13 Dec ‘Scotch whisky goes well with Korean food’
Martin Markvardsen in 2009 joined the exclusive international society that recognizes people who have shown outstanding commitments to the Scotch whisky industry.
“That was of course one of the highlights of my career. It’s a recognition which is not only for me but for the brand, and it makes me extremely proud,” he said in an interview with The Korea Times, Monday. “But for me that title is not correct, because a master is a guy that can’t learn anymore, but I learn every day.”
Born in Denmark in 1967, Markvardsen had been a boxer for his country’s national team. He had 22 matches as a member of the national team and won Danish boxing championships twice.
However, Scotch whisky strongly attracted him to move to Scotland, where he has worked in the industry for 25 years.
“When I stayed in Denmark I got interested in Scotland and wanted to see Scotland,” he said. “When I moved there to work with whisky, it took all my attention. Then I left my boxing behind, but what I took with me from boxing was the eagerness to be better and better.”
Since 2006, Markvardsen has played his role as a brand ambassador of Highland Park. He travels around the world to train importers and attend various whisky fairs. He regards himself as the face of Highland Park, as he meets VIPs and media around the world, receiving immediate feedback from them.
Markvardsen has visited more than 30 countries worldwide including several Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan, but this was his first visit to Korea. He said he is interested in Asian foods, such as Chinese, Indian and Thai foods, and cooking those foods by himself.
“I do think that the Highland Park with its smoky flavor will go very well with Korean food,” he said. “I had a few dishes yesterday. Some of the fish would go extremely well with a 12-year-old. I also had some noodles and some beef yesterday, and I thought they are for 18-year-olds.”
Markvardsen was sure the newly released Highland Park Fire Edition, which is sweet and also spicy, will go well with Korean food culture as well. He said, “It’s a unique whisky, but at the same time you can find out all the characteristics of Highland Park.”
According to Markvardsen, the new whisky will be first promoted to bartenders here, so they can recommend it to customers. He hoped Korean households would buy the beverage to enjoy at home amid Korea’s recent trend of drinking high-priced alcohols at home alone.
On the day of the interview, Markvardsen attended a meeting with 50 bartenders here to introduce the new whisky.
Founded in Orkney, Scotland, 1798, the Highland Park distillery has produced premium single-malt Scotch whiskies which have been recognized by experts. Its whiskies have received several international awards, such as double gold medals at the 2007 and 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.