The Macallan whisky SA ambassador Thami Banda. Supplied

The Macallan Whisky brand recently announced their newly appointed South African ambassador Thami Banda.  

Born in KwaZulu-Natal, Banda started off as a security guard and was never one to consume alcohol. However, his inspiring and unconventional career path led him to become one of the most sought-after whisky connoisseurs on the continent. 

We caught up with him to share with us his experience and journey in the industry. 

How did you first get involved with spirits? 

It was by chance, I was offered an opportunity to work with a marketing team of a well-known spirit and little did I know that deep within laid a passion for whisky and consumer interaction. 

What is your favourite of the brand's offering and why? 

The 12-year-old triple cask. It’s an easy everyday whisky, which has a calming effect after a long day, its flexible enough, whether you are a ‘on the rocks’ or neat whisky appreciator. Above all, the exceptional balance provided by triple cask maturation process, makes this whisky flavourful with subtle complexities.

What are great food pairings with the whisky? 

Our wood management provides unique, yet flexible flavours, therefore exposing you to an open opportunity of pairings. I personally appreciate the 12-years-old triple cask with smoked salmon…for me, that’s a match made in Speyside! 

The Macallan whisky SA ambassador Thami Banda. Supplied

What's your favourite thing about your position? 

There are two things that I hold dear in relation to my role; Firstly, the privilege of being associated with the finest scotch whisky, with deep heritage, and character. Secondly, the opportunity to embody, and share this precious liquid with consumers, is priceless.

If you weren’t in this industry where would you like to be and what would you be doing? Remember you are in the real world you still need to be making an income. 

If I were not in this industry, I certainly would be focusing on something that develops people and changes lives. I am passionate about people and their potential.

So far what has been your proudest moment in the whisky industry?

There are too many, but I must say my first trip to Scotland ranks high up amongst the best, seeing barley fields, and gentle smoke from malt kilns, felt  like walking in the presence of the ‘Big Five’ yet unshaken and unthreatened.