Bombay Sapphire Distillery

Bombay Sapphire Glasshouses

I’ve been quite honoured recently. The brand new Bombay Sapphire distillery, located at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, opened its doors at the start of October, but I, alongside other distinguished publications, had the opportunity to be guided around by the team on site and see the unique set up that Bombay Sapphire have been working on for the last few years.

Many of you have experienced Bombay Sapphire in some shape or form, with myself personally using the brand within my work over the last few years. But to truly appreciate the brand and its history, Laverstoke Mill holds the key, with heritage and modern times combining subtly to create an impressive visitor attraction that can rival some of the best the UK has to offer. The former corn mill that dates back to 903 AD and is marked in the Domesday Book of 1086, has been transformed into an interactive tour that explains the intricate creation of Bombay Sapphire from grain to glass. But the idea and concept is seen as more leisure based as you are encouraged to relax and explore at your own pace.

Bombay Sapphire Dry Botanical Room
Botanical Dry Room

The first idea is to unwind around the River Test which runs straight through the distillery. On a dry day you can enjoy a gin and tonic, Bombay style of course, sat overlooking the natural course of the river and historic buildings that bank it. Indeed, learn how the buildings started within the Heritage Room with many historic images and publications that show how Laverstoke grew over the years. Following this, the impressive Glasshouses (created by Thomas Heatherwick, the gentleman behind the London 2012 Olympic cauldron), one holding the tropical botanicals, the other the Mediterranean that Bombay Sapphire use, is sure to encourage even the novice of botanists to appreciate the beauty of each as you see in full bloom the likes of Grains of Paradise, almonds, angelica and the all important juniper berry.

The Botanical Dry Room dives into each ingredient more closely and involves a mix of sensory experiments and challenges to truly understand why each ingredient was chosen and has stood the test of time. The scale of the production can be summed up within the Dakin Still House (named after founder Thomas Dakin) where you can learn about the unique vapour infusion distillation process that Bombay Sapphire utilise. To finish, you come full circle and experience not only the history of Bombay Sapphire, but gin in general as the Gin Academy shows off a range of glassware, bottling’s and a comprehensive timeline of the important milestones that the brand has contributed to the gin category.

The distillery experience really dives into not only Bombay Sapphire, but gin in general as it looks to de-mystify the category to all levels of drinkers. Its unique glasshouses are a sight to see, and make you truly appreciate the botanicals within the gin, something you easily gloss over at other distilleries.

If you are lucky, you may meet and enjoy a cocktail by Sam Carter, Bombay Sapphire Senior Ambassador. When I visited, two specially created cocktails to celebrate the move from Warrington (their original home), down to Hampshire were offered -

The Laverstoke
The Laverstoke

The Laverstoke

Glass –

Balloon or large wine

Ingredients –

50 ml Bombay Sapphire
15 ml Martini Extra Dry (autumn season), Rosso (winter), Bianco (spring), Rosato (summer)
15 ml Bottlegreen elderflower cordial
100 ml Fever Tree ginger ale

Method – 

Pour the Bombay Sapphire, vermouth and elderflower cordial into a balloon glass. Stir with a bar spoon, then squeeze and drop a fresh lime wedge in. Add cubed ice and stir. Pour ginger ale in and gently stir. Garnish with second squeezed lime, two slithers of fresh ginger slices and a sprig of mint, grouped together on one side of the glass.

as well as,

Sublime Moment
Sublime Moment

Sublime Moment

Glass – 

Tumbler or Martini

Ingredients – 

50 ml Bombay Sapphire
25 ml Fresh Pink Grapefruit juice
15 ml Vanilla seed sugar syrup

Method – 

Squeeze the fresh pink grapefruit juice into a cocktail shaker. Pour in the Bombay Sapphire and vanilla syrup and add cubed ice. Shake hard and fine strain into chilled tumbler or Martini glass. Garnish with grapefruit twist or wedge.

