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XXIV - 2015

Ken Grier of The Macallan whisky distillery keeps in high spirits in work and leisure time

TIMEKEEPER

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 November, 2015, 4:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 12:24pm

As brand director of The Macallan, The Edrington Group, Ken Grier is well aware of how crucial timing is when making Scotch whisky. Founded in 1824 in the heart of Speyside, The Macallan was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed, and it has since built a reputation for creating one of the world's finest single-malt whiskies.

"It's the interaction of the precious spirit with the rare and expensive sherry casks for just the right amount of time that gives the most perfect whisky," Grier says. "We only sell our whisky when the time is right - when every drop is at its peak of perfection, and when the right levels of complexity, colour and flavour have had time to develop. All the time we are monitoring and planning for when the moment is just right." 

Time management is also important - it's all about prioritisation and doing the urgent and most important things first. It's also helpful to learn how to compartmentalise so that the less-important tasks don't nag at you, but rather are done when the time is right.

"A daily ritual is to connect with as many [members] of my team as possible to show how much I value them and to listen to their views," Grier adds.

Grier makes sure there is time for his loved ones - "Friday nights are precious" - and that there is time for himself, whether that means shooting photographs with his Leica, playing a round of golf with friends, or travelling with his wife. He has three grown children and likes to spend his leisure time taking street or landscape photographs; watching his favourite soccer team, Queen of the South; and playing golf at his club, Blairgowrie. But above all, he enjoys travelling to new countries and having the pleasure of meeting diverse new friends.

"Hong Kong is always one of my top destinations, and I love everything from the Kowloon-side view to the Star Ferry to the Peak."

He says he's learned many lessons in life - the importance of a team, the power of creativity, an obsession with quality, always making good on your promises, respecting and listening to others, laughing and, of course, that there are few things that can't be fixed over a glass of The Macallan Rare Cask.

"I never turn down a chance to help someone, though; that falls into the urgent and important box. It also helps that I discipline myself to six hours of sleep a night. My personal philosophy about time is that it is more precious than any other resource, so don't waste a second. Live life to the full, as there is plenty of time to sleep after death." EN


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