Nick on top of whisky world

PUBLISHED: 17:10 15 August 2007 | UPDATED: 21:46 29 May 2010

Nick Allies with his whiskies

Nick Allies with his whiskies

STARTING work for Stansted Airport 16 years ago, Nick Allies has progressed from being a sales assistant to having the enviable job of a whisky specialist. Working for World Duty Free s World of Whiskies, Mr Allies has become a connoisseur in the drink, u

STARTING work for Stansted Airport 16 years ago, Nick Allies has progressed from being a sales assistant to having the enviable job of a whisky specialist.

Working for World Duty Free's World of Whiskies, Mr Allies has become a connoisseur in the drink, undertaking many recognised qualifications and training.

Mr Allies, 44, is now an expert in the store's entire range, providing customers with advice and specialist knowledge to help them choose the right blend for any occasion.

The range is extensive and the most expensive whisky is a "50 year old Balbenie Cask 191 which is priced at £6000."

With so many different brands on the market, buying the tipple can be a potential minefield.

"I always advise people to try the whiskey if possible before buying. Too often people judge a whisky by the cost," he said.

Purchasing the right bottle is not the only hurdle a drinks novice has to overcome; they must also decide how they are going to drink it. Mr Allies offers this advice: "A malt whisky is better drunk on its own or with a bit of water. There are no specific rules though; I believe it is totally down to personal preference as long you enjoy it."

Since joining BAA retail in 1991, Mr Allies has worked in a number of different roles within the airport department store, but it was only when he applied for the position of Whiskey Specialist three years ago that he found his niche.

"Working at the airport is a great experience. It can be very frantic and busy, however I really enjoy meeting such a wide cross section of people from all over the world, all with the same common denominator, a love of whisky," said the Braintree man.

Building on his knowledge, Mr Allies has been on two rigorous training courses with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, passing both his standard and advanced qualifications.

Continuously developing his own skills Mr Allies has to keep up-to-date with changing consumer tastes.

"Passengers are increasingly asking for Laguvallin which has excelled in popularity since the 1980s," he said.

For the future, Mr Allies said his "ultimate goal" would be to "visit the distilleries around the world to gain further experience of the whisky industry."

His favourite whiskies are Port Ellen, Islay Whiskey; Rora (30 years old); and Ardbeg. And he believes the best time to enjoy them is "after a good meal and in the colder winter months."

The number of passengers using the airport has increased dramatically over the past few years, which in turn, has led to a growth in demand for Mr Allies' specialist skills.

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