Femke Tijtsma Sijtsma

Interview with the fabulous Girl Whisky (@Girl_Whisky), Mother, Blogger, Blind Taster and Whisky Expert

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No problem, the pleasure is all mine.

There is not much to tell really. I’m a 34 year old, with a creative brain they say. I’ve got a horizon full of interests. Whisky is one of them, next to photography, art, culture etcetera. I got married in April 2012 on Friday the 13th with the man I’ve been with since I was 19. Together we’ve got two kids. One girl that just hits puberty and will be 13 soon and then there is our 9 yr old son, who can’t live with or without his big sister or without his gymnastics.

Next being busy with whisky, I’m part responsible for the Account and community and helping my husband with his business www.itinko.nl. He’s a web developer and working at home. Perfect for our situation. My son goes to school in Heerenveen 50km from home. I bring him to school every day with the car and spending the day in a Theatre and the library in Heerenveen. He trains nearly 20 hours a week in the gymnastics centre near his school. And in the evening I take him home again. Long days but it’s just great it’s all possible.

Do you remember the first ever dram you tried?

Yes I do, but I just can’t remember what name that whisky carried. I know it was a Scottish one. One evening, I ended up at a friend’s house and he surprised me with some whisky. We enjoyed it with a lot of stories and laughter. What a great evening that was. We found each other again. But I have to confess, I never asked him about the whisky, something inside me just doesn’t want to know the name of the whisky that triggered me. It will be always a mystery for me and I don’t mind.

Your blog has a list of every whisky you have tried, which I really like, what would be your top three and why?

Not all of them, I’ve got lots of papers with tasting notes, that haven’t been published yet. Something to look forward to in 2014. It wasn’t hard to pick the top three for now. It changes the more whisky I nose and taste. And looking at what reviews I still have that are not published. So I spotted a top three from the list that is currently available for reading on my website.

  1. Redbreast 12yr
  2. Amrut Fusion
  3. CU Bočan

What made you decide to take the leap from whisky enthusiast to blogger?  How difficult/easy have you found it?

When I had my first dram, I was 18. When I was drinking whisky, it was always a cheap one, or one on sale without looking at content. In 2012 I decided to do something I like, and something I wanted to know more about. I love writing and whisky, that’s how it started. It wasn’t that hard to start, It was hard to come up with a name and making myself known on the web. Since then I love Social Media as well as the writing and whisky. And one day www.whiskygirl.nl was born!

You run your blog very much like a business, this is really interesting, you have a wealth of options from blind tastings to sample selling, what made you decide to run it that way, rather than just a blog?

It just grew on me. I’ve got a lot of ideas in my head, but it needs time.  I just love blind tastings. It’s one big adventure for everyone who’s joining. I’ve seen a lot of twitter tastings in 2013 from distilleries. Sometimes I make a joke, that I was one of the whisky enthusiasts who has made Twitter Tastings trending.

I sell samples only if I have enough. When someone is interested in one or more whisky samples, they may bid what they think its worth.

I’ve got some great ideas for 2014 with www.whiskygirl.nl … Ssht. (I promise not to tell….honest)

Do you host or attend any “physical” clubs? 

I’ve organised two tastings in an Irish Pub and one of the tastings was a Bachelor party. That was a lot of fun. I designed a Whisky Quiz for the beginner, average and the “I know everything about whisky” and everyone enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun!

I live up north of this little country, and the most whisky events are organised more south, that’s the reason I’ve been organising tastings here. Planning to do more in 2014.

Have you attended any whisky festivals?

Yes, I’ve been to some festivals here in The Netherlands, in Groningen, Leeuwarden, Leiden and Den Haag. Last May I also attended the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival in Scotland.

That was a huge experience, traveling alone to Scotland and meeting people I’ve only met online. It was just fantastic, the people there are so kind.

Do you get the opportunity to travel much for whisky?

In May 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Scotland. That was amazing! Hope to travel more in the future.

Who’s your whisky “idol” and why?

That’s a hard question. I don’t have a whisky Idol really. In the time I run http://www.whiskygirl.nl I’ve met a lot of interesting people. The whisky world is open, relaxed and makes you feel right at home. I can’t say I have an idol, just love everyone 🙂

What is your favourite whisky memory/achievement?

Three favourite whisky achievements:

First: That I was asked to come to the Spirit of Speyside Festival to write about the events during the festival.

Second: Whisky Etc Magazine asked me to write for them. First writing columns and now writing about whisky events.

Third: I had the opportunity to go to the Whisky School of The Glenlivet (@TheGlenlivet).  That was amazing and I’ve met sweet people who made it like home!  You can read all about it on my blog. (It’s a great read and sounds like an amazing experience, very jealous).

What does 2014 hold for both you and your blog?

Keeping that a secret, one tip: follow Whisky Girl on twitter! (@Girl_Whisky)

If you could own any bottle in the world, which would you pick and why?

I haven’t met the whisky I would pick right now .. My whisky journey is one big adventure. I hope I never own the bottle in the world I treasure … that will be the end of my adventure. (This is a great answer, we feel the same).

Just for fun……

Favourite band?

Oh dear, at the moment I just love to listen to Stromae with his song Formidable. Then there is Macklemore, love his accent. The music I listen to changes a lot, and it depends on my mood really, mostly, the songs I’m listening to are deep with a message. Can’t be at a place for a whole day without some music.

Favourite sandwich?

I pick the Salmon and cream cheese sandwich with a layer of goat’s cheese and honey.

What’s your worst habit?

Ha ha, I don’t know if I want to share my worst habit. Thinking about too many things at once. Oh and another bad habit, I’m not easily satisfied 😉

If I came to dinner, what would you make me?

I’m not a great cook, we probably go to the supermarket together, the grocery store, and make something magnificent that we both like and it’s more fun! (I might just hold you to this).

Tell me something that nobody else knows, or that would surprise a lot of people?

Oef that’s a hard one! I’m a big fan of Dr Who and Sherlock! Can’t wait to see the next doctor at work and see Sherlock alive again.

That concludes our interview, a great interview with a funny, intelligent, articulate, inspirational whisky woman, a pleasure to interview.

Kirsty Clarke (@kirstypryde1)

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