Bacardi’s Stephanie Macleod wins fifth consecutive Master Blender award

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

Macleod made history in 2019 as the first woman to win the prestigious award. She was recognised for her passion for Scotch, and pursuit of innovation by pushing flavour boundaries and maturation possibilities.

Macleod was promoted to the newly created position of Director of Blending, Scotch Whisky, earlier this year. In this role, she serves as the Master Blender for Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky, and Malt Master for the Bacardi portfolio of Single Malts: Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla and The Deveron.

Dewar’s whisky wins multiple accolades

Aside from Macleod’s IWC accolade, in the tasting categories the Bacardi portfolio won 22 awards, taking first, second and third place in 12 different categories.

Dewar’s won first place in six of those 12 categories, including first place in the Best Blended Scotch category for Double Double 37 Year Old, a new release and the highest age expression released by the brand.

Stephanie Macleod Dewar's Master Blender

Stephanie Macleod, who joined Bacardi in 1998, became the the first female Master Blender for Dewar’s in 2006.

Macleod commented: “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.”

Bacardi Chief Supply Chain Officer Dave Ingram added: “The Scotch whiskies in the Bacardi portfolio continue to achieve accolades and recognition, 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 respected figure in the whisky industry, Macleod became the first female Master Blender for Dewar’s in 2006, following her official three-year training with the then Master Blender.

She joined Bacardi in 1998, beginning her career in whisky as a Sensory Analyst at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland, working on a project which attempted to unlock the maturation secrets of Scotch whisky.

READ MORE: Bacardi promotes Stephanie Macleod to new Director of Blending role


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