The Scotland-born lassie brings a slice of her hometown with Bruichladdich’s liquid gold
A drastic career switch-up can certainly be quite nerve-racking.
Take if from Chloe Wood, who had to trade in rolling hills and cyan-hued skies of Islay, a place she calls home, for Singapore’s cacophonous cityscape when she was bestowed the role as regional brand ambassador for Scottish spirits label Bruichladdich.
“I lived on Islay my whole life, and Islay certainly has not got any of the aspects of Singapore,” she observed. ” Singapore is like I won’t
even say it’s a concrete jungle. You still got the areas of green, but I think for the lifestyle change – that was the best part because you get to see a very different style of working like we’re just saying nothing’s the same, but it’s a good thing that it’s not the same.”
Sporting a short bob that frames her set of strong shoulders, the 23-year-old is the youngest to take on the prestigious duty of representing Bruichladdich – an honour that came after her four-year stint at Bruichladdich Distillery. There, Wood steered the Bruichladdich Academy Programme and imparted the Scottish brand’s philosophy into not only her fellow co-workers, but also whoever with an open mind.
That same infectious love and passion were certainly noticeable at the recent DFS Masters of Wines and Spirits – a convivial spirits-driven event where Wood zealously enlightened attendees of the various whiskeys from the 1881 Scottish label.
“I want to push people as Islay because people often see the product and they see the price that was with it, but the story, that doesn’t always kind of push forth,” she elaborated on her purpose at DFS. “When you start talking about Islay, it changes the game completely because it brings that whiskey to life.”
Tell us more about Bruichladdich and how it is a good fit for you.
For me, as soon as I thought I was getting into a distilling industry or whiskey industry, Bruichladdich has always been the one that stood out. It has always been a family connection for me, like my dad has never been employed by Bruichladdich but he’s always had a close connection. But when you start looking into the brand itself, let’s say they’re being progressive and not like the traditional brand. So, for me, the idea of always tasting something different, trying something new, learning about something different, it was like the kind of major draw, and as well, when you look at the brand, I knew from being on Islay, the branding and the distillery itself is very interesting because usually you get that old-style brand in a very modern distillery, but Bruichladdich is a very modern kind of design and if you’d actually go to the distillery, it’s like 1881 all over. And it’s all about the people. I think on Islay there are about 200 people employed directly by whiskey and Bruichladdich, there’s 94 of them, and there are eight distilleries on Islay. So, you know what we have it’s all about the people, there’s a lot of the younger generation are coming in, so it kind of opens up so much opportunity to kind of do things your own way as well.
You’re the youngest to be appointed as the Regional Ambassador for Bruichladdich. Do you regard this age aspect as just another number or is it something you felt you need to live up to as compared to other ambassadors who are older and more experienced?
Yeah, I think for being the age I am, to have the job is a big thing like, I mean, the kind of responsibility you have is massive. At the same time, I would say, it’s not kind of negative. My goal is to bring Islay to life and I think I lived there my whole life. So, I think in that respect, I’ve got like a good kind of step up because you do have the experience of living there and just being connected to the distillery your whole life. In this job, you never stop learning so I’m pretty much at the start of the learning. It’s like a career so people who are like even 30 or 40, I learn from them as well as much as sometimes a man who’s been drinking or a woman who’s been drinking for like 25 years.
What is the best way to formally introduce the Bruichladdich brand to a new drinker?
I would always say to introduce somebody to the brand with the actual product itself. So it’s like the whiskey introduced to them
direct, like not to add ice, not to add water, just on its own. If they enjoy that flavour then it’s theirs to then take away either as a High Ball or whiskey sodas. I think if we can introduce the brand, the core flavour, then if they enjoy that, then that’s what we’re looking for.
We’ve got Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore so you go from unpeated to the heaviest peated in the world. I think to sit with it and just teach people about it first, but then give it neat, is always the best way because like some people say don’t add this or don’t do that, but as long as you enjoy what you taste, that’s the main thing.
What would you say is your go-to nightcap?
I would always choose an Octomore and Octomore being, as I say, the most heavily peated and currently, it is the Octomore 7.3. So, the 7.3 is 169 parts per million, so you usually go in like 20 to 50 and so it’s like the end of the night kind of finishes, the flavour will stay with you and it’s a nice one that you can sit and enjoy.
Share your thoughts on the drinking scene in Singapore.
I think Singapore’s drinking style is definitely going into looking at like this kind of handcrafted spirits. As with everywhere, you get your big brands which are super popular and they’re the most prominent. They’re the ones that people will know, but when you start introducing people to newer flavours or newer styles of how to create that, people will want to know more about their drinks just like they do about their food.