Interview with Nest Llewelyn
How long have you been working at Penderyn for?
I first started work here four and a half years ago and was one of the first tour guides, starting on the day the Visitor Centre opened!
How did you end up at Penderyn?
I was on my way to an appointment in the village of Penderyn and was there early, so went to the local inn, the Glancynon. Although I didn’t know it at the time, the Glancynon Inn has strong links with Penderyn: it's owned by one of Penderyn’s co-founders, Alun Evans, and the idea of creating a Welsh whisky was first discussed over a drink there. I went to the bar and asked for a Baileys, but Alun introduced himself and suggested I go for a Merlyn instead. While I drank my Merlyn, Alun mentioned that Penderyn was due to open a visitor centre, and would shortly be recruiting. I knew it was the job for me – I told him “I’m your woman, you need me!”
I applied for the position, and after an interview I was offered the job, starting on opening day.
What exactly does your job entail?
Giving guided tours of the distillery to guests. There’s a lot more to it than you might think though: I explain how whisky is made, cover the history of the distillery and of course, help out with tastings!
What’s the best thing about working at Penderyn?
Meeting people from all over the world. I’ve even started learning what I can in other languages too – I’m a Welsh speaker and also spoke a little French before starting, but now I must know a handful of words in at least 30 languages! There are little words that are always hard to explain and “peated” is one of the trickiest, so I took to learning it in every language I could. It makes things much easier!
Is there anything that people should know before visiting?
Always pre-book if you plan on visiting! If you’re visiting during a quiet time you’ll probably be fine, but it’s still worth phoning ahead as occasionally we get big groups showing up at once. Give us a call on 01685 810651 and we’ll make sure we keep space for you.
Who are the most interesting people you’ve met at the VC?
Far too many to mention, but a few spring to mind: I met Prince Charles who was present at the Visitor Centre’s opening, and more recently I met a chap whose grandfather was interned in Frongoch (near Bala, in northern Wales), which, before being used as an internment camp in the early part of the 20th century, used to hold a whisky distillery. The Korean ambassador was here recently too, and his group had booked in advance. I swotted up and learned a few words in South Korean, which surprised everyone else at the distillery!