The faces behind Scotland’s top malts

8. Kinwale Mdluli – Glen Elgin

Kinwale Mdluli – Glen-Elgin; Photo credit: Colin Hampden-White

Hampden-White was certainly surprised to find a chemist from Zimbabwe distilling Glen Elgin in Speyside. “He’s got more than one doctorate and he’s a complete chemistry geek,” he says, adding, “He thinks distilling formulae all the time and is an absolute perfectionist.” Indeed, Hampden-White forecasts an improved reputation for this distillery because of Mdluli, who has only been at Glen Elgin for a few months.

“Before he started at Glen Elgin, he didn’t know much about whisky, but he has obviously got an amazing palate because it’s difficult to tweak something that is good already, and it’s very hard to taste new spirit.

“He’s doing brilliant things and gets on so well with everyone.”

Mdluli is pictured behind a spirit safe to mark the end of making the spirit. “It’s not polished and gleaming for the tourists,” says Hampden-White of the spirit safe, “but is a proper working bit of the distillery.”

Glen Elgin is three miles south of Elgin in Speyside on the road to Rothes. It was the last distillery to be built during the boom years of the 1890s.

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