The Drivers Share by Paul Mclean of MCLEANSCOTLAND – Scotch Whisky News

AA driver share website

THE DRIVERS SHARE – what about a round of applause for the drivers!  Normally, this is what the driver has at each distillery; a cup of tea/coffee or an empty glass. We hope you all appreciate your drivers for whisky tours, being a driver myself (Paul) I know how it feels. The Drivers Share; An interview with our Irish whiskey tour driver; Mark Burgess, a Scot, now living in Belfast.

1. Mark, what does it feel like driving a whiskey tour group when you cannee drink?  A; Well I take great pride in driving the Whiskey tour, as I was brought up in the whiskey world, with my father being a master distiller (retired now) way up in Speyside at one of the stills, so I feel a strong pull and connection while on tour and love getting to know the groups and getting to know there interests and the whiskey clubs from around the world, but I have to say the worst part of the job has to be the fact that I am the driver. So no sample’s for me during the day.

2. Watching the group (and myself) enjoy samples usually with a satisfied smile, is it hard when do don’t even get to sample anything? A; Watching the group enjoy the samples on tour, does give me a bit of mixed feelings, (not bad ones) I love watching peoples reactions on tasting as everyone knows, each persons taste is different and I like hearing what they think, but on the down side, I do feel a little jealous when the groups get a wee special one to taste, which I know I will most likely never have the chance to try again.

3. back at the hotel each night, if asked what dram you would like, what would you choose? A; Back at the hotel I would often be offered a dram or 2, what I choose would depend on the area I was in, for instance if I was around the Middleton area of Co Cork I would choose something from the Jameson collection, or even trying a whiskey I have heard of but not tasted, basically having my own personnel tasting

4. again, at the hotel, how does it feel when you stop drinking at 8.30pm? A; Being a driver on tour does have disadvantages, having the Responsibility’s of having passengers on your coach, you have to very sensible and responsible and only trying one or two drams in the evening is enough, as the passengers safety and enjoyment is the most important part of the tour, so I don’t mind sitting with the groups drinking soft drinks as the crac is always great.

5. I know on our tours, we normally give you samples and drams to take home, would it not be better to be able to join in on the tour? A; Paul has always been kind to me and gives me samples to take home with me which is a real bonus for me and makes my tour even more special, as I can’t wait to get home and and try them and fill my whiskey notebook in with my own notes, but I must say it would be nice if you could sample the whiskeys with the groups on the visits to the stills, but as they say its the nature of the job.

6. At home, what are your whiskies of choice? A; At home, I like to have a good peat whiskey both from Scotland and Ireland, a few being, the Coal Ila 12 year old, Laphroaig quarter cask, and the Connemara single malts.

7. Finally, having driven tours for us this year myself, I do feel sorry for all drivers and know myself the drivers share is usually NOTHING, or a CUP OF TEA/COFFEE. Do you have a parting shot? A; The drivers share ha ha, what can you say? a tea or coffee sir, yes I do feel I am missing out on that special one, but I love the job it very interesting and very rewarding just to see my groups with big smiles on there faces after each visit and mostly empty wallets as well, but it would be nice if the stills did think about the driver and give a little sample to take away with him to try at his own leisure. Its not that he wants a bottle, just a little sample in a sample bottle would go a long way to a happy driver!

AA driver share glen grant

Interview by Paul McLean and


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