Forum – Masterclasses

Launched in 2017, the Forum will hold 30-minute masterclasses throughout the event, with household names in fine spirits (master distillers, master blenders, distillery directors, writers, etc.) sharing their expertise and secrets.


Free to all visitors, the Forum is a superb opportunity to share experiences and meet fellow enthusiasts.



Ashok Chokalingam

Master Blender – Amrut


14h00 to 14h30

Master Distiller Ashok Chokalingam introduces us to his work on Amrut’s 2019 limited editions. Discover the third edition of Kadhambam, the latest Greedy Angels 10 Year Olds and the Oloroso Sherry Single Cask selected by LMDW.


About Ashok Chokalingam:

Credited as the reason for much of the success of Amrut in international markets Ashok spends much of his time traveling across the globe conducting seminars and master classes focusing on the growth of Indian whisky and the award winning Amrut range.

Alexandre Gabriel

Master Blender – Maison Ferrand

THEME: Cognac Ferrand Grande Champagne; 10 generations of rich heritage

14h50 to 15h20

It was in the heart of Grande Champagne, in the region of Cognac, that Cognacs Ferrand built its reputation. In 1989, Alexandre Gabriel, the current owner and cellar master, gave this heritage-rich cognac producer a new breath of life. During this presentation, you are invited to discover the company’s respect for tradition and innovation through a tasting of both classic cognacs and original products unique to Cognacs Ferrand Grande Champagne.


About Alexandre Gabriel:

In 2012, Alexandre Gabriel was elected Rum World Best Master Blender and received the prestigious Golden Barrel Award. He shares with us a few insights from his vast knowledge and expertise in the world of cognac and rum.

James MacTaggart

Master Blender – Arran


15h40 to 16h10

Discover what the Arran single malt has to offer with Master Distiller and Blender of Isle of Arran Distillers, James MacTaggart.


About James MacTaggart:

James MacTaggart, Master Distiller and Blender at Isle of Arran Distillers has over 40 years’ experience in whisky production. Since joining Arran in 2007, James has overseen a large increase in production, introduced a comprehensive wood policy at Arran and most recently, has overseen the development, building and opening of Lagg Distillery, the second distillery owned and operated by Isle of Arran Distillers at the south end of the Isle of Arran.

Tomer Goren

Chief distillers – Milk & Honey

THEME: Cask innovation, whisky terroir and extreme climate

16h30 to 17h00

A sneak preview to one of our most exciting project – aging and maturing various cask selection. In the lowest place on earth – the salt-rich dead sea where the temperatures can rise above 50 Celsius and the air is dry and salty. We will conduct a comparative tasting Dead vs Med (Mediterranean) and show the vibe & the scenery of the dead sea.


About Tomer Goren:

Milk & Honey’s Head Distiller, Tomer Goren has a vast experience in distilling and blending of more than 18 years. He’s also judge in international whisky & spirit competitions.

Ronnie Cox

Ambassadeur mondial – Berry Bros. & Rudd

THEME: An Encounter with Berry Bros. & Rudd: Independent bottlers with 300 years of history

17h20 to 17h50

Join Ronnie Cox as he talks through some of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s award winning ‘Classic’ range of whiskies and No.3 gin (Supreme Champion Spirit 2019) accompanied with delectable single cask gems.


About Ronnie Cox:

Ronnie Cox comes from a Whisky family of 7 generations (2 of them distilling illicitly!) in Speyside, Scotland. After 30 years with Independent bottler Berry Bros. & Rudd as Brands Heritage Director he has been a Global Ambassador for Scotch Whiskies, as well as all the top-end spirits in the portfolio. His role as educator and promoter brings him into regular contact with distilleries and his passion for Single Malts, Gins and Liqueurs and is a pathway to his passions for people and foreign cultures with all that the international world of connoisseurs and gourmets provides.

Dan Mc Kee

Chief Distiller – Michter’s

Theme: It’s all about whiskey

18h10 to 18h40

Through a guided tasting with Michter’s master distiller Dan McKee, we will learn about Michter’s signature US*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and US*1 Single Barrel Rye, and what makes them unique. Dan will then run us through his two personally chosen limited releases, Michter’s most recent 10YO Kentucky Straight Single Barrel Rye, and the brand new Toasted Barrel Finish Sour Mash.