Personally, get yourself down there. Words and photos do not do this venue justice, it’s just quite simply a fantastic idea to really open up not only a brand, but a category in ways that get everyone involved.

For more information on Bombay Sapphire, please see my feature on the brand. For more photos of my trip to the distillery, check out my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Caorunn #Forage2Glass

Rowan Berry - Caorunn

This summer a new phase of looking into the reality of a spirit has taken place. I take part in something called the Great British Food Festival, held all over England over the summer months, and regularly promote artisan spirits to an intrigued public. Something I’ve seen become a growing demand for, depending on the venue, is a local foraging walk, usually through the grounds of a stately home that the festival is based at. Here, you are guided around by a known expert in all things plants, giving a great insight into what exactly all those trees, bushes and shrubs growing all around us can offer.
I’m quite intrigued myself when it comes to how things are created, especially in the drinks world. I can appreciate a lot more when I see first hand the time, effort and ingredients used, but these experiences usually come in the form of a distillery tour. I thought though that it would be fairly hard to de-construct a spirit, for example, as you walk around the grounds and follow winding footpaths through fields.

How wrong I could be.

Heather - Caorunn

But it makes perfect sense. Take any gin. A gin receives its predominant flavourings through botanicals. These botanicals need to be sourced from trees, bushes and shrubs. And where would you find these? Take a look outside your window or walk through a park and you’ll bound to see many with something grown on them, ranging from blackberries to juniper berries.
This kind of thinking became the source of a Saturday for me a few weeks back, as Caorunn gin took advantage of the foraging craze and looked to get gin lovers from all over truly appreciating Caorunn’s qualities. Being a Scotland based gin and priding itself to have not only six traditional botanicals, but also five Celtic botanicals from a boreal forest in the Scottish Highlands, at first glance you would find it hard pressed to come across anything, never mind ingredients such as Rowan Berry, Bog Myrtle and Coul Blush Apple. Turns out you can, and a short drive to Rochdale would turn out to prove everyone wrong in stunning style.

David Winnard, local forager and all round expert in all things botanicals, gave myself and several fellow gin lovers a peek into the world of foraging, with only a short walk down public footpaths through the Pennines where he promised to show all five Celtic botanicals growing in full force. And what a start he had, showing off a large collection of Rowan Berry that gives Caorunn its slightly bitter taste (also, Rowan Berry in Gaelic is Caorunn). A slight mythological feel to this botanical too, as it is said they protect against witchcraft and enchantment due to the pentagram underneath each berry. Further up the path, we came across several apple trees. A slight change in the variety here in Rochdale as the Coul Blush Apple used in Caorunn is unique to northern Scotland, but the one’s found here still gave off a crisp, sweet taste, much like its counterpart.

Dandelion is one you will probably all know of, which gives Caorunn it’s more herbal notes within its flavour profile. David also imparted his trivia by explaining that there are 272 sub-species in the UK alone of dandelion. To me, I just never realised that something so well-known had an incredible number of varieties! A soft, sweet botanical was to be pointed out next; Bog Myrtle. A leaf primarily known to be used for insect repellent gives Caorunn its notes of spice. We were quite lucky to see these in bloom as David explained that this site would be the only place you can find Bog Myrtle in the Greater Manchester area.

Bog Myrtle
Bog Myrtle

Lastly, the fifth Celtic botanical to source on our walk would be Heather. Again, something I’ve seen plenty of, but never really click to think it would be used in such a way, in this case giving Caorunn its perfumed honey notes.

Enjoying the day with a blank canvas to begin with gave an enthusiastic drinker as myself the perfect insight into how common ingredients grown right here in the Pennines can contribute towards a well-known brand as Caorunn. It’s fascinating to see, and realise, what potential each bush, tree and shrub can offer to a liquid. Not only gin either, but the likes of fruit syrups, damson and sloe varieties of vodka and gin, and even jelly or jams. I fully understand why the walks at the Great British Food Festival have been popular, and why Caorunn have hosted many of their foraging walks to bartenders in the past few months. They get the public and trade thinking of the flavours used and how best to match them in their recipes, ultimately promoting a different slant on what could be a rather regular drink or meal.

