IT’S not normally the kind of thing you put on your CV, but having a finely tuned sense of smell has come in very handy for Kirsteen Campbell.

The 39-year-old from Glasgow’s west end is one of the whisky industry’s few female Master Blenders, and it was her nose which helped land her the job.

“It’s not the kind of thing you really know about yourself,” she grins.

“It’s not like you get your nose tested in the same way you get your eyes tested.”

She adds: I was working in a lab, monitoring the quality of new make whisky, vodka, gin and rum when my acute sense of smell was ‘discovered’ and I became part of the nosing team, trained to be able to recognise tiny differences in the spirits coming through the lab.”

Kirsteen appears in the new three-part BBC Scotland series Scotch: The Story of Whisky, in which presenter David Hayman delves into the mystery, myth and money behind the dram.

“We had a great time during filming – David wanted to know all about blending and nosing and he spent some time with us in the samples room,” she explains.

“It’s not the kind of thing I normally have to do in the course of my job, be part of a TV programme, so it was fun.

“I didn’t know much about whisky at all when I was growing up – my dad drank it certainly, and growing up in Thurso, Hogmanay celebrations always involved whisky in some way.”

The programme looks at why to some, whisky is a romantic, misty-eyed drink, steeped in the heritage and history of Scotland; but to many, it is also a hard-nosed multi-billion-pound international industry.

Whisky-loving presenter David Hayman says: “I went on a pilgrimage to find out why such a simple drink has come to mean so much.

“From the makers to the marketeers and the chemists to the cocktail makers, and from the Highlands to Hobart in Tasmania, I found that Scotch is Scotland’s gift to the world.”

Kirsteen joined the industry 15 years ago, after graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University where she studied Nutrition and Food Science.

She has also worked for the Scotch Whisky Research Institute (SWRI) in Edinburgh, where she researched different distilling techniques that would enable whisky makers to produce new flavours and in 2007, she joined The Edrington Group as a Whisky Quality Technologist.

She quickly rose through the ranks to the role of Master Blender for Cutty Sark, at the age of just 33, and last year, she became Master Blender for The Famous Grouse, taking over from Gordon Motion.

Forty-three million bottles of The Famous Grouse are produced each year, and it is exported to more than 100 countries.

It also holds the prestigious title of being the best-selling Blended Scotch in Scotland and the UK.

Kirsteen’s role as Master Blender now involves managing the legendary ‘106 Sample Room’ at Edrington’s Blending Headquarters on Great Western Road.

Here, an estimated 11,000 varieties of single malts, grains and blends are stored - a working ‘library’ for Edrington’s team of nosers that Kirsteen now leads.

The team can nose up to 600 single malts a day.

“Many people don’t realise the number of steps involved in blending a whisky, it’s all a finely tuned balancing act,” she says.

“I love my job – the whisky industry is close-knit, everyone is generally friendly and supportive. And I love the variety.”

Kirsteen is also one of the few people entrusted with the recipe for the Famous Grouse.

“There are only a few people within the company who have access to the recipe – any ‘tweaks’ to this are my responsibility, in terms of ensuring the flavour remains exactly the same,” she says.

“It is a responsibility that l feel very privileged to hold, as the blends have been looked after by some great Master Blenders in the past (John Ramsay and Gordon Motion to name the last two).”

She has even ‘invented’ new whiskies too, including the Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition.

“I do get to help name them too,” she smiles.

“That’s really fun. I work closely with the marketing team on the name and how it’s packaged, so it’s really exciting to see something grow from concept to finished product.”

The perception that whisky is an old man’s drink has changed, agrees Kirsteen, with brands finding new ways, such as cocktails, to appeal to drinkers - and so has the notion that jobs in the industry are only for men.

“There aren’t too many female masterblenders still, but there are definitely more women in the mix across the industry,” she says.

“Like whisky itself, the whole profession has undergone a bit of an image change,

“People are always finding new ways to enjoy whisky, and that’s a good thing.”

Scotch: The Story of Whisky is on BBC Two Scotland on Tuesday nights, 9pm.