Maverick Women of Whisky: Kimi Kim

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Maverick Women of Whisky: Kimi Kim

March Outturn 2024 Interview


To celebrate International Women’s Day for 2024, we asked some absolute trailblazers in the spirits trade some questions about flavour, unusual pairings, and their love of this amazingly diverse game we call whisky!

Kimi Kim, Whisky & Alement


  • How long have you been working in the industry?

I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for almost five years now.


  • What about whisky do you enjoy that you think sets it apart from other spirits and drinks?

I fell in love with whisky five years ago and that was the end of the six years of my career in the Fashion industry. The part I enjoy the most is that the more you know about it, the more you enjoy and appreciate it. The past, present and future of the whisky scene is always exciting. Its diverse depth in flavour is what got me to fall in love with it.


  • What’s your favourite thing about working at Whisky & Alement?

I say all the time how much I love and am proud of what I do. Whisky & Alement is the best place for anyone who appreciates whisky. The best of all is that we get 10-20 new whiskies every week. We get to taste and learn ALL the different kinds of whiskies each week. Imagine having all the rare, unique and tasty new drams every week. Also, our team is one of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the industry, and I’m lucky to be able to work with them.


  • What are the flavours of a dram you tend to gravitate towards?

My favourite whisky/flavour changes all the time, but lately anything fruity or textural have been my picks!


  • Do your flavour preferences shift quickly or do you find you go through long phases of preferencing certain flavours?

A little bit of both actually! My go-to drams are Linkwood, Blair Athol and Chichibu in general but also I’m a huge fan of sherry bombs, old-school peated drams, savoury and vegetal drams, and just any drams that are interesting.


  • March is about unusual flavour pairings — what’s the weirdest flavour combination you’ve ever created (or enjoyed)?

There have been plenty of fun and weird ones especially when I was involved in the cocktail scene. Creating a Bloody Maria with white kimchi broth, and wasabi with all very oriental ingredients was fun. I made a straw with water parsley for a gardenia highball once, bee waxed mushroom old fashioned, coriander, green tea, peach and creme de menthe all surprisingly work well together, too.


  • Do you have a set process for creating cocktails? Are there rules you stick to when working with whisky as a base?

Flavour pairings and the style of cocktail I want to create are the first things I consider, especially when it comes to whisky-based cocktails. Matching the flavour profile of the dram and the other flavours that would work to highlight the whisky is the key point. For instance, if my base whisky is delicate and fruit-forward, I would use delicate and textural ingredients to highlight the original flavour of the whisky rather than using heavier, and darker components.

I once made a hot-buttered cider with Benriach 10. I always find lovely pineapple and soft baking spice from Benriach, so I matched it with coconut butter and a touch of allspice, malic-acid-adjusted nashi pear syrup and dry apple cider. Things that go well with, and also highlight the original flavour of whisky.


  • What’s a food you would infuse whisky with that you think could work? Like a left-field dream flavour combination?

Heaps of vegetables, fruits and herbs go really well to infuse whisky. If any, beef stock or chicken stock goes pretty well with a Bloody Mary, using Mexican cuisine to create a cocktail would also be fun!


  • What’s the strangest ingredient you’ve ever used in a cocktail?

Not my creation, but I have tasted a chicken nugget martini before and I didn’t hate it, this is probably the strangest one I can think of that actually worked well. All the fun failures drunk me did back in the day should be kept secret..


  • Do you prefer contrasting or complementing flavours?

I’m definitely a complementing flavour person, rather than contrasting. I like the harmony and highlights of flavours. I also enjoy some fun weird contrast flavour-town drinks, but personally, I like to play on the safe side.


This article is featured in March 2024 Outturn — bottles will be available to purchase on Friday the 1st of March at midday AEDT exclusively to members of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Not a member? Click here to learn more about the world’s most colourful whisky club.


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