If you wish to find out more about Caorunn, take a look at my feature on the Scottish gin. For more photos of the #Forage2Glass tour, please see my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Low Alcohol & Infused Wine Trends Break New Ground With Arniston Bay Infusions

Arniston Bay

Full on flavour, light on alcohol, Arniston Bay’s new Infusions is the trend revolutionising the wine aisle this Autumn. Look out for this fresh new taste in your local Tesco store.

Arniston Bay Infusions will define this year’s infused global wine trend. Fed-up with high alcohol, heavy drinks, wine drinkers have been looking for lighter alternatives which are well-made by winemakers, in the traditional way using quality grapes and ingredients but with a lower alcohol content and without compromising on flavour. Made by leading South African wine maker Abraham De Villiers, Infusions uses a natural method to infuse sparkling fermented wine, made from grapes grown in crisp sunny vineyards in the Western Cape, with the natural tastes of peach, mango and passion fruit. The result is a high quality, well made infusion which packs a powerful flavour punch.

The bubbly wine has fresh fruity aromas on the nose, following through to a luscious full middle palate finishing with crisp freshness and zingy mouth feel. Arniston Bay Infusions – peach, mango and passion fruit, is available exclusively in Tesco stores with an RRP of £4.99 and an alcohol volume of only 5.5%. It is a natural product, infused with botanicals and fruit infusions with NO artificial flavours. It has 30% less calories than a comparable glass of wine. Infusions can be drunk on its own with friends or paired perfectly with sushi or canapés. It should be served chilled straight in the glass, over ice or used in a cocktail.

Arniston bay wine maker, Abraham De Villiers, says: “It is every wine makers dream to create something that is really unique. What I love about Infusions is that it is such great fun combined with quality and it will bring wine to a much broader audience and enable people to have a delicious lower alcohol drink without compromising on flavour. We have been overwhelmed by the positive reception that we’ve had from UK consumers and are delighted with this innovation.”

Arniston Bay Infusions is bottled in a premium, aspirational design with an affordable price. It’s a modern, stylish, convenient and a refreshingly different drink. Peach, mango and passion fruit launches exclusively in Tesco stores. Watch out for new flavours joining the Infusions range, coming soon to a convenience store near you, two further flavours – mint, lemongrass and aloe; and graviola and passion fruit.
To celebrate its UK launch Arniston Bay Infusions is giving away a chance to win a fantastic, all expenses paid pamper party pack for you and your friends and hundreds of picnic hampers. Enter via the neck collar of bottles available in Tesco or via Facebook

Irish Distillers Welcomes The Public To The Irish Whiskey Academy

Irish Whiskey Academy

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is opening the doors to its acclaimed Irish Whiskey Academy to the general public for the first time, with in-depth courses available to spirits enthusiasts from December this year.

The Irish Whiskey Academy, which was unveiled to the trade in September 2013, aims to improve understanding about the quality and provenance of Irish whiskey by teaching visitors about all aspects of the production process, the flavour profile of the different styles available and the category’s rich and colourful history.

A range of courses are available depending on the individual’s level of knowledge, with the first ‘Enthusiasts’ course taking place between 1st – 2nd December 2014. Led by David McCabe, Irish Distillers’ International Whiskey Ambassador and first Academy Tutor, participants will have the opportunity to meet some of the distillery team, learn about brewing, fermentation, distillation and blending, watch a live cooperage demonstration and enjoy a tutored whiskey tasting with one of the production Masters. As part of the package, participants will stay in five star accommodation, visit one of the area’s finest restaurants and at the end of the course, they will receive a personalised bottle of Irish whiskey. The two-day course can be booked online at and costs €1,199.

