Your First-ever Whisky & Cat Pairing Session

2015-08-04

Great Value Drams : Glendalough 7 Years

2015-08-08

7 Questions For Tobias Gorn

2015-08-07
For this second episode of my recently-launched “7 questions for…” series (remember, we were talking whisky & chocolate last week!), I wanted to introduce you to a very special company, working in my first area of expertise (kidding, completing a degree doesn’t make me an expert at all, but hey, please let me think diplomas matter… At least just a little bit ? No ? Ok…) : tourism.
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You must have noticed all the fuss about this “whisky tourism boom”, bringing millions of travellers to Scottish, American and/or Irish distilleries. Chapman & Gorn saw there a great opportunity to settle a business and quickly became recognised experts in their specific field, providing worldwide whisky tourists with one-of-a-kind and exclusive experiences.
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Tobias Gorn, passionate whisky enthusiast and co-founder of  this highly-spirited travel agency, took the time to answer my 7 questions !
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Hi Tobias, first of all, could you please tell us a bit about yourself, why and how did you end up setting up a luxury whisky travel agency in Scotland, Chapman & Gorn?
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Scotland was always a fascinating location, not just the whisky but the exciting people and the rich heritage. Whisky is a distinctive product acting as the ambassador of Scotland; helped us to use the drink as our main theme to get people involved in the culture and natural beauty. We felt that there’s a gap in the specialist industry catering for people with high expectation and needs. At Chapman and Gorn we believe a bespoke service is the very minimum to make someone feel special and not just an other ‘number’ in the books.
tobiaaaas

 

What’s your personal relationship with spirits ? Any particular anecdote ? A personal favourite ?
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I’ve spent my last ten years in the drinks industry and started to collect whisky at a considerably young age. It was always fascinating to see the heritage and history of the distilleries and the people behind the production. I’m very lucky to be a judge on several international challenges and competitions. Small industry with some great people. Personal favourite? There are plenty. I try to look for the quality and personal enjoyment beyond the marketing and branding. Also find enjoying a relaxing drink much more important than using whisky as an ego booster or identity tool. Whisky is made to relax people and to create fun times.

tobiaaaas

3) According to the latest figures, whisky tourism seems to be more and more popular amongst worldwide travellers, how would you explain this trend ?
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There are plenty of people around North-America, Australia and New Zealand with Scottish ancestry, they seem to be very keen to visit. Others get fascinated by the drink and culture and the different country- and lifestyle sports. Think of salmon fishing, shooting and golf just to mention a couple we offer at Chapman & Gorn.

tobiaaaas

4) How do you see the future for spirit tourism in Scotland ? Any particular trend or new experiences that you think will become increasingly popular among whisky wanderers ?
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People love to fill their own bottles and to get involved with the creation of the spirit. More and more distilleries offer ‘Distillery Exclusives’ and hand bottling opportunities. Others might be coming out with even more complex customer experiences soon. There are also a wide array of festivals but in our experience these are very lovely but could be well crowded, we at Chapman & Gorn believe in relaxed bespoke activities where our clients can enjoy full attention.
Tourism will be always great regardless the unexpected weather and summer highland midges – tiny insects of the annoying kind. The land and heritage will be always stronger not to mention whisky itself.

tobiaaaas

5) In terms of visitor experience, which distillery and or whisky related attraction would you consider as a must-do and why ?
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There are plenty, I have to highlight the William Grant & Sons distilleries as great pioneers with their fantastic visitor experiences but nowadays pretty much most of the prominent single malt bottling distilleries have some sort of visitor centre. The Diageo Classic Malts are brilliant and Glenfarclas is a great place to visit too not to leave the BenRiach Distillers out. Macallan and Dalmore do not even need mentioning as they are ready to impress with glamour all the time. Recently the lovely people of Bruichladdich made a very grand impression too and left our VIP clients speechless. Having a lovely relationship with the distillers is a privilege and a must in this sector and we feel very lucky at Chapman & Gorn for having great friends. One other attraction is the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with two stunning venues in Edinburgh – Leith. We always loved the SMWS, a splendid establishment in whisky.

tobiaaaas

6) Customer profiles : who are you designing your luxury itineraries for :average age, gender, home country… ? Have you noticed any change in the average whisky tourist’ profile lately ?
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We have a very healthy customer base from pretty much legal drinking age to senior enthusiasts from the Far-East to America – and not just the Northern bit, you name it. It is great to serve such a diversity of people. We recently finished a tour for a group or retired whisky collectors from Czech Republic, just to mention a lesser obvious example.

tobiaaaas

7) What’s next for your business ? A crazy dream or project you’d like to achieve as a whisky lover and tourism operator ?
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We are already very happy with what we are doing right now and we trust if we can satisfy the need of our clients and friends we will continue to create real adventures for many years. In the future, it would be great to acquire and operate a lodge or a great country house but that’s for the longer term. Maybe a selection of private bottlings and other Chapman & Gorn selected products will appear sooner or later.
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Opening a distillery? Very romantic and ambitious but we leave it to the real professionals !
tobiass