Collectors' Eye: The Rise of Whisky
Meet the Panel
Aaron Chan is a widely recognized whisky connoisseur and collector in Asia. He has been collecting vintage whiskies for more than a decade and ranks among the few to have a complete set of Hanyu Ichiro's Malt Card series.
In 2015, Aaron established Club Qing – one of Hong Kong’s first specialty whisky bars, offering more than 400 bottles of old and rare whiskies by the glass. It has since become one of the most popular whisky bars in Asia. Further attesting to its success, Club Qing has released its own private label whiskies and has emerged as a prominent independent bottler brand in Hong Kong.
Aaron is the organizer of WhiskyNow! – annual event that focuses on old and rare whiskies, and since its beginning in 2018 has attracted many international experts in the field to participate.
Emmanuel Dron has been an expert in the whisky industry for 25 years.
He is the founder of The Auld Alliance in Singapore, a well-established whisky bar since 2010 boasting an impressive selection of close to 2000 bottles. The Auld Alliance has also released more than 50 single casks including some rare Port Ellen, Brora, and Longrow.
Emmanuel is the author of “Collecting Scotch Whisky”, published in 2018 and stands as the most comprehensive book on old and rare Scotch Whisky ever written. Dedicated to collectors, beginners, connoisseurs, and merchants, the compendium classifies more than 2,500 rare bottles by independent bottlers and official bottling, with complete series and bottles dating.
Ron Welsh has deep insight and understanding of the whisky production process, having had close to three decades of experience in the industry. Beginning his career in 1992 with Allied Distillers, he led the production of grain spirit then moved into inventory where he planned the laydown of whisky and selection of all casks for bottling. Welsh joined Beam in 2005 as Whisky Stock Manager, and under the tutelage of Robert Hicks, he rose to the role of Chief Blender in 2010. Following the purchase by Suntory, Welsh served as its Senior Manager – Inventory Management and Spirit Quality for Beam Suntory’s five distilleries and eight scotch brands.
In 2017, Welsh took the helm as Master Blender, responsible not only for the for the quality and inventory management, but also the inception of new products across the Scotch portfolio. In this role, Welsh channels his passion for creating well-loved whiskies, either maintaining and improving existing expressions, or developing new products. He takes joy in nosing for the first time, being first to do so, and thrives on the magic of this ritual. Welsh’s passion is fully focused on the shaping and preservation of the legacy of the whiskies.
Jonny Fowle, who joined Sotheby’s in 2019, has been an active force and leader in the global spirit business. Spearheading the highly successful “Ultimate Whisky Collection” Auction which realized one of the highest grossing sales of all time in Sotheby’s London Wine Department, as well as setting the highest value ever achieved for a bottle of wine or spirit at auction.
In his current role, Jonny serves as Deputy Director, Whisky specialist at Sotheby’s London as he focuses on developing spirits as a separate category and growing this area of the business.