Tobias ‘ Toby’ Gorn – International Wine and Spirit Consultant, Judge and Writer – Co-Founder & Senior Partner of International Drinks Specialists
I started my drinks industry career in 2003 and have stayed in the wine and spirit industry ever since. Throughout my wine and spirit studies and since the early years, I always loved whiskies, gin and the weird and wonderful world of liqueurs, bitters, aperitifs and fruit spirits. Recently, I have also passed my Shochu Advisor exam.
As a Scotch Malt Whisky Society veteran and ex-head sommelier for Michelin star awarded establishments, I have gained a good understanding of unique premium drinks via my service and purchasing roles and judging work. With progressing to group buyer level, I had the luck and privilege not just to understand the drinks but to have a broader knowledge of their commercial value.
Over the last 19 years, I have dedicated my main attention to fine wine, whisky, gin and premium cigars and fulfilled different luxury retail, purchasing and related events management roles in London and always made sure I have enough time to expand my drinks competition judging potential.
I love judging for most of the main wine and spirits competitions and am a panel chair judge at many of them Worldwide. After a recent visit to a distillery where they had all their awards and medals displayed on the wall, with a fellow judge and friend we have realised that we are probably the busiest spirits judges on the international scene right now with regular visits to four if not all five spirit producing continents and many countries. It is likely that I am the busiest drinks judge globally right now.
We have started the International Drinks Specialists, a collective of top drinks specialist judges in order to help producers and brand owners with feedback, and advise on quality and help to build a competition entry strategy.
I am honoured to be on the Advisory Board of the Council of Whisky Masters in order to help developing their study system and I’m also working on a handful of whisky, gin and other drinks related articles and features parallel. Writing is a great way to entertain and educate people at the same time and I am incredibly lucky to have some regular drinks columns in market leading publications.
I am also an enthusiastic clay pigeon shooter, official shooting instructor, practicing coach and referee and award-winning drinks and cigar writer and consultant based in the UK.