Our people

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, building their whisky investment portfolios and managing them throughout their lifetime. He has sold in excess of 600 casks.

Leo has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the fine-wine investment market, and 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 and has a love of good food and fine wine.

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 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. As well as being an experienced musician and violin teacher, James 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.

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, and an editor of the Whisky Quarterly magazine, and Drink Me magazine. As well as his regular appearances in print and on television, Colin is also a presenter on Whiskyradio.com and contributes to several podcasts.

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, 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.

LEE TOMLINSON

‘The Trader’

Lee has a decade of experience in the drinks trade, mainly in the whisky industry. He started his career in sales at Jeroboams, then quickly progressed into management and later became an owner-manager in Milroy’s of Soho. Milroy’s is renowned as one of London’s oldest whisky merchants.

Lee was responsible for dealing with whisky 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 Woolfsung Wine & Spirits Merchant. He built a private and trade in-bond cask sale division, which led to the development of the company’s own branded whiskies. Alongside this, he began to develop the business’s importation and subsequent distribution of third party branded whiskies.

SIMON ARON

'The Collector'

An experienced entrepreneurial angel and investor, Simon 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 this 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 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. Intrigued by how rare whisky is surpassing other alternative asset classes such as art, classic cars and rare wine, Simon was 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.