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Award honours retiring Tanqueray master distiller

Tanqueray master distiller Tom Nichol has been honoured with The Gin Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award as he announced he will retire this summer after 42 years in the spirits industry.

Tom Nichol’s career in the spirits industry spans 42 years

Nichol – only the second industry professional to receive the accolade – was surprised with the award, which was presented to him by grand rectifier of The Gin Guild, Christopher Hayman.

“It was such a great surprise, and a real honour to receive the award,” said Nichol. “I’ve had the most fantastic career and have absolutely loved being master distiller for Tanqueray.

“I remember the first time I distilled Tanqueray 10 and the most amazing smell of chamomile burst out and I thought to myself ‘how lucky am I to be doing this job?’”

Nicholas Cook, director general of The Gin Guild, said the group was “delighted to honour” Tom with The Gin Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It really does play testament to the contribution he has made to the gin category over the years,” commented Cook. “Tom’s passion, energy and drive will be missed by all of his Diageo colleagues.

“To have a master distiller who personifies the brand, as Tom does, is a real formula for success. He leaves Tanqueray back in growth – for which he was a key driver ­– our congratulations Tom!”

Nichol will officially retire on 3 July after more than nine years as master distiller for Tanqueray – a date he specifically chose to coincide with Independence Day on 4 July.

“I wanted to make that wee tweak so my first day of retirement falls on Independence Day,” he said. “I’m a very busy person with what I do so I’m looking forward to relaxing.

“I’d like to do more fishing and buy a nice motorbike; I want to do be able to do the things that I want to do in a relaxing way.”

In addition, The Gin Guild also announced on Thursday that Hayman will complete his stint as grand rectifier in October.

Martin Riley, known in the industry due to his work with Chivas Brothers and Pernod Ricard, will succeed Hayman as grand rectifier.

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