A truly skilled master with a fine eye for detail, Gordon Motion is our Master Whisky Maker and follows the process of making Highland Park from new make spirit distillation, maturation and cask harmonisation to final bottling – ensuring that the highest quality is maintained at every stage.
Gordon’s job isn’t just about watching over our core range, but about developing and crafting new whiskies for Highland Park too, including our recently released TWISTED TATTOO, VALFATHER (the final release in our Viking Legend series) and now 21 YEAR OLD. So what makes a Master Whisky Maker and where do the art and the science meet.
When art meets science
According to Gordon, the scientific side of the whisky-making equation is about ensuring the future quality of the spirit and the casks, while putting the whisky together ‘on the bench’ is – and always will be – the art. Although nature tends to take is own course during maturation, with every cask being different, the appliance of science helps to ensure a strong degree of consistency. Gordon’s decision to include batching details on our older whiskies is about sharing information with everyone who loves Highland Park as much as we do, and both highlighting and explaining the natural variations that exist between batches.
The journey to Kirkwall
Following a summer spent touring Scotland and visiting various distilleries while he was a computer science undergraduate, Gordon decided that rather than sitting behind a computer for the rest of his life, he wanted to work in a distillery. After finishing his computer science degree, he took a postgraduate degree in Malting, Brewing and Distilling and spent several years working in small breweries across Scotland and England. Gordon joined Edrington in 1998 as Assistant to the Master Whisky Maker – at that time, the legendary John Ramsay. One of the first distilleries that Gordon visited was Highland Park and it left him with a great impression of the island, the distillery and the people who work here. Ten years later, following John Ramsay’s retirement, Gordon took over the mantle as our Master Whisky Maker and the rest, as they say, is history.