David C. Stewart was born in 1945 in Ayr on the west coast of Scotland and began his training with William Grant & Sons in 1962 at the age of 17. The company was already running the GLENFIDDICH and THE BELVENIE whisky distilleries, where David worked when he was needed.
His training as a Malt Master lasted 12 years, during which he learned to smell and mix the best quality Scotch Whisky. In 1974, David was appointed Malt Master by William Grant & Sons. His loyalty to the profession to this day makes him the longest-serving Malt Master of all Scotch Whisky distilleries.
During his more than 50 years with William Grant & Sons, David has developed a range of award-winning single malts and blends that have earned him some of the industry’s most prestigious awards. His skill and awards have helped the William Grant & Sons Distillery win five International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Distiller of the Year awards, four International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) awards and the World Whiskeys Awards for the first time in 2011.
One of his most important achievements was in 1980, when he developed a ripening process for two barrels that was not yet known at the time. This technique, established since then, is now known as “finishing” and is used, among other things, in the best-selling Scotch whisky “The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old”.
David’s introduction of the Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 Year Old was also the first and only single malt to use the innovative Solera ripening process.
As a master blender at THE BALVENIE, he developed the world’s first blends to ripen in ale and sherry barrels to bottling. His passion for the art of blending also contributed to Grant’s Family Reserve, the third largest Scotch whisky in the world, being internationally recognized as one of the best blends in the world.
David officially handed over his position as Glenfiddich Malt Master and Grants Master Blender to Brian Kinsman in 2009 after working closely with him for nearly a decade. He himself remains an integral part of the William Grant & Sons family, but dedicates himself to the role of Malt Master at the prestigious THE BALVENIE Distillery in Dufftown. David’s pioneering spirit and commitment to his craft, coupled with his modest, inconspicuous manner, have made him one of the most popular and respected malt masters in the industry.