“[Whisky] is one of the really enjoyable things in life that I personally would not like to miss out on.” – Angela D’Orazio

Angela D’Orazio is the master blender of Swedish whisky, Mackmyra, the first Swedish whisky distillery which was established in 1999 (for more information, read my piece on Mackmyra here).

She has been in the whisky industry for more than two decades, having worked first with Glemorangie, before running a whisky bar in Stockholm and later starting the Swedish branch of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

In this Whisky Women interview, Angela speaks about being part of the rise of Swedish single malts, winning awards for her creations and falling in love with whisky.



How did you first get involved in the whisky industry?

My first job was as brand ambassador for Glenmorangie 20 years ago. Then I worked for Akkurat Restaurant, setting up the whisky bar, running the tastings and the club and travelling to Scotland. I was also on the team organizing the first Guinness World Record whisky tasting in Stockholm in 2001. My ex and I also started the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) in Sweden. Then I met Mackmyra and the rest is history.

Do you remember a first whisky you tried that you really loved?

It was a young, fresh Scotch and it was many years ago in Italy in a bar called the Piano Bar. It was most probably a Glen Grant or Glenlivet – I remember it being very smooth, refined and malty. It was love at first sip.

How did you get started at Mackmyra?

I came to work with the on the external sensory panel developing their recipes in 2002 and then I came on board in 2004. It has been generally a really great journey for me and Swedish whisky. It has all been a great evolution, even if we’re not yet a widespread name.

The Special '09 release from Swedish distillery MackmyraHow does it feel to be at the helm of a distillery from early on in its conception?

It is really great and honourable to be creative around such living things as casks, whisky and people. I love it.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

To be the chef of the whiskies, the casks and the bottles! And, working together with great colleagues, meeting with our customers, clients and whisky lovers all over the world. I enjoy the difference in nature of all of those things.

What achievement are you most proud of in your career?

I guess the fact that we won the European spirits producer trophy as the best European spirits producer of the year 2012 – that I think is a fantastic thing and (until a few years ago) an incredible thing for a Swedish whisky to win. I pride myself in having had a part in achieving that.

Do you feel more women should or could be involved in the whisky industry?

Yes, why not? A more gender-balanced whisky world would benefit all, from the board of directors to the distilleries, brands, consumers, whisky bars and festivals!

What should everyone who’s not tried Swedish whisky before know about it?

Most often a Mackmyra whisky is not carrying the heavy burden of too much wood but has a fresher and more vivid impact on the palate and nose. It is malt for the less conformist consumers, outside of the usual. If you are also new to malt or even don’t think you like whisky, you might enjoy a dram of ours.

Why would you recommend someone who’s never tried a good single malt to give it a go?

I’d say it’s one of the really enjoyable things in life that I personally would not like to miss out on.

What is one of your favourite memories of whisky drinking?

My equation is: great people + great place + great whisky = favourite memories! One that comes to mind is when, a few months ago, I was at Fjäderholmarna Archipelago Island, just outside of Stockholm, on a sunny autumn eve. I was with my mum and we were tasting great whiskies. That was a wonderful experience.