About Dan Mc Kee:

Born and bred in Indiana, Michter’s Master Distiller Dan McKee moved to Kentucky to pursue his dream of making whiskey. He began his career in the bourbon industry as a Distillery Operator at Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. After being brought to Michter’s Distillery by Ms. Heilmann, he played an integral role in assisting with the construction of the company’s new Shively Distillery. With his expertise in grain, Dan has played a key role in working with our local farmers to coordinate the planting schedules on Michter’s 145-acre parcel in Springfield, Kentucky.

Samuel J. Simmons

Head of Whisky – Atom Brands

Theme: Into the darkness

19h00 to 19h30

Showcasing five whiskies whose identity is dependent on the use of custom-made sherry “octaves”, Atom Brand’s Head of Whisky Dr. Samuel J. Simmons will take us on the maturation journey of two of the company’s latest creations, Darkness and Aerolite Lyndsay.


About Samuel J. Simmons:

Sam “Dr. Whisky” Simmons is a highly respected whisky educator, communicator and Keeper of the Quaich. He joined Atom Brands in 2018 after working with William Grant & Sons where he served as Global Ambassador for The Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky since 2010. Prior to that, Simmons worked at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society and The Whisky Exchange, after establishing himself through his groundbreaking blog, Dr. Whisky.

Nicola Riske

Brand Ambassador – The Macallan

Theme: The Macallan : A necessary Excellence.

14h00 to 14h30

Présentation Masterclass : Since 1824 and throughout history, the Macallan has been recognized for its excellence in whisky making. Join us for this masterclasses : you will have the opportunity to learn more about the bold and brave decisions that were taken by The Macallan in pursuit of excellence, as well as tasting our latest releases.


About Nicola Riske:

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Nicola Riske began working in whisky in 2005 and joined The Macallan & Edrington Whiskies in 2012 as a brand ambassador in the United States. In 2016, she moved to Madrid, becoming brand ambassador for The Macallan for Central and Southern Europe.

David Boileau

Ambassador – BNIC

Theme: Cognac is the expression of a terroir, of the passing of time, and of its makers.

14h50 to 15h20

This master class will be co-hosted by three brands present at Whisky Live Paris. A selection of VSOPs and “top picks” will be presented to illustrate cognac’s diversity.


About David Boileau:

A native of Cognac, David Boileau has worked as an ambassador for the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (National Inter-Professional Cognac Office – BNIC) for around ten years. His comprehensive knowledge of the subject takes him to the four corners of the Earth to cultivate the Cognac Culture. He never misses a chance to spread the secrets of this exceptional spirit to as many people as possible through the educational tastings he organises.

Ian Chang

Blender Master – Kavalan

Theme: Single Cask selection

15h40 to 16h10

Ian Chang, Master Blender at Taiwan’s first distillery Kavalan, will give us a preview of the Single Casks chosen by two experts in the subject, La Maison du Whisky and The Nectar. Sherry Cask, Peaty Cask & French Wine Cask – a truly exceptional selection!


About Ian Chang:

Kavalan’s great history is marked by encounters that changed its destiny forever. The collaboration with Master Blender Ian Chang that began in 2005 is undoubtedly one of its more important. Sought out from the very beginning of the project, Ian Chang, who learned the subtle art of blending in the United Kingdom, boosted the project with his immense knowledge of Scotch Whisky and his huge passion for Scotland.

Don Livermore

Blender Master – Lot 40

Theme: An innovative design of a whisky flavour wheel

16h30 to 17h00

The presentation will be a discussion on the Canadian Whisky Flavour Wheel©. What are the flavours found in Canadian Whisky? The importance of grain, fermentation, distillation and maturation and the processes we have in place to isolate and measure these components.


About Don Livermore:

Dr. Don Livermore is the Master Blender of Hiram Walker & Sons Limited in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. After graduation with a degree in microbiology, Don started his career in the distillery as a lab technician. Don furthered his education by completing a MSc and PhD in Brewing in Distilling with a focus on how wood interacts with whisky. In 2012, he became the Master Blender of Hiram Walker Distillery.