One-day ‘Discoverer’ courses, for those who have minimal knowledge about Irish whiskeys but want to learn more, are available from February 2015 while four-hour afternoon courses are available from November this year. Bookings for all courses can be made online at now.

Courses will be tailored to focus on specific brands within Irish Distillers’ family of whiskeys, which includes Jameson, the world’s favourite Irish whiskey, and the much-acclaimed brands that comprise Irish Distillers’ Prestige Collection, including the Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton such as Green Spot and Redbreast, and the pinnacle of the Prestige Collection, Midleton Very Rare.

The Irish Whiskey Academy is the latest initiative from Irish Distillers as it continues its commitment to sustain growth of the Irish whiskey category worldwide.

David Byrne, Head of Brand Education & Visitor Centres at Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, said: “After years of planning, we’re delighted to finally be welcoming whiskey fans from around the world to the Irish Whiskey Academy in Midleton, the home of Irish Distillers. As the first of its kind, the Academy heralds a new era of knowledge and understanding of Irish whiskey and we look forward to welcoming people to Midleton and helping them to discover the heritage and unique flavour profile that Irish whiskeys have to offer.”

Simon Fay, International Marketing Director at Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard since July 2014, added: “The opening of the Irish Whiskey Academy represents a proud moment for the Irish Whiskey category, and for Irish Distillers and Pernod Ricard in particular. The company has been largely responsible for the resurgence and dynamic global growth of the Irish whiskey category in the last two decades and we’re fully committed to continuing this growth. The opening of the Irish Whiskey Academy is a clear demonstration of both our confidence in the future of Irish whiskey and our commitment to driving sustainable category growth through investment and innovation, and we’re hopeful that it will prove to be popular with spirits fans and trade professionals alike the world over.”

Chivas Regal Shows Support For Social Entrepreneurs Who Win The Right Way

Chivas Regal, the world’s first luxury whisky, has launched The Venture – a global search for the most promising social entrepreneurs: those with businesses or ideas that use enterprise and innovation as a force for good.

‘The Venture’ is an international fund which provides aspiring social entrepreneurs with $1 million of financial assistance, global exposure for their company or idea and support from world-famous business mentors. Chivas Regal will support those who aim to succeed whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others by providing mentorship and financial backing.

Up to 20 new social entrepreneurs from different countries will be invited to a week-long, training-camp in Silicon Valley, California – home to some of the world’s leading start-ups. These finalists will have the opportunity to meet leading technology companies, be mentored by experts, and to pitch for a portion of the $1 million in funding to take their business to the next level.

The most exciting businesses with the potential to succeed ‘the right way’ will be showcased on a new dedicated website, From April 2015, the public will be able to support their favourite ideas by voting and donating through the website. The site will also feature short documentaries about social entrepreneurs from around the world, providing insights into their success as well as daily articles with advice and features about the business of ‘doing good’.

The launch of The Venture coincides with the release of one of the most comprehensive independent reports ever conducted on the growing relevance of social entrepreneurship around the world. Commissioned by Chivas Regal, the report is entitled Redefining Success in a Changing World and has been co-authored by experts from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

Richard Black, Chivas Regal Global Brand Director, says: “We have always valued entrepreneurship, and generosity is at the heart of Chivas, so supporting those who use their success to create value for others feels like a natural fit. We are committing significant resources through The Venture to find and support the most inspiring social entrepreneurs around the world, and hope that each of those businesses will inspire other entrepreneurs to use business as a force for good, creating a growing movement with real momentum behind it.”
Helping to launch The Venture is the next instalment of the successful Live with Chivalry campaign – Win the Right Way – a series of advertisements and short films that deliver a powerful provocation for social entrepreneurs around the world. Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (of 12 Years a Slave fame); Golden Globe nominated actor and singer Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Winner of Best Actor Silver Bear at Berlin International Film Festival 2014 Liao Fan star as the story-tellers in the different language version of the film, introducing the stories of social entrepreneurs from around the world and calling on others to follow their lead.

