From Bon Appetit
Bon Appetit Interviews our Female Whiskey Sommelier Heather Greene
In the world of whiskey, Heather Greene has some significant firsts: first American woman to serve on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting Panel in Scotland; first woman to win Whisky Magazine‘s American Young Ambassador of the Year award. And now she’s added another: the first female whiskey sommelier at the recently opened Flatiron Room in Manhattan.
Greene may be first, but she’s not alone. Women all over the world are increasingly involved in the making and marketing of whiskey, not to mention the drinking of it. She gave BA an inside look at what that’s meant for how she drinks and what she serves. –Rachel Friedman
How did you get into whiskey?
Heather Greene: I am a professional keyboard player and singer/songwriter, and while on tour in Scotland I just fell in love with that whole beautiful world of whiskey. I started working at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Edinburgh. I just went and asked for a job. For me, whiskey making, and the passion and the sensuality that go into it, comes from that same place of creation that music does.
Do you need particularly good tasting abilities in order to become a whiskey expert?
HG: I was really insecure when I first started serving on the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society tasting panel. They asked me to pass a nosing and tasting exam. I was really nervous, but I passed it in a very high percentile. That gave me the courage to go back into tasting panels where it’s predominantly men. That was a big moment for me because then I felt armed to talk about it. It is intimidating when you’re around men. It’s still intimidating. The other day I was talking to this guy about bourbon. He said: Bourbon can only be made in one region in Kentucky. I said: Actually, it can be made in more than one region. He said: Are you sure about that? I said: Yeah, I’m pretty sure about that. So he has to get up and fact-check on his phone in front of me. I thought: Would this happen with a guy? I don’t think so.
Read the entire interview.