Whisky Society of Australia, Inc. is a group of malt whisky enthusiasts,
dedicated to the proposition that Australia needs more malts, and more
appreciators of malt. To that end, we formed the not-for-profit Malt
Whisky Society of Australia Inc in 2002. The 2003 National Malt Whisky
Convention (Canberra, 2003) was the MWSoA's inaugural effort to provide a
nationwide forum for malt whisky fans. The success of the inaugural
convention led to Australia's 2nd Malt Whisky Convention which was held
in Sydney in 2005, with the 3rd Convention in Melbourne in 2007
and the fourth convention in Adelaide, June 2013.
We also conduct the Malt Whisky Awards where we seek entries of
commercially available malt whiskies and they are judged by an expert
panel and the results published in our newsletter. Our list of medal
winners throws up some excellent value for money malts and you might
want to take our medal list (available under the Feints & Foreshots
tab) when you go malt hunting.
We also occasionally arrange vanity bottlings from our favourite distilleries to be bottled for members.
The Management Committee, elected on 18 January 2014,
comprises Craig Daniels (Chairperson), Aaron Baxter (Secretary), Ian Schmidt
(Treasurer), Malcolm O Farrell (Vice Chairperson) and committee members Roger
Gillard, Bob Manouge, Paul Shand, Viano Jaksa and Craig Ritchie.
Craig Daniels -
Chairperson - Craig is the Foundation Chair of the Society from
2002 and was re-elected unopposed for the ninth time in
January 2014. Craig has led all the Convention organising committees
and has a special interest in event development and innovation in membership servicing.
His working life mainly encompassed 28
years in public administration across various Federal labour market programs,
industry and regional services portfolios.
He most recently managed an Australian Apprenticeship Centre in the Adelaide
Hills. Craig has been involved in whisky
connoisseurship since 1991 and is a successful competitor in the National Malt
Tasting Competition and he is now pursuing whisky related business
opportunities. He has won the competition on three occasions, most
recently in Sydney
in June 2013 and previously in 2008 and 1995 and has placed second in 2000,
2001 and 2010. Craig is internationally recognised for his
knowledge and palate, contributing to various whisky websites.
He is a proud member of the international
internet malt collective, The Malt Maniacs, and a long standing member of the
Earls of Zetland Malt Tasting Club (1991), the Streah Malt Tasters (1995) the
Scotch Malt Whisky Society (2003) and the Macquarie Branch of the Gillies Club
(2004). Craig has visited Scotland twice
to pursue his personal passion and has photographic evidence of visits to over
80 distilleries. If pressed he will also
acknowledge a growing appreciation of Australian and Japanese single malts and
American rye whiskies. He has not found
the perfect whisky yet; he is still hot on the trail.
Aaron Baxter -Secretary -
Aaron works for a
software development company providing clinical software support to customers
in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.
He has developed a lot of useful IT skills
through his engagement and interest in technology and software.
Aaron has a keen interest in fine food and
drink which has over the last two years expanded into the area of whisky.
Aaron has been keen to get involved with clubs
and associations in areas of interest to him and he has a particular interest
in whisky and food and will join fellow Committee members in developing and
hosting whisky and food matching events.
Aaron has been involved with the Adelaide
University Science Association and Valhalla LAN Parties and was treasurer for
He was the president
of the Adelaide University Stein Club in 2010 and enjoys exposing people to
beers they have not previously tried through the club's regular tasting events.
Aaron holds a degree in Economics from The
University of Adelaide.
Schmidt - Treasurer - Ian carried out his first
distillation at about 16 years of age when working with his father making
After a long break from
distilling that had him serving, briefly, in the Navy, then fishing, sailing,
mast making and flagpole making, the wheel has turned the full circle and Ian
is back distilling in Adelaide at Southern Coast Distillers.
The last few years has seen Ian serving with
distinction as the main coordinator of the MWSoA Malt Whisky Awards.
Unfortunately a conflict of interests keeps
him out of the judging panels but he finds the organizing and the event
enjoyable and educational.
In the last
5 year and in the process of educating himself in the finer points of distilling
Ian has acquired a real passion for malts, of all types.
Favourite drams: Southern Coast 002 of
course and Caol Ila 12.
Malcolm O'Farrell - Vice Chairperson - Mal is an experienced
publican with a long term interest in malt whisky.
