The Exclusive Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky dinner
Regional Brand Ambassador for The Balvenie in Southeast Asia
Raised in Aberdeen, Scotland, Neil Strachan started out in the
hospitality industry as a kitchen porter at the age of 16, even
travelling to work in the kitchens of hotels in Austria and France.
Inevitably, he discovered the inner workings of a professional
kitchen and the hard work it entails. It was when he returned to
Scotland that his job at a cocktail bar sparked newfound interest
for the bar trade, which later grew into passion as he learned
more about the premium spirits and cocktail craft – swiftly
diverting his career path towards the spirits trade.
Neil then helped open the Malmaision Hotel in Aberdeen, where
he learned about his local spirit. Starting out as a bartender, he
quickly rose up the ranks to become an assistant manager, co-
managing the busiest bar in the group. The hotel bar was snug
with up to 400 varieties of whiskies from around the world, mainly single malts, and boasted one of the
best collections in the region. VIP tour invites from various distilleries poured in and it was in Scotland
that Neil grew in his knowledge and love for Scotch.
Neil’s thirst for adventure and new challenges led him to three very different bars on the home ground
of Scotch whisky. One of the bars is situated in Ballater, seven miles away from the Queen’s summer
home – Balmoral Castle. For almost five years, Neil lived in the Scottish country side and he relished his
time there where he was enraptured by the science and art behind whisky making. When he was not
busy at the bar, he loves nothing more than fishing, farming and snowboarding in the idyllic area.
Despite the long drives to the surrounding Speyside distilleries, Neil also enjoyed visiting various
distilleries in his own time, and he was always eager to learn more about whiskies.
A chance encounter with the Southeast Asian William Grant & Sons team paved the way for Neil to
become the regional brand ambassador for The Balvenie. At the time, he was the business development
manager of a friend’s brewery, Deeside Brewery, and also helping out at a friend’s pop-up bar, 10 Dollar
Shake, both based in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was at Torin House, on the grounds of The Balvenie
Distillery that Neil was serving drams to the William Grant & Sons South East Asian team.
No stranger to drinking, Neil likens highland games to the whisky Olympics and often jokes that if
drinking whisky was a sport, there would be plenty of professionals in Scotland.