This month we had the honor and privilege of hosting Dr. Emma Walker, the first female Master Blender in history at Johnnie Walker, one of the largest and most important whiskey companies in the world.
Meet Dr. Emma Walker
Walker began working for Diageo in 2008 and for more than a decade has been one of the small team of 12 expert whisky makers working together in pursuit of blending excellence. She has a background in scientific research with production expertise, and has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of whisky production, maturation and blending.
During her career, she has worked in different areas of whisky production; gaining experience and understanding of how flavour develops in fermentation, distillation and maturation, striving to ensure quality at every step. Leading the Whisky Specialist team based in Menstrie, Scotland, Emma has access to more than ten million casks of maturing Scotch whisky from distilleries across the four corners of Scotland.
Walker's visit to Israel
This was Walker's first visit to Israel. She arrived to launch her newly created light whiskey: Johnnie Blonde. A blend that, not unlike its creator, breaks conventions.
Don't let Emma's last name fool you, she isn't part of the famous company. She reached the highest position in the Irish distillery thanks to her many skills.
We hosted Emma for brunch at "Habanot", together with women leaders from the Israeli culinary, wine and alcohol. It was an intimate and moving meeting, around a table full of whiskey and delicacies.
We enjoyed excellent drinks put together, especially for the event by three talented local mixologists: Noam Sharet, Mor Koral, and World Class Israel winner Corrie Levis.
The beautiful photos from the event were taken by photographer Shani Brill.
Emma spoke frankly and with humor about the path she took as a woman to the top of the world of whiskey. She explained her role as a Master Blender in a large distillery, and shared the challenges and tasks she faces today, among them maintaining the balance between tradition and innovation. She shared her thoughts on how her work must honor the deeply rooted brand of Johnnie Walker, arguably the most recognized whiskey in the world, while also producing innovation that excites customers to remain relevant amongst consumers.
Many thanks to the initiative and collaboration of the team at IBBLS led by Adaya Lange and Smadar Dori Maoz.