Bacardi’s Stephanie Macleod captures ‘Master Blender of the Year’ title at International Whisky Competition 2023

Bacardi Director of Blending, Scotch Whisky Stephanie Macleod has been named the Master Blender of the Year at the International Whisky Competition (IWC) 2023 for the fifth consecutive year.

Macleod made history in 2019 when she became the first woman to win the prestigious accolade. She was recognised for her “passion for Scotch, and pursuit of innovation by pushing flavour boundaries and maturation possibilities.”

She serves as the Master Blender for Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky and Malt Master for the Bacardi portfolio of single malts, including Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla and The Deveron.

According to the company, Macleod and her team’s approach to producing quality whiskies continues to earn them widespread recognition.

In the tasting categories, Bacardi also won 22 awards across its portfolio, including Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky and its single malts, which took first, second and third place in 12 different categories.

Dewar’s took first place in the Best Blended Scotch category for its Double Double 37 Year Old, a new release and the highest age expression by the brand.

Macleod said: “What drives me and my team every day is to create exciting, interesting whiskies, that pioneer and provoke anticipation about what we might create next. It is an honour to have our work and pursuit of innovation recognised in such a way by the International Whisky Competition – and for the fifth time.

“This accolade is not just mine, it is also the team’s. I’m incredibly proud of all the talented whisk(e)y-makers at Bacardi for their commitment to creating a consistent quality and standard of whiskies that are loved the world over.”

Stephanie Macleod became the first female and the seventh Master Blender in Dewar’s 176-year history

Bacardi Chief Supply Chain Officer Dave Ingram added: “The Scotch whiskies in the Bacardi portfolio continue to achieve accolades and recognition, a testament to the focus that we put on creating exceptional whisky that can be enjoyed by new and existing whisky drinkers.

“We’re expanding further into the premium and ultra-premium space, which takes time to let the whisky age; space for the casks to rest in; and the skill of our teams to manage the entire process. Congratulations to Stephanie and her team, who continue to drive innovation and push the entire Scotch category forward.”

A multi-award winning and highly influential figure in the whisky industry, Macleod became the first female Master Blender for Dewar’s in 2006 after three years of training with its former Master Blender.

She joined Bacardi in Glasgow in 1998 after starting her career in whisky as a Sensory Analyst at the University of Strathclyde, where she focused on a project that sought to unlock the maturation secrets of Scotch whisky.

As reported, Macleod was promoted early this year to Director of Blending, Scotch Whisky to lead the premiumisation of the family-owned spirits company’s portfolio.

She heads a team of Blenders and Whisky Stocks Analysts who learn from her wealth of knowledge and expertise. ✈

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