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The Women of Whisky

Juana Whisky Trish Juico and Karrie Paillard

Meet the ladies behind Malt Manila. It is so intriguing to know that two ladies, Trisha Juico and Karrie Paillard, are behind Manila’s annual whisky festival. We get a little up close and personal with these two amazing and dynamic women.



  1. Tell us a little something about yourselves.


T: I married Joseph after 6 years of dating. He made me laugh A LOT. I knew he was the one.


We have one daughter, Lily Marguerite. Boy, did she turn our world upside down. This phrase best describes her: “sunshine mixed with a little hurricane”. She’s a 5 year old who acts like she’s 30.


She’s had school, ballet, kumon, voice, etc since she was 2 and now she is the one “adulting” reminding me that it is club day or flag ceremony day tomorrow. Gone are the days of dawdling and delaying. She is now embarrassed by my extra-long goodbye kisses in front of her classmates. She loves to sing, and belts out Les Mis’ “Castle on a Cloud” while doing her Kumon or playing with her toys. She twirls, dances and shimmies every chance she gets and because of this, I absolutely love being her Mom. I’m the lucky one here, really.


K: I moved to Hong Kong 12 years ago to work for Hong Kong Tattler, just wanting a new adventure. Little did I know that I would end up living there permanently and now I’m proud to say I have a Hong Kong born daughter and a business based there.


Since I am a working mom, the challenge is always balancing work and spending quality time with my daughter, Alexandra. As much as possible, I try and take some time off to join her field trips, watch her school play, and spend my weekends with her to make up for those nights I am not able to tuck her into bed.




  1. What is life beyond the family?


T: I was a former fashion editor and Creative Director of popular fashion magazines and for awhile, I explored brand management and handled Guerlain and YSL Beautè.


Currently, I’m trying my hand at PR and Events, helping out a friend and colleague from abroad who is setting up shop in Manila. We started with Malt Manila, a curated whisky festival in Manila House, which was a passion project that began with the simple idea of whisky education in Manila. It was mainly for ourselves, then a lot of friends showed interest. So now we are slowly building a community of whisky aficionados.


K: I travel to Manila often since I started doing PR and Events there. Being in this business, I’m expected to attend parties left and right and network to meet new clients. I have a lot of alcohol brands as clients (apart from luxury brands and private banks) so I’ve been exposed to different types of alcohol including whisky.


We organized a whisky festival in Hong Kong before and when Trish and I were brainstorming as to what events would do well in Manila, we decided to create our own curated whisky festival called Malt Manila and it’s been an interesting journey since then.




  1. How did you discover your passion for whisky?


T: I was never really fond of whisky. I prefer wine or gin or water. I joined a class on wine pairing, about entertaining with wine and after learning the basics of wine, I moved on to whisky. At that time, everyone who came from Japan started hoarding bottles and joining whisky tours.


This sparked an interest for whisky. I wanted to learn the difference between single malt and blended, how to understand the label, to what kind of whisky glasses to get for my husband and eventually how to pair whisky and what to collect. I just wanted to know what the fuss was all about!


K: I’ve always liked whisky but was mostly drinking scotch before. After Malt Manila and having attended several tastings and Masterclasses, I’m liking single malt more and I like exploring different brands.




  1. How do you make the drink appealing to women?


T: Whisky is not a drink of choice for women in particular. It’s traditionally deemed as a man’s drink. We attended a local whisky tasting event and we were the only women in the group. Whisky has a more niche appeal and until recently, not a lot of people dared mix it.


At one of our events, we had renowned mixologist Enzo Lim of Maharlika NY over to make whisky cocktails. We were really speaking to women and those who don’t drink it straight up, to teach them how to make whisky fun and as an optional drink to serve for entertaining at home.


I like my whisky neat depending on the brand or as a highball. But recently because I’m learning, I’m enjoying it more as a cocktail.


What I like about whisky is its boldness and that it should be (slowly) sipped and not gulped. Not consumed excessively either. Responsible drinking is a must.


K: Most men prefer to drink whisky neat or on the rocks while women have the tendency to go for something sweeter. So at our Malt Manila events we serve whisky sours and highballs that our female guests loved. We invite mixologists like Enzo Lim of Maharlika and Lee Watson of Mandalay, to concoct amazing whisky cocktails and they are always a hit for women!


Personally, I prefer drinks that are not too sweet so I tend to go for negronis or old fashioned cocktails. It’s fun to let your hair down once in a while especially after a stressful week. However, it’s good to be mindful of how much you can actually handle.




  1. As mothers, any fears?


T: I hope my daughter never drinks, wishful thinking. But really, just that later on – should she enjoy it – with us, in our company when she becomes of age. And be responsible about it too.


K: Like any mom, I always want the best for my daughter. However, I try not to worry so much and be overprotective of her. Instead, I give her confidence and she feels more empowered.






  1. Best thing about your jobs?


T: The flexibility, that I have time to be Mom – to prepare her lunch and snacks, to bring my daughter to and from school and her activities (and to have time to workout).


Most interesting part of my job is meeting new people from the different industries. I was in publishing for so long that it became second nature. I feel like I needed a breather and a change of scenery.


K: I enjoy what I do so I don’t feel it’s a job. There’s a lot of stress and pressure but I feel accomplished at the end of the day especially when my clients are happy and when guests say they really enjoyed at our event.




  1. Best thing about being a mom?


T: Absolutely everything, the hand holding, the hugs and kisses and giggles most especially. And just hearing “Mama” even if I hear it 100x a day!


K: My daughter is the sweetest. She writes me poems, gives me hugs all the time and texts me cute messages. She is the best thing that happened to me!


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