TRIBUTES are this week being paid to a female master blender in the Wee County as she prepares to retire following a trailblazing career.

Caroline Martin, one of Diageo's longest-serving whisky master blenders, is set to retire from the company's Menstrie technical centre after a distinguished 35-year career in the industry.

Based at Diageo's Global Technical Centre in Menstrie and a Clacks resident until very recently, she has worked on brands such as Johnnie Walker, J&B, Bell's and Old Parr.

Caroline, who began her whisky journey in 1986 and is renowned for her sensory analysis skills, said: "The past 35 years have been an incredible journey and I am thankful to everybody at Diageo who have made it so memorable.

"The scotch whisky industry has changed considerably over the decades and its fantastic to see the sector continue to go from strength to strength."

One of her most significant projects for Caroline, who also built a reputation for mentoring talent in the industry, was the launch of Roe & Co blended Irish whiskey in 2017.

Meticulously sampling the inventory, she created exactly 106 prototype blends and collaborated closely with industry experts as well as world class bartenders to ensure the product would work in the real world.

Her master blender role for Roe & Co will be taken over by George Harper, who created White Walker by Johnnie Walker.

Caroline added: "I wish George all the best as he takes over the role of master blender at Roe & Co.

"I am looking forward to the next chapter, settling into my new home in Dundee and spending time with family and friends."

Not only has Caroline contributed her extraordinary skills to some of the most iconic brands in the world, she has also built a reputation for mentoring talent.

Her contribution has been widely recognised and she holds the coveted title of Keeper of The Quaich.

When it comes to Irish whiskey, she was named Blender of The Year for Roe & Co by The Spirit Business magazine in 2019.

Caroline was also the first female master blender to be a judge at the International Spirits Challenge in Edinburgh while she has also been invited to sit on the panel at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in Surrey

Rhona Ferrans, Diageo whisky specialist team manager, paid tribute to Caroline for her remarkable impact on Diageo and the industry more widely.

She added: "Her knowledge, experience, integrity and pursuit of excellence are amongst her incredible assets and she has made an enormous contribution to the development of Diageo brands over the years.

"Caroline's legacy will carry on in all the brands she has worked on, and if you happen to visit the Roe & Co Distillery and visitor experience in Dublin's buzzing Liberties district you will find Room 106, a tasting room that pays homage to Caroline and the number of blends it took to perfect the Roe & Co whiskey."