Calum Murray-Threipland is brand ambassador for Lambay Irish Whiskey. With a strong background in hospitality, mixology, cocktail and Bar-School training, Calum started his journey with Lambay Irish Whiskey Company this year and shares with us his journey so far…
So, Calum tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from?
I was born in London and lived there for around 10 years, I then spent some time living in Oxford, I went to University for a brief spell before moving over to Ireland around 6 years ago and the rest is history!
So, let’s start with the whiskey – a cognac cask finish Irish whiskey – did this seem strange to you?
It absolutely did! I happened to try Lambay Whiskey a few months before I started the role as Brand Ambassador, I have always looked out for unique flavours and tastes so of course the cognac cask finish caught my eye. I was very excited to start playing with it due to its unique flavour profile. I have been a whiskey enthusiast for many years, trying many different casks and unique finishes, many of which usually falling under the umbrella of fortified wines. It has been a journey spending time with this finish and getting to know it better.
Are you a whiskey drinker by nature?
Oh absolutely! Since I became a part of the drinks industry I have always made the utmost effort to ensure that I keep trying to develop my palette, the best way is to try everything at least once. Because of this I have made it my goal to try as many whiskeys as possible, it has been at times an expensive habit of mine, but nothing beats the sensation of finding a whiskey that is truly spectacular! I love all spirits don’t get me wrong, there is very little that I would find undrinkable but Whiskey/Whisky in all its shapes and sizes has been the spirit I have fallen in love with the most. This is in part due to the versatility and variation of its character, how each cask will have a different effect on the liquid inside and the outstanding ability of the Master Blender to create consistency in their whiskey.
Have you been on Lambay and if so what was it like?
I have indeed been on Lambay Island, I had the pleasure of organising our summer event recently where it required several trips to make sure everything was in order. The 20 minute boat ride to work certainly beats the daily rush hour commute! As soon as I landed for the first time I was welcomed by our founder – Alex Baring, helping me get out of the boat with my wobbly city boy legs. Alex lives there with his family and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet this man and learn more about this secluded island, which is hidden in plain sight from Dubliners’ and Irish alike!
Alex guided me on a walk around the Island, introducing me to the history of its buildings- the Boathouse, the Bothy, Castle and original out door tennis courts as well as our Bonded Warehouse called the Sea Cask Room. This is a room I get very excited about, every time I open that door the rich aroma of whiskey ageing hits me and I feel genuine happiness!
During our Summer event I was able to stay on the Island for a few days, I could see Dublin in the distance yet felt very much at peace on this Lambay Island getaway. I do have to say that the highlight of my trip was having the honour of babysitting Willow the baby wallaby… I didn’t know it was a life time goal of mine to become a surrogate mother for a day to a wallaby, but I certainly do now! I can’t wait to go back.
How did you get involved with the brand?
I have been a part of the drinks industry in Ireland for several years, working in bars, teaching in the bar school, doing events, creating brand cocktails, creating drink programmes and staff training.
I had an amazing time learning and developing, meeting many inspiring and interesting people along the way but I was at a point in my career where I needed a change, and as I started to look for new directions the role for brand ambassador for Lambay Irish Whiskey was offered to me.
Being a whiskey that I had already previously admired for its uniqueness and quality I was excited to jump aboard and get my teeth into this role. My love of whiskey and passion for the industry meant that this was an opportunity not to be missed.
What key moments have you experienced in the last six months?
I have to say that my day to day life is so varied, I have had many great experiences since I started in this role, from my first whiskey tasting to my first cocktail on a menu! But I have to say the stand out experience so far, must be the recent event on Lambay Island- to spend time over there and have a chance to really feel what Lambay Whiskey is all about is inspiring!
What is your favourite between the two expressions?
Funnily enough I get this question quite a lot! It’s also one of the hardest to answer as each whiskey has its own unique profile. It really depends on what mood I’m in, usually when I’m out and about and having a few I will go for the Lambay Small Batch Blend. But then if I’m feeling a little slower I will tend to go for the Lambay Single Malt and take my time over it.
What’s your favourite Lambay Whiskey cocktail and why?
My favourite Lambay Whiskey cocktail has to be the Bothy, its such a simple drink but I find it is a wonderful way to drink Lambay Whiskey- a shot of cloudy apple juice, filled with Mediterranean tonic water and a lemon zest garnish. Long, easy and delicious! You can’t go wrong…
Finally, Tell us a classic Lambay Whiskey toast!
This toast is a classic for me, one I always can fall back on and a little cheesy:
There are good ships, there are wood ships, there are ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships, may they always be! Slainte