On his first visit to Edinburgh, in the first pub he went into – Deacon Brodies Tavern on the Royal Mile – the first drink Tom van Gyseghem had was a glass of Caol Ila 18-year-old. It inspired him to become a distiller, set up Thistle Spirits in his home city of Brussels and, with two university friends, make Scotch single malt whisky with a Belgian twist. “I was just a beer man, but after my trip to Edinburgh my passion for whisky grew quickly,” says van Gyseghem. “I lived in Cambridge for three years, working as a barman in The Champion Of The Thames pub and then worked for The Nectar, an independent importer and distributor of quality spirits in Belgium and Luxembourg. My whisky collection grew to over 600 bottles. But I wanted to make my own.
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