September 27, 2023 1:56 pm

Deanna Powell: Have Whisky, Will Travel

It’s a New Year here at Whiskey Network and for this month’s Women in Whiskey, we’re excited to introduce you to Deanna Powell, Northeast Ambassador for the Glen Moray portfolio!

Whiskey lovers tend to gravitate towards each other whether that’s through a group like Whiskey Bourbon Scotch Enthusiasts (45k and growing!) or mutual friends.  In this case, I was lucky enough to meet Deanna at a dinner last year of whiskey lovers hosted by our mutual friend, Jas, where she brought Glen Moray 21 Year Portwood Finish. We had an amazing time and managed to stay in touch with one another.  

Despite a crunched schedule of back-to-back whiskey work trips and moving to a new apartment in the middle of the holiday season, Deanna graciously took the time to chat with me about her whiskey journey and Glen Moray Scotch Whisky.

Deanna, a Miami native, grew up in Orlando and earned a Bachelor’s in Marketing & Interdisciplinary Studies with minors in Political Science, French and Theatre at the University of Central Florida. One of her most memorable college experiences was a summer in Paris spent studying French Art History at La Sorbonne, France’s oldest University. 

Deanna initially worked in retail but decided that she wanted to succeed in the field of Hospitality and returning to Miami, started out as a server and then bartender at a cocktail bar. While she had been exposed to Single Malt Whisky previously, it wasn’t until she was working for an agency where she covered William Grant brands that she began to focus on it professionally, most notably The Balvenie and Glenfiddich.

Over the next several years, Deanna would continue to hone her relationship management, marketing, event planning, and business development skills across a number of spirit categories and brands including Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Dillon’s (a small batch Canadian whisky), Aberlour, The Glenlivet, Brockmans Gin and Stoli Vodka from Miami to New York. 

While still in Miami, Deanna was also an event coordinator for the infamous South Beach Wine and Food Festival. (This event started as a one-day festival with about 500 attendees is now a 4-day extravaganza that boasts global recognition and drew 30,000 people in 2021.)

On the Move 

But it would be after her move to New York that Deanna would end up as the US Northeast Disaronno Portfolio Brand Ambassador where she would regularly lead large scale format whiskey tastings of Single Malt and Single Pot Still Irish Whiskeys. Deanna then became the Regional Portfolio Market Manager for Disaronno International. Her PR responsibilities now included all forms of media (tv, magazine, social) as well as whiskey festivals and events focused to promote those in industry including Tales of the Cocktail and Bar Convent.

When asked to name one of her favorite things about her extensive experience, Deanna stated that she loved that with large format tastings, there was a focus on education and being able to walk people through their own journeys. 

Last year, she joined 375 Park Avenue Spirits (an independent sales and marketing division of Sazerac) and returned to her first love of Single Malt as the Northeast Ambassador for Glen Moray. She travels all over introducing Glen Moray in a variety of formats, including collaborative pairings, such as this Scotch & French Cheese one that I was fortunate enough to attend at the French Cheese Board in New York City.

From Brewery to Distillery

One of Deanna’s other favorite things is while visiting the Glen Moray Distillery, she got to fill and sign a barrel of her own. (You can check this video out on her IG, glen_moray _deanna.)

There’s a saying that that beer is baby whiskey because the process of making whiskey begins similar to that of making beer. 

Glen Moray Distillery started its life as Elgin West Brewery in 1830. It was transformed into a whisky distillery almost 70 years later in 1897 with two stills but unfortunately ended up shutting down in 1910. In the 1920s, it was bought by MacDonald & Muir, who owned Glenmorangie. In the 1950’s more innovations were added including: 

  • Two new copper stills
  • New stillhouse
  • Use of oil instead of coal
  • Update to the use of Saladin boxes (which were used to replace floor malting) allowing them to increase production. 
  • New warehouses built for the casks

In 1987, they increased their production numbers by moving to an every-day distilling schedule. They are recognized as one of the first Scotch brands to explore alternate cask finishes in 1999. They first experimented with white wine cask finishes: Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. 

In 2008, La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, France’s second-largest spirits group, acquired Glen Moray from LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). Other whisky brands in their portfolio include Cutty Sark, Label 5 and Sir Edward’s. And in a 2021 press release announcing their new Stephen Woodcock as head of whisky creation & stocks for their whole portfolio, Glen Moray revealed that they increased global sales by 50% in the last five years, becoming the world’s eighth biggest selling Speyside whisky and the 16th best selling single malt.

The Whiskies

Their whiskies are categorized as follows:

Classic: Introduced in 2014, their signature line up includes their classic Single Malt and specialty finishes including: Port, Oloroso Sherry, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Peated.

Heritage: Introduced in 2016, expressions include their 12, 15, and 18 year as well as their 21 Year Portwood finish (finished two years in Portuguese port wine casks) and their 10 Year Fired Oak (first aged in American oak casks then finished in heavy char virgin oak casks). 

Curiosity: Introduced in 2018, these limited editions include the Madeira Cask Project (aged 13 years) and the Rhum Agricole Cask Finish Project (aged in American oak followed by two years in Rhum Agricole casks from St. James Distillery in Martinique).  

Warehouse 1: Features “cask adventures” that include a Barolo Finish, a Tokaji Finish, and a Manzanilla Finish

They also offer Signature Travel Retail and Private Casks.

Enjoying Glen Moray

If you’re new to whiskey in general, Deanna suggests the following expressions to match your palate: 

If you like a Vodka Soda, try Glen Moray Classic.

If you like a Cosmopolitan, try Glen Moray Port Cask. 

If you like a Gin and Tonic, try Glen Moray 12 year.

If you like Tequila, try Glen Moray 15 year.

If you like Mezcal, try Glen Moray Peated.

If you like full-bodied red or white wine, try Glen Moray Cabernet Finish or Glen Moray Chardonnay Finish. 

If you like Rosé, try Glen Moray Sherry Finish.

For a Glen Moray Whiskey Cocktail, Deanna recommends

Smoky Old Fashioned

1 ¾ oz Glen Moray Peated
3 dashes Bitter Truth Creole bitters
2 ½ tsp maple syrup
1 dash ginger bitters
1/2 tsp cherry juice

Take a mixing glass and add half of the whisky, the maple syrup, the cherry juice and bitters. Fill with ice cubes and stir. Add the rest of the whisky, and keep stirring, adding more ice until the drink is diluted to taste. Strain into a chilled rocks glass over a large single cube of ice. 

Garnish with a thin piece of orange zest and 3 cherries. Add a couple of squares of dark chocolate too, if you like.

Join us next month as we chat with my friend Crystal Chasse, a Bacardi USA Single Malt Ambassador representing Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Deveron, Royal Brackla, and Aultmore Scotches!

"Whisky is liquid sunshine."

George Bernard Shaw

“The light music of whiskey falling into a glass – an agreeable interlude.”

James Joyce

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