Chris Leggat & Cara Laing

CEO et Head of Whisky – Douglas Laing

Theme: Douglas Laing 70th anniversary: Tour of Scotland’s Whisky Regions

17h20 to 17h50

The ultimate journey of Scotland’s malt whisky regions with a selection of limited-edition releases from the 2018 & 2019 Independent Bottler of the Year (New York Intl Spirits Comp), Douglas Laing & Co. Hosted by Scotch whiskies favourite couple – CEO, Chris Leggat and Director of Whisky, Cara Laing.


About Chris Leggat:

Chris Leggat joined Douglas Laing & Co in 2013, continuing an impressive and varied 20 year focused career in the drinks industry. In 2014, Chris was appointed Commercial Director of Douglas Laing & Co, and has since been promoted to CEO in 2018. Inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich in 2013, Chris is recognised for over a decade’s experience in the spirits industry and an extraordinary commitment to promoting the values and image of Scotch Whisky globally. He and wife Cara are the first British married duo to wear the accolade and two of the youngest Keepers.


About Cara Laing:

Director of Whisky and third-generation family member at Douglas Laing, Cara Laing was born into Whisky, the industry in which both her father and grandfather worked in. She grew up hearing stories about bottlings for far-flung locations that her father visited on business and being taken around various Distilleries across Scotland. She officially entered the Whisky industry in 2006 and joined the family business mid-2013. Cara’s role as Director of Whisky sees her head up Marketing for Douglas Laing as well as taking a lead role in the approval of Cask samples and the writing of tasting notes. Cara was recognised for her outstanding commitment to Scotch Whisky in 2014 when she became one of the youngest women to be appointed as a “Keeper of the Quaich”.

Serge Valentin and Dave Broom


Theme: Whisky Live Paris 2019 favorites

18h10 to 18h40

Serge Valentin and Dave Boorm will present their favorites from Whisky Live Paris 2018. A superb selection to discover and taste!


About Serge Valentin:

With over 10,000 tasting notes, the Whiskyfun blog is a genuine institution for whisky lovers. Serge Valentin, who updates the blog almost every day, is part of the very closed fellowship of the Malt Maniacs.


About Dave Broom:

A Whisky Magazine contributor and Glaswegian Whisky Advocate now based in the South of England, Dave Broom has, for more than twenty years, carried out research in the world of spirits, first of course in whisky but then also in gin and rum, both the subject of his most recent creations. He is a literary authority for enthusiasts and trade professionals alike and has received prizes on four occasions at the Glenfiddich Awards.

Rhum Gallery


Grégory Vernant, Philippe Baudelocque et Alex Bobbi

Owner – Neisson / Artist


THEME: Rediscovery of iconics single malts from Diageo’s distilleries

14h40 to 15h10

One land, women and men, one rhum and drawings. Exchange with Philippe Baudelocque, who has created the draw of 2003 millesime.



About Grégory Vernant:

The grandson of Hildevert-Pamphille Neisson, who founded the distillery of the same name, Grégory Vernant is an important figure in the world of rum. This lover of Japanese single malts, who runs his distillery with incredible skill, is involved in every stage of production. At a time when most small producers have been absorbed by large groups, this family-run distillery on the island of Martinique can proudly state that it has maintained its independence since it was first created in 1931.


About Philippe Baudelocque:

Baudelocque’s work is inspired by the theme of knowledge, its many different dimensions, and how it is passed on through time. In addition to his studio work, he has produced a large number of artworks in public spaces, from Paris to Hong Kong, via Japan, Azerbaijan and Kenya. Baudelocque is currently focused on centres of knowledge, in areas ranging from science, as in the case of the Synchrotron Soleil particle accelerator at the Plateay de Saclay, to literature, as demonstrated by his work with the Biblothèque Nationale de France.


About Alex Bobbi:

The Neisson distillery’s Director of Production and Cellar Master for 17 years.

Alexandre Gabriel

Master Blender – Maison Ferrand

Theme: Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry deconstruction

15h30 to 16h00

Shortly available


About Alexandre Gabriel:

In 2012, Alexandre Gabriel was elected Rum World Best Master Blender and received the prestigious Golden Barrel Award. He shares with us a few insights from his vast knowledge and expertise in the world of cognac and rum.

Grégoire Gueden

CEO – Distillerie J.M

Theme: Shortly available

16h20 to 16h50

At a time in which environmental issues are at the heart of every debate, the J.M. Distillery is considered a pioneer in its field. Major investments have been made over many years to preserve the distillery’s environment and produce an ever more eco-responsible J.M. Rum. Grégoire Gueden takes us through the progress made on this large-scale project, which is considered an exemplary model for Martinique and the rum industry in general.