Since taking over the Rob Roy Hotel n 2006
his wife Stacey and he set out to create a venue and atmosphere for the true
Building one of the countrys
best whisky collections, the Rob Roy Hotel has gained a reputation as the home
of malt in Adelaide.
private malt tastings, whisky and food matching degustation dinners and
involvement with several malt clubs, Mal has strived to bring all of his 20
years hospitality industry experience to building and expanding malt whisky
appreciation and knowledge.
forward to the opportunity to further develop and drive whisky appreciation
through the Malt Whisky Society of Australia.
Committee member - Marketing officer - Retired
Advertising and Public Relations Consultant. Born and bred in Adelaide of German
and English parents. Qualified Mechanical Engineer, but never worked in the
field. Roger worked in the photographic
industry initially [family involvement] then progressed to senior management in
a retail chain and then became State Manager of Advertising and Public Relations
for that company. He then took up a
position as senior representative of Amex then started an independent
advertising/public relations consultancy in Adelaide. Rogers hobbies & interests include motor
racing, malt whisky tasting, golf, gym and travel. He was introduced to scotch whisky by his
father in 1961 and for many years he stuck to his formula, which was Haig's in
the short black bottle, but in later years Roger discovered malt whisky. During the last 10 years his interest
heightened and he joined several tasting clubs.
Roger has also entered tasting competitions, recently reaching the taste
offs at the SMWS National Malt Tasting Championship in Sydney 2010.
Bob Manouge - Committee member. Bob has recently retired from 41 years in State
Government public administration in the agricultural sector. His first
interests in the liquor industry revolved around the collection of beer cans.
This progressed to a stint at home brewing and an appreciation of the various
styles of beer. As a foundation member of the Beer Can Collectors Association
of Australia he has held the positions of National President and State
President for several years in its 30 plus years of existence.
Following a visit to Scotland and Ireland in
2006 the attraction of whiskey was too great to ignore and Bob became an
enthusiastic member of the MWSoA.
Whisky has brought another glass to my
table to enjoy.His second visit to Scotland
in 2012 has entrenched his love for Scotland and
Paul Shand - Committee Member -Paul is a geologist and has been working as a research scientist in Adelaide on soil and
water quality for the past eight years. He also spent fifteen years working in
and internationally on surface water and groundwater issues being provided with
ample opportunity to sample local eau de vie from many countries. Paul was
brought up in Wick, close to the Old Pulteney distillery, and has been
passionate about malt whisky and the history of the industry for many years. He
is also interested in the relationship between the land and its whisky and
convinced that the old timers were right in thinking that water quality is the
key to some of the characteristics of whisky having a significant effect on
the mashing and fermentation stages of the production process. Pauls biggest
surprise in coming to Australia
is the quality of its malt whisky and he has exported significant quantities
back to friends and family in Scotland.
He was joint winner of The Golden Dram award in 2013 along with Vic Orlow and
got 1st prize in last years convention raffle he is hoping his
luck will continue but not holding out too much hope!
Viano Jaksa - Committee Member -Viano has worked as a professional film editor, as a
teacher and lately as an IT consultant. His Italian heritage explains his
passion for Alfa Romeo motor vehicles and for wine but there is no genetic
explanation for his love of "uisge beatha," the water of life. Viano's
belief that life is all about the journey and so, after having received a copy
of "1001 whiskies You Must Try Before You Die," he's undertaking this
challenge with characteristic passion and enthusiasm.
Craig Ritchie -
Committee Member- Craig is a Risk
Management Consultant specialising in Asset Protection and Business Continuity.
He joined the Streah Malt Whisky Club in 2001 and is a past club Laird.
He was first equal (with Craig Daniels) in the 2005 club championship. Craig has read extensively on the subject
and in particular found
Goodness Nose - the passionate
revelations of a Scotch whisky master blender - by Richard Patterson and Gaven D Smith very instructive
and interesting. In recent years Craig has made several trips to Scotland and whilst
there visited distilleries (both the Mainland and the Isles) to gain a better
understanding and appreciation of the single malt industry. Craig attended the
Malt Whisky Society of Australias Convention in Adelaide in 2013. This enabled him to connect
with all sectors of the malt fraternity. He was invited to join the Judging
Panel for the Malt Whisky Society of Australias 2013 Whisky Awards.