Sacha Nourse is the Global Brand Educator for Starward whisky. Having spent years working at the distillery running tours and working behind the bar, he is now a face of the brand around the world and right at the forefront of taking Australian whisky to the world.
Describe your job in five words
Travelling, talking, teaching, tantalising and spreadsheets.
What do you appreciate most in a whisky?
Something unique. I like being surprised by scents and flavours that you can see in whisky.
What do you appreciate least in a whisky?
When a whisky is unbalanced it is hard to enjoy.
What is your most treasured whisky?
I actually have only got back into collecting whisky again recently and so my collection is looking pretty scarce. I have too many expensive hobbies.
What is your favourite virtue in a whisky bar?
Knowledgeable and personable bartenders. I love talking to people who can teach me about a distillery I didn’t know about or a whisky I have not tried yet.
What do you most dislike in a whisky bar?
I dislike seeing both bartenders and customers lord knowledge of their patrons or friends. There is always someone who knows more than you and the only way you can learn is by listening to what others have to say.
If you could have any job in whisky, what would it be?
I really do love my job but, ultimately, I would love to write about whisky in some capacity.
What is your favourite distillery name?
Glenfarclas. I find it rather euphonious. The whisky is pretty good, too.
Who is your hero in whisky?
I have many. We get to work with so many great people it is hard to say one. I am enamoured by master blenders. I think the job they do is one of the hardest in the industry and the palate required for it is incredible. I do not have a favourite master blender, however. I feel like I would just be naming one at random if said I did.
What is your idea of whisky happiness?
Whisky, like food, is about sharing. It is sitting somewhere, with good people and enjoying the majesty of a dram. Maybe some cheese, cured meat, too.
What phrase do you most overuse when talking about whisky?
“Sumptuous,” when referring to texture and feeling of the whisky.
When do you lie about whisky?
Sometimes I massage the truth to try not to speak ill of other brands. Especially when I am working. I think every whisky is made for a reason and with an audience in mind. If I am talking about things around the liquid, it is usually avoiding the truth that I don’t like the liquid.
Who or what is the love of your whisky life?
The first whisky which taught me that whisky was ‘cool’ was Ardbeg 10. I still hold the distillery, and that release, in high esteem and always come back to it, time and time again.
What is your happiest whisky memory?
The first whisky show I worked. I was asked to help out at a whisky show in Canberra for Starward in 2015 and the fraternity of the whisky community stood out to me. The way I was made to feel included and welcomed as a newcomer was exceptional. It was the first time that someone offered to pay me to travel and talk about whisky. Needless to say, it had a pretty big impact on my career trajectory.
What is your saddest whisky memory?
When someone good passes it always stings. Losing Spike from Hoochery was a big one and I think everyone in the industry can attest to that.
Who do you most admire?
Honestly, probably my sister Gemma. She is such an accomplished and wonderful person. She also introduced me to all the cool things I like. I wouldn’t be who I am without her. Shout out to my sister Gemma.
Sherry cask or bourbon cask?
Sherry. Sherry has such a range of flavours depending on the style of sherry which seasoned the cask.
If you could work at one distillery, which one would it be?
Teeling. I really enjoy the story and the journey of the brand. I think that there is something romantic about going back to the historical heart of whisky production. Is this a job application?
What is your greatest achievement?
I always marvel at the fact that I make money from talking about whisky and promoting such a fine alcohol. So, in whisky terms doing what I do everyday always feels like an achievement.
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