Long-time Laphroaig and The Exchange National Ambassador Dan Woolley has confirmed that he’s leaving the high-profile role at the end of the year to launch on a new Australian single malt brand with his wife Billie-Jean Brae.
Woolley has long been the Australian face of the famous Islay distillery and his well-known association with the brand arguably peaked earlier this year when he married Brae at the site. Brae is a prominent hospitality professional and whisky expert in her own right and the two will launch a new Australian single malt brand in the new year.
Since 2014 he has been the National Whisk(e)y Ambassador for Beam Suntory’s The Exchange program, meaning he oversaw education for their full suite of whisky brands including other Scotch distilleries Bowmore, Ardmore and Auchentoshan. Brands from further afield include Suntory’s Japanese whiskies Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki as well as Canada’s Canadian Club, Kentucky’s Jim Beam and Ireland’s Connemara.
“I can honestly say that the journey that this role has taken me on has been an incredible adventure around the world many times over and truly has not only been the highlight of my career but the most fun I’ve ever had,” Wolley said in posts on social media.
“Well over one thousand bartender trainings, tastings, masterclasses, dinners, launches, whisky shows and anything whisky-related has been my life since 2014 and the friends I’ve met and bonds I’ve built will last my entire life. This role introduced me to the love of my life who I’ve now married in my favourite place in the world, my other love- Laphroaig, which will always be my favourite whisky no matter what.”
Woolley has been sourcing casks and new make spirit from a number of Australian distilleries in recent years, which will likely see the light of day under he and Brae’s brand. They have also worked with distilleries to ghost-distil their own malt specifications.
“[It is] the single most exciting and scary step I’ve ever taken and I’ll be taking it with my partner in crime all the way, Mrs Billie-Jean Woolley. Please watch this space and keep your eyes peeled for Byron Bay’s first whisky launching early next year, we look forward to sharing it with you all.”
Earlier this year Woolley filled out Whisky Ardent's Proust Questionnaire.