The promotional short films can be viewed from today at, with further information about the competition plus interviews with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liao Fan and inspiring business leaders all featured on the website.

Win the Right Way aims to inspire a new generation to achieve success whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others and is the latest instalment of Chivas Regal’s successful Live with Chivalry campaign, which launched in 2008.

THAT’S A WRAP! The IWSC Announce Trophy Results

Francis Ford Coppola

Award-winning film director, Francis Ford Coppola wins prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) Trophy for his wine.

It is not only the Hollywood A-lists in front of the screen such as Brangelina that are producing quality wine. Renowned American film director, producer and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola best known for films including The Godfather Trilogy and Apocalypse Now, has produced a star IWSC Trophy winning wine from California, Sonoma County.

The Mission Hill Winery Trophy for Chardonnay was awarded to producer Francis Ford Coppola Presents for its wine Director’s Cut Chardonnay 2012. Judges said that the wine had ‘subtle creamy aromas with touches of white peach and walnut with a lingering mineral back note.’

The IWSC now in its 45th year promotes the quality and excellence of the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs. It has been quoted as the ‘Oscars’ of the drinks trade and all wines entered from around the world, endure a rigorous blind tasting and are judged by some of the world’s leading drinks experts. Medals featured on winning bottles assure consumers that they are purchasing a quality product

IWSC General Manager Ewan Lacey said, ‘This is a great win for the Francis Ford Coppola Winery and demonstrates that creativity is not limited to a sector, it can be transferred intro producing a top award-winning wine.’

Another highlight from the results was The IWSC Trophy for Port awarded to Graham’s Single Harvest Tawny Port 1969. The winner was produced in the same year that the IWSC was started, judges said that ‘the intensity lasts from the first taste and cruises effortlessly to almost a never ending finish.’

For the full list of IWSC Trophy winners, go to

Next Stop Paris For UK Monin Cup Champion

Joe Wild - Monin

Joe Wild from Jenny’s in Liverpool is heading for Paris to compete against mixologists from around the world, following a resounding victory at the UK Monin Cup Final.

Joe impressed the judges with his cocktail, All for One & One For All, featuring Monin’s new Lemongrass syrup, Monin Caribbean syrup, Monin Rose syrup and Monin Spicy Mango syrup, vodka, lemon juice, Prosecco and egg white. He will now go on to represent the UK in the International Monin Cup Final in Paris on December 1.

The UK Final took place on the Tuesday of London Cocktail Week at the Monin Studio in Hoxton Square . Eight young bartenders from across the country shook, muddled and stirred their way through the competition in which Joe Macbeth from Lacehouse in Nottingham took second place and third place went to Jake Mellish from Boilermaker in Nottingham , who also impressed the judges with his brand research.

Each finalist presented their take on the theme “If the UK were a cocktail” to a panel of judges including UK Monin Cup 2012 winner William Humphery, The Cocktail Lovers’ Gary Sharpen and Monin Brand Manager, Darril Ling . The drinks were judged on taste, balance, originality and visual presentation, with points also awarded for performance and interaction with the judges. The only stipulation was that each cocktail must contain at least 20ml of product from Monin’s extensive range of more than 140 syrups, fruit purees and liqueurs.

Competitors were then quizzed on their Monin product knowledge and put through their paces with a taste test, requiring them to blind taste ten Monin different syrups and correctly guess each flavour.

As well as the honour of representing his country at the International Monin Cup Final in Paris on December 1, Joe also wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Monin’s headquarters in Bourges , France .

James Coston, Monin UK brand ambassador, who compèred the event, said: “The competition produced some fantastic drinks, all of which showed flair, innovation and an exceptionally high level of skill. It’s been really encouraging to see just how much young bartending talent we have here in the UK , and we’re delighted with the judges’ decision. I can’t wait to see Joe take on the world at the International Monin Cup Final in December.”

