Islay Whisky Girls - The Laddie Lassies


There are TWENTY-SEVEN Lassies working as managers, brand home ambassadors, and administrators, in marketing, & in various production areas at Bruichladdich Distillery.

In the mi(d)st of all their hospitality (hic!….)I got three to sit still long enough to interview.

(MMG) Mary McGregor ~ Laddie Shop Manager

(AMG) Ashely MacGregor ~ Shop Assistant & Tour Guide

(JC) Julie Chalmers ~ Executive PA to CEO & Customer Service

Heather Leslie ~ Seasonal Tour Guide ~ in the picture.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

MMG – Meeting people from all over the world

AMG – Telling people about the whisky & its history

JC – This is an exciting, fun, innovative place and company to work with.

What’s your favourite place in the distillery?

AMG – Warehouse 14. The biggest library of casks. 11 stories high! The Cathedral!

JC – Always love the still house.

MMG – Looking out a window and seeing dolphins, or an otter appearing. The best views…

What’s the first thing you do when you come in in the morning?

MMG- Lights on. Put the kettle on.

AMG – Put the computer on, check the shelves and make sure there is plenty of whisky for guests.

JC – Have a bowl of Cheerios!!

MMG & AMG – Yes, ‘cos she has to have her breakfast for the bump!

What is your favourite thing about whisky?

AMG – All the different colours of the whisky. Sometimes you line the drams up on the counter and they look like little traffic lights!

MMG – All the different things we do here; are innovative.

JC – I think it’s amazing that so much whisky comes from somewhere so small. We are a small speck and what we do affects the world.

MMG – Yes, we are a proud nation.

Peated or Not?

MMG – Not!

AMG – Both.

JC – Gin……!

The ideal place to drink a dram?

AMG – Sitting on the beach.

JC – It sounds strange… but I appreciate whisky at a funeral. It’s a comfort. Like a hug when you need it.

MMG – Anywhere with friends.

What do you look for in a dram?

MMG – Smooth. Like honey. From the day we are born, it’s the milk and honey – we are a land of milk and honey!

AMG – Sweet with natural oils. A good mouthfeel.

What advice do you have for all whisky women?

MMG – Don’t be at all scared of the old myth that whisky was seen as a male environment.

JC – Don’t be afraid to say what you are getting when you nose and taste.

AMG – Yes, pregnant women are good at nosing… it’s the hormones!

How has the industry changed since you started?

MMG – I started in 2003 and it is SO much busier. Also, more innovative ideas.

JC- I started in 2009, it’s who we are seeing here now. People from universities, people like me. A diverse range of personalities. A far wider audience than before.

MMG – Yes, also, it is much easier to travel here.

What can the industry do to bring more women to whisky?

JC – Bruichladdich are doing it.. women are drawn to the aqua colour! Whisky is a lot more interesting. Keep it stylish.

MMG – People are attracted by the image. It’s much sexier! The whisky is the same, but the combination of the two things works well.

AMG – Clothing. Fashion. Opening up to a younger generation. Engaging through social media.

If you owned Bruichladdich for the day, what would you do?

MMG – Keep walking around the distillery. Speak to everyone working. I don’t always get a chance to do that.

JC – Organise myself a Margaret Shaw Lunch & have nice coffee!

AMG – Make my own special whisky. A Classic LASSIE ~ a Port Cask.

What was your last dram?

MMG – 27 YO Bruichladdich 53.3%

AMG – Black Art IV 23 YO

JC – Can’t remember… it’s so long since I had one!

Where to next?

AMG – I hope I can grow with the industry. Be part of it all. I feel proud to work here.

MMG – A wedding in Cyprus!

JC – Maternity Leave!

What do you say?

AMG – Would you like a taste of whisky?

JC – How can we help you today?

MMG – Chi sinn thu a’rithis ~ We’ll see you again.

Whisky & ……….?

JC – Whisky & Girls!

AMG – Whisky & Warmth.

MMG – Whisky & Wild, wild women!!

Thank you to the wonderful, funny, warm, hospitable Bruichladdich Lassies.
Chi sinn sibh a’rithist!

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