doctor of Science for her "expertise and service to the whisky industry".

Aberdeenshire-born Ms Barrie has worked in the sector for 26 years.

She is currently whisky maker for Brown-Forman's BenRiach, Glenglassaugh and GlenDronach distilleries.

Her job involves nosing and tasting thousands of casks, as well as planning stocks for the coming year.

Ms Barrie studied chemistry at the University of Edinburgh before beginning her career as a research scientist at the Scotch Whisky Research Institute.

She later moved into production at the Glenmorangie Company.

In 2011, she joined Morrison Bowmore, where she developed well-known brands such as Bowmore, Auchentoshan, Laphroaig and Ardmore.

Image copyright Peter McNally
Image caption Rachel Barrie noses and tastes thousands of casks every year

Commenting on her honorary doctorate, Ms Barrie said: "My quest has been to unlock a deeper understanding of the distillation, maturation and provenance of Scotch, to develop and nurture richness of character and taste and celebrate it with the world.

"It's a great privilege to be recognised in this endeavour."

Dr Andrew J Alexander, from the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry, said: "Rachel Barrie's creativity, sensory perception and mastery of analytical chemistry have undoubtedly widened and deepened the appreciation of Scotch whisky around the globe."

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