Darril Ling , Monin Brand Manager, said: “The sheer variety of cocktails produced at the UK Monin Cup Final was really impressive. As well as showcasing our best and brightest mixologists, this competition is also about demonstrating the versatility of the Monin product range – and Joe’s cocktail is a perfect example of this.”

All For One And One For AllAll For One & One For All

5ml Monin Caribbean syrup
5ml Monin Lemongrass syrup
5ml Monin Rose syrup
5ml Monin Spicy Mango syrup
15ml egg white
25ml lemon juice
50ml vodka
Prosecco to finish

Shake ingredients and serve straight up in a coupette topped with Prosecco and garnished with a rose bud.

Ian Burrell And The RumFest Break Guinness World Record For The Largest Rum Tasting

RumFest 2014On Thursday 9th October rum fans joined Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell to take part in a very special tasting at London’s ILEC, ahead of the eighth annual The RumFest. 353 people smashed the record for the ‘World’s Largest Rum Tasting Event’, which was officially confirmed by an attending GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ adjudicator. Guided on a voyage of rum discovery, record breakers sampled some of the finest rums from around the world presented by esteemed figures from each distillery. Guests included Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Pitt and boxer David Haye.

At 8pm a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title was awarded to Ian Burrell for ‘The World’s Largest Rum Tasting Event’. A total of 353 attendees were given a comprehensive and unrivalled masterclass with six esteemed rums with leading rum names, followed by a Q&A.

Representing South America, Diplomatico was sipped and savoured with commentary from it’s International Marketing Manager, Xavier Herrera, whilst whilst Puerto Rico’s number one premium rum from the Serralles distillery, Don Q, was sampled with Chief Operations Officer, John Eason. The delights of Cuban’s classic Havana Club were highlighted by its Master Blender Asbel Morales Lorenzo and for a historical twist Pusser’s Rum, who’s recipe was drunk by the Royal Navy up until 1971, was presented by Head of Rum Procurement George Freegard. Angostura brought a taste of Trinidad to the evening hosted by Master Distiller John Georges and Appleton’s Rum provided the finale with a taste of Jamaica and its revered Master Blender, Joy Spence.

Speaking of the achievement, Global Rum Ambassador, The RumFest founder and host Ian Burrell said: “Rum is about history and that’s we all achieved today. It was a true honour to be joined by such esteemed representatives of the category and to enjoy such a special evening with so many rum lovers”

Diplomatico – International Marketing Manager, Xavier Herrera (Venezuela)
Don Q – Chief Operations Officer, John Eason (Puerto Rico)
Havana Club – Master Blender Asbel Morales Lorenzo (Cuba)
Pusser’s Rum – Head of Rum Procurement, George Freegard (Navy-style)
Angostura – Master Distiller John Georges (Trinidad)
Appleton’s Rum – Master Blender, Joy Spence (Jamaica)

Hosted by Global Rum Ambassador and The RumFest founder Ian Burrell

Greenall’s Sloe And Greenall’s Wild Berry Gins Launched

Greenall’s Sloe Gin Hot Toddy

Greenall’s Sloe Gin

Rich and fruity, with gentle juniper and spicy flavours, this smooth sloe gin is the perfect blend of balanced botanicals.
Best served with tonic as a Winter G&T, topped with sparkling wine, neat from a hip flask or in a hot toddy.
Price £16.00, available at Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores throughout the UK from October.

Greenall’s Sloe Gin Hot Toddy

50ml Greenall’s Sloe Gin
25ml Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin
10-15ml Monin Vanilla Sugar syrup to taste
100ml Pomegranate Juice

Combine all the ingredients. Warm gently and serve in a toddy glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Greenall’s Wild About You

Greenall’s Wild Berry Gin

Luscious & juicy berry notes balanced with juniper and warming spice. The smooth mouthfeel lasts, leading to peppery after tones.
Price £15.50, available at Morrison’s and Tesco throughout the UK from October.

