Can’t find that Scotch you are looking for? Not sure you really like Scotch and you’re not sure where to start? Just get in touch and we’ll happily point you in the right direction. Let us do all the hard work so you don’t have to. Contact your Certified Whisky Ambassador Robert Burke now.
Meet Robert Burke
My name is Robert Burke founder and owner of Highland-Gathering. A small company based in Pensacola FL focused on the education, profiling and tastings for single malt Scotch.
I was born and grew up in a very small vacation town on the western shores of the Scottish Highlands, Dunoon, Argyll. I grew up in the land where Scotch Whisky originated. It was in my blood and part of my everyday life. My introduction to Scotch came at an early stage in my life and has been a part of it ever since. I had the opportunity once I was of age to visit a number of different distilleries and of course sample their whiskies.
The beginning of my career was working in a family business of buying and selling of fresh produce, where we dealt with many hotels and restaurants. Thus always part of eating and drinking and in many cases Scotch whisky. Many of my relatives also owned Hotels and bars in and around the region. I worked part time with these bars, where I gained a lot of experience.
I immigrated to the US in 1975. I worked for a chemical company in sales and marketing and did a lot of entertaining and many times did Private Scotch tastings for our customers as part of building relationships. Many comments have been made that I should be doing this more often as I knew so much about it and showed great passion for Scotch.
I have taken a number a different classes on Scotch whisky at a number of different distilleries. I would say that the two classes that are the most in depth are the Scotch whisky training school based in Edinburgh and the Whisky Ambassador course. I passed both of these classes and have been certified by both.
The Whisky Ambassador programme is the original accredited Scotch Whisky training course. Designed both for the Licensed trade and those seeking a comprehensive grasp of Scotch, the course gives you the knowledge, skills and confidence to talk to customers about Scotland’s national drink, furthermore improving customer experience and exponentially increasing sales of Scotland in a glass.® Having been established for a number of years in Scotland, the Whisky Ambassador’s emphasis on immersive and interactive learning has seen our courses rapidly expand to spread intimate knowledge of Scotch whisky across 22 countries and six continents.
I have also visited and taken a number of other distillery classes throughout Scotland in all of the regions and Islands. Such as Glengoyne, Springbank, Glenrothes, Glenfarclas, Aberfeldy, Isle of Harris, Loch Lomond. I have many close relationships with a number of experts in the industry and with some of the premiere bars in Scotland such as the Bon Accord who always have at a minimum of 2200 plus bottles of single malts at all time.
I have been collecting and of course sampling many different whiskies from many different distilleries and always visit some more when I am home on holidays. I currently have about 300 bottles in my collection. No I do not have a single favorite but have several distilleries I prefer, which very much depends on the mood. I am always on the lookout and research what is new in the world of Scotch whisky. I am currently involved in two major projects Whisky and Chocolate and Whisky and music.
That is one of the beautiful things about Scotch there are new releases constantly coming out but not all meet the bill. Many young whiskies can very often be better than many older whiskies. I think you also have to be wary of some special releases. Since being a special or limited release does not guarantee it is always better it can be a way of getting more money for a Scotch or it’s in a special package. Special packages can be nice to look at but does not always mean a better Scotch
I also learned that to really taste, evaluate and enjoy a good Scotch you need to have the right environment, right glass, good spring water and many times the right music to set the tone and truly make your tasting truly enjoyable and a learning experience.