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Carolyn Sellar Credit Danny Ngan (2).jpg
Image of Carolyn Sellar by Danny Ngan

Seattle whisky connoisseur celebrates her AAPI heritage

Carolyn Sellar wears many fascinating hats. As one of the few Asian American whisky judges in the country, Sellar is proud to celebrate her ancestry this AANHPI Heritage Month.

While the spirit industry remains male-dominated, Sellar is a vocal supporter of bringing more women into the fascinating world of whisky. She is the COO of Women Who Whisky Seattle. She also founded the Seattle Whisky Society and is the Whisky Sommelier of Seattle Whisky Club.

She is the head judge for Seattle World Whisky Day, which held competitions at the Fairmont on May 1 and a day of tastings in Redmond on May 14. This connoisseur declared winners in several whisky categories that day, including Best in Show.

And that's not all.

Sellar created Adventures in Whisky to "make whisky more approachable to everyone by making connections between adventurer and spirit." She teaches Master Classes and creates experiences from intimate events to large-scale productions with catering.

Oh, and did we mention her day job?

After moving from Hawaii to Seattle and studying Primatology at the University of Washington, Sellar became a full-time zookeeper. She recently recognized her 20-year milestone at Woodland Park Zoo, where she works primarily with apes and big cats. She is also a passionate advocate for environmental conservation.

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Sellar explains how her heritage is an important part of her story, "I'm proud of my mixed Asian heritage, and when I grew up in Hawaii, I was known as a "Hapa". Moving to Seattle and going to UW (all hail the Class of 2002!), had me quickly falling in love with the city, and now I call Seattle home. I am always excited to celebrate my unique heritage and connect everyone to where I came from and the beauty of Hawaii and all the diversity of Asia."

While Sellar effortlessly balances her fascinating passions, she's also feverishly studying for a major opportunity in Scotland later this year, where she is on track to become the first Asian woman to achieve the title of Master of Scotch Whisky with the Council of Whiskey Masters. The examinations span several days and will take place in the Highlands of Scotland in September.

Stay tuned for our follow-up feature on Sellar's sojourn to Scotland, her celebrity dogs and life lessons from roller derby. Learn more about Carolyn here.