Greenall’s Wild About You

50ml Greenall’s Wild Berry Gin 25ml Lemon Juice
15ml Monin Vanilla Syrup
3 Raspberries & 3 blackberries

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice, strain into a tumbler with fresh ice
Garnish: Raspberry, blackberry, lemon twist.

Leading African DJ Black Coffee Inspires With A Unique Musical Experiment For Ballantine’s

Ballantine's Presents Black  Coffee's Human Orchestra - Profile

Ballantine’s, the world’s No 2 Scotch whisky, has launched an inspiring short film, ‘Black Coffee’s Human Orchestra’, created in collaboration with world-renowned African DJ and Producer, Black Coffee. The film is the latest in a series presented by Ballantine’s, each of which has been shot around the world and features unique individuals who represent Ballantine’s global mantra, ‘Stay True, Leave an Impression’. Each film in the series, which can be seen at, captures these individuals as they bring their own story to life, performing innovative, creative and artistic experiments centred around their passions, philosophies and talent.

The latest film, shot in and around Johannesburg (Soweto and Maboneng), illustrates Back Coffee’s passion, creativity and ‘Stay True’ spirit of continuous experimentation with music. The film opens with Black Coffee’s own back-story and beliefs around life, music and creation, before we see him assemble a group of vocalists from across Africa. The climax of the film is an experiment which defines Black Coffee’s ambition as an artist; an impressive feat to deconstruct one of his most famous electronic music productions, ‘Rock My World’, recreating it using only the vocal abilities of his 40 strong choir.

About Black Coffee

Hailing from Durban but now based in the creatively buzzing metropolis of Johannesburg, Black Coffee has been creatively involved in music since the age of two. From then, he has followed a path of musical experimentation via bands, jazz, music school (where a passion for production led him to copy his teacher’s studio key so he could experiment after hours) and latterly, as a club-filling DJ known for his modern and international take on the booming ‘Afropolitan’ house movement.

He is known for his passion in bringing people together and uniting them through music, participating in numerous projects and launching his own Foundation in support of social cohesion, raising funds through challenging himself with initiatives that include a marathon 60-hour DJ set. This philosophical belief developed during South Africa’s transition from the Apartheid regime; a period during which music had a united thread that helped to, and continues to, bring people together.

It is this sense of conviction to music and desire to innovate that truly define Black Coffee as the perfect representation of Ballantine’s mantra of ‘Stay True’.

About Stay True Stories and

Ballantine’s is engaged in a global journey to produce a series of films which feature personalities who serve as an embodiment of ‘Stay True, Leave an Impression’. ‘Black Coffee’s Human Orchestra’ follows on from films including ‘Kilian Martin’s Carmen’, featuring world leading freestyle skateboarder Kilian Martin and his unique take on Bizet’s Spanish set opera Carmen, ‘Ben Mead’s Art of Drumming’, which shows the London-based star of Ballantine’s global ‘Stay True’ TV campaign performing an exceptional experiment to visualise sound, and ‘The Whale Song’, featuring Chilean bassist, Juan Manuel Aguirre, as he takes to the sea in a rare experiment to capture the union of music and nature. Further films are currently in production across four continents and will be released throughout 2014 and 15.

These films can be found at, an online hub which also launches today, collating the richest and most captivating stories from across the web, chosen as a result of their ability to inspire us to Stay True to our own courage and conviction.

Black Coffee commented: “Musical experimentation and its power to bring people together is why I do what I do. When Ballantine’s asked me what my dream experiment would be, I wanted to set us the challenge to do something unique. To see the group of vocalists we put together from throughout Africa with each playing their own part, producing the final recreation of ‘Rock My World’ was an amazingly satisfying moment.”

Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, commented: “Black Coffee is a true representation of what we mean by Stay True; someone who does what they do because they have to, because it’s inside them. We hope that both this film and others online at, will inspire those watching to drive themselves forward in their own way, just as Black Coffee does himself.”

Freelance Bar Advisor/Consultant, Events Organisation/Collaboration & Reviewer, Taster & Guide to the World of Drinks

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