Our people

Meet the masters of whisky appreciation behind Cask Trade.

Meet the masters of whisky appreciation behind Cask Trade.

“We are entrepreneurs, collectors and whisky enthusiasts. And eager to share our passion and expertise. We believe that by doing things differently, we can make a difference.”

LEO SCOTT-FRANCIS

‘The Veteran’

Leo has been involved in the wine and spirits industry for the past 20 years. He specialises in dealing with private clients as well as trade. He has built their whisky investment portfolios and managed them throughout their lifetimes. Impressively enough, he has sold in excess of 600 casks.

Leo has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fine-wine investment market. Therefore, after forecasting its downturn, he helped many of his clients move into the fast-growing asset class that is scotch whisky.

His passion for the drinks industry was fuelled by extensive travel. Leo has spent over a decade of his life living and working abroad. During which time he’s developed a love of good food and fine wine.

Leo, master of whisky appreciation

JAMES RUSSELL

‘The Protégé’

While finessing his mastery of the violin as a music conservatoire student, James also began his career in the whisky industry. At the age of 18, he joined Milroys of Soho in London where he ran regular tastings. And where he further developed his love of Scotch.

Following this, he worked for Bristol’s Averys Wine Merchants, before recently returning to both London and the whisky industry. Interestingly, James is an experienced musician and violin teacher. And he spends as much of his spare time as possible visiting distilleries, hiking, and fishing in the Scottish Highlands.

James also has a penchant for researching various historical subjects, including the history of Scotch Whisky.

James, master of whisky appreciation

SIR COLIN HAMPDEN-WHITE

‘The Keeper’

Colin is a Keeper of the Quaich, and sits on the judging panel at the Whisky Awards. Lately, he has also become a television personality. – As presenter and producer of ‘The Three Drinkers’ on Amazon Prime.

Colin was born in Scotland, where he attended the University of Edinburgh. Among his many skills, he is a professional and artistic photographer for the National Portrait Gallery, Conde Nast, and Lux. He is also a journalist for The Times, FT and The Scotsman. As well as an editor of the Whisky Quarterly magazine, and Drink Me magazine. Besides his regular appearances in print and on television, Colin is also a presenter on Whiskyradio.com and contributes to several podcasts.

Colin, master of whisky appreciation

DR THEO EMPLESLIDIS MD

‘The Oracle‘

Theo is the founder of three whisky retail stores in Greece, and one of the first to import from distilleries such as Glenfarclas, Bowmore and Macallan. He was also a pioneer in launching the first ‘Whisky Show Greece’. He sold the business in 2008, when he moved to the UK.

As well as being a whisky enthusiast, Theo is a collector and entrepreneur in the whisky world. He is currently the founder and CEO for Trade Whisky Ltd, a global rare whisky bottle investment and trading platform. He is also the owner and managing director of Vintage Whisky Auctions Ltd. Which is the first online whisky bottle auction built by collectors for collectors. Anywhere in the world.

Theo is also a fellow of the European board of ophthalmology and a consultant ophthalmologist. He has published numerous papers and received many accolades for research from all over Europe.

Theo, master of whisky appreciation

LEE TOMLINSON

‘The Trader’

Lee has a decade of experience in the drinks trade, having sold thousands of whisky casks over the years. He started his career in sales at Jeroboams. Then quickly progressed into management at the iconic Milroy’s of Soho. Where he took part in the store returning to independent ownership. Milroy’s is renowned as one of London’s oldest whisky merchants.

Lee was responsible for dealing with distilleries, distributors and clients. And also lead the team sourcing and bottling casks under Milroy’s own label. After leaving Milroy’s, Lee went on to work for the award-winning Woolfsung Wine & Spirits Merchant. He built a private and trade in-bond cask sales division. Furnishing many brokers and independent bottlers with casks of all ages from many well-known distilleries.

Lee has also advised on various media projects. Working alongside publications such as the Financial Times, Esquire and BBC Radio 2 and sharing his knowledge on emerging brands. As well as advising on the increasingly lucrative whisky cask market.

Lee is now regarded as one of the industry’s leading independent specialists for the sourcing and valuation of casks.

Lee, master of whisky appreciation

SIMON ARON

'The Collector'

Simon is an experienced entrepreneurial angel and investor. He has helped get tech start-ups, medical technology and agricultural ventures around the world off the ground. He is highly experienced in financial modelling, fund management and building companies.

Simon started his first company in 1990. He sold it in 2011, after acquiring a further six more companies. In 1995, he started a commercial property company as an owner and landlord of five office blocks. Those were located in up and coming areas in London, selling out in 2012. As a whisky collector for over 20 years, Simon has acquired over 50 casks and 2000 bottles.

He soon discovered that this ‘hobby’ provided a wonderful business opportunity for trading casks. Simon was intrigued by how rare whisky is surpassing other alternative asset classes, such as art, classic cars and rare wine. And quickly became inspired to more fully understand the whisky market and the risks involved. He brings a wealth of experience to the business. Especially in understanding due diligence and risk management.

Simon, master of whisky appreciation