In our latest Meet The Team blog, we hear how Ali Manson went from finance to tattooing, before finally finding his dream job at The Cairn.
What made you decide to work at The Cairn?
I suspect everyone else will have already said it, but it really was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work here and be a part of the original team who created the spirit for The Cairn whiskies.
Having joined Gordon & MacPhail around five years ago in Finance & Stock Control, and with a varied background of work experience (from Banks to Tattoo studios) - I guess you could say I'd just never really found 'the one'.. until now! I knew the company and had experienced some eye-opening aspects like the Sensory Panels and the Whisky Course before joining the team here at The Cairn. I'd also spent a bit of time at our other distillery, Benromach, so knew when an opportunity to become a distiller came up, I'd jump at the chance.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love that no two days are the same, and it's a physical job with non-stop learning to keep my brain working. I was really surprised by how modern The Cairn is, being able to control the distillery processes from a computer or tablet has been fascinating!
Happiness and job satisfaction are real motivators for me. The more you enjoy doing something, the happier you are. This job is so far removed from anything I've ever done, and the enjoyment factor makes being an advocate for the brand easy.
It's also been good to see more and more visitors grace our distillery in the past few months, and working with our Visitor Centre colleagues to give a fuller picture of the processes and technology behind The Cairn has been a lot of fun. For as much as The Cairn is chock full of cutting-edge technology, there's still a human element to everything we do here. But don't just take my word for it; come along and experience it for yourself!
What is your favourite whisky from The Cairn?
My favourite dram from the CRN57° range is the 18 year old, it's well balanced and has a range of flavours from fruits like banana and strawberries to sweet, nutty notes like chocolate and hazelnut - delicious!
The Cairn is an inspirational place - what has it encouraged you to do?
I've been inspired by the incredible location of our site here in the Cairngorms National Park, which has reminded me of how fortunate I am to live in a country with such beautiful, rugged landscapes on our doorstep. Working in such a stunning setting has re-energised me to explore more of the surrounding area on my bike in the coming months and beyond.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
With a range of hobbies such as cycling and golf, I really do enjoy keeping fit. I've always kept up my passion for tattoos and drawing them is how I relax. Around the Cairngorms, I like to cycle the Dava Way, and nothing beats a walk round Loch Morlich.