About Grégoire Gueden:

Shortly available

Mario Navarro

Brand Ambassador – Rum Nation

Theme: Explore rum’s many terroirs and cultures

17h10 to 17h40

He will introduce us to the various styles of rum and help us understand what makes each one different.


About Mario Navarro:

Mario Navarro has worked in the rum industry for over 15 years. After acting as Zacapa’s first Global Ambassador from 2011 to 2014, he joined the team at Rum Nation as their training manager.

Raul Zeledon

Ambassador – Flor de Caña

Theme: The Importance of Sustainability in the Rum Industry

18h00 to 18h30

Making the difference in Social and enviromental commitment.


About Raul Zeledon:

From the Land of Lakes, Volcanoes and Flor de Caña, with 15 years in the hospitality and spirits industry, Raul will introduce you to the world of sustainability and care for the environment while producing the best Rum in the world.

Marc Sassier

Bally / Saint-James

Theme: The Saint-James plantations, over 250 years of expertise and daring

14h40 to 15h10

The Saint-James distillery in Sainte Marie, a specialist in Grands Crus, remains strongly rooted in its terroir, which is what makes the Saint James Plantation rums so diverse. A history of pioneers, built on daring, tradition and passion.


About Marc Sassier:

A trained oenologist and agronomist, Marc Sassier has, for more than 15 years, been the Cellar Master and Production Manager for Rhums Martiniquais SAINT JAMES. An active player in the Martinique Rhum Agricole sector, he was the primary author of the Rum PDO and PDG specifications. He was named Best Master Rum Maker 2016 at the International Rum Conference of Madrid.

Martin Dupont

Ambassador – Fair

Theme: A journey deep into the terroirs of the FAIR range of fairtrade rums

15h30 to 16h00

Created in 2008, the FAIR brand recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Come and discover the history of each FAIR rum and the brand’s values!


About Martin Dupont:

A pillar of the brand for over 8 years, Martin has traveled the United States and Europe to share FAIR’s values with enthusiasts around the world.

Ian Burrel


Theme: Rum 101. The many styles of rum.

16h20 to 16h50

There many types of rum, just like there are many types of whiskey. Global Ambassador for the Rum category, Ian Burrell highlights some of these styles with a tasting of some of his favorite rums.


About Ian Burrel:

One of the most travelled figures within the drinks industry, the award winning “EduTainer”, has redefined the definition of an international spirits ambassador. In 2017 he was awarded “Rum Communicator of the year” at the Agile Media’s Think Rum trade event. He is also the Spirited Awards 7-time final four nominee and 2018 winner of the International Brand Ambassador of the year at the prestigious Spirited Awards at The Tales of the Cocktail celebrations in New Orleans, even though Ian doesn’t represent any single brand, but a category.

Ken Grier

Creative Director – Dictador

Theme: Rum. The new star on investing scene.

17h10 to 17h40

This presentation covers lessons learned from building the leading investment grade brand in Scotch whisky and will touch on luxury consumer motivations; the secrets behind creating high value products that sell and why Dictator is leading the way in rum.


About Ken Grier:

Ken Grier, founder of De-Still Creative, is an award-winning marketer who specializes in creative luxury brand building. He spent the last two decades driving forward brands such as: The Macallan, Highland Park and The Famous Grouse at drinks brand owner Edrington, before founding De-Still Creative at the end of 2018. Now he is the Associate Creative Director in Dictador Company. He created the legend of Whisky, now he creates the legend of Rum.

Luca Gargano

Maison Velier

Theme: Jamaica Renaissance

18h00 to 18h30

Because of its history, process, reputation and character, Jamaican rum is a significant chapter in rum history. An unmissable trip in Jamaica led by Luca Gargano moving from Hampden Estate Distillery to Worthy Park Estate, passing through Monymusk and Long Pond.


About Luca Gargano:

Luca Gargano, an intrepid explorer of spirits and a true lover of life is a rare character indeed. With a true passion for high-quality products, he is best known for his knowledge and expertise in rum: he works tirelessly to discover new styles of rum, such as traditional Clairin in Haiti, to continually bring rum enthusiasts new and updated experiences.