Final Five Named In The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Campaign

MaiTai
Spirits innovator Emporia Brands and award-winning Chairman’s Reserve rum of St Lucia Distillers, are proud to announce the final five venues who will be participating in the UK final of the current Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai campaign.

The evening, to be held at The Magic Roundabout, one of the cities iconic pop-up sites in London, will feature five venues from across the UK who have been tasked during July and August to promote their twist on the classic Mai Tai cocktail using two expressions of Chairman’s Reserve. Once gaining a spot in the final, the winning venue are rewarded with a training visit for two to St Lucia as part of the prestige Chairman’s XI programme.

Earning their way to the final on Tuesday 26th September will be last year’s winners Alvino’s of Newcastle upon Tyne, Colonel Porter’s, also of Newcastle upon Tyne, Milk from, Ten Mill Lane from Cardiff and our wild card entry of Panda & Sons from Edinburgh.
The respective bars will now be invited down to Magic Roundabout next Tuesday to re-create their Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai cocktail to the public at the biggest Mai Tai party of the year!

With a secret panel of judges on hand to test out each cocktail too, the winning bar will find out on the evening whether they have earnt their place on the plane to St Lucia later in the year.

Venue: The Magic Roundabout, Old Street Tube Station, London, EC1Y 1BE
Timings: 7pm – late. Open to general public and trade.

St Lucia Itinerary for the winning venue:

Day 1: Arrival in Saint Lucia
Day 2: Visit of Saint Lucia Distillers, local art makers & the Castries market
Day 3: Training session for local bartenders & Friday night in Gros Islet with the SLD Team
Day 4: Local Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Competition judged by European winners and guest shift in the evening at Chairman’s Reserve event
Day 5: Day out on catamaran with local bartenders & SLD team
Day 6: Flights back home

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Limited Edition Mandarine Napoléon XO Gold Honouring 125 Years

Mandarine Nap
To celebrate 125 years of its fine product, Mandarine Napoléon has crafted an extraordinary version of its delectable liqueur: The Limited Edition Mandarine Napoléon XO Gold. The special edition is a distillate of Sicilian mandarins blended with nothing less than a 125-year-old Grande Fine Champagne Cognac – resulting in a delightfully fresh and soft mandarin flavour with a delicious balanced cognac finish. Every bottle of the mandarin-infused liqueur in its robe d’or contains a harmonious touch of cognac from 1892: the year Mandarine Napoléon was first available to the public – covered by hand with 24-carat gold, combining craftsmanship, heritage and exquisite quality in and on a glorious bottle. Moreover, a special anniversary box, the walnut wood was exclusively designed to hold the product, so without a doubt, the XO Gold Limited Edition is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase.

The fact that people have been savouring Mandarine Napoléon for as long as 125 years now was the impulse that spawned the idea of creating an anniversary edition. Admittedly, it was not an easy task finding a suitable cognac well over a century old. However, a Grande Fine Champagne Cognac from 1892 was ultimately found, which truly adds colour and harmony to the Mandarine Napoléon Gold. As icing on the cake, a goldsmith from a small hamlet in the south of the Netherlands has then manually covered the bottle with 24-carat gold – so the bottle shimmers and shines from within the tailor-made walnut wood box.

Many people enjoy Mandarine Napoléon XO Gold as a royal twist in the Napoléon Margarita, but since the Limited Edition Mandarine Napoléon XO Gold is made with the exclusive Grande Fine Champagne Cognac, it is probably best savoured neat or on the rocks to experience the delicate subtleties and unique finish.

If you wish to order Mandarine Napoléon XO Gold Limited Edition, simply send an email to: limitededition@125ymandarinenapoleon.com. A symbolic price of €1892.00 has been set for this extraordinary liqueur and since this is a limited edition, there is a maximum of only 125 bottles available.

Havana Club Celebrates Successful 2017 Awards Season

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Havana Club, the global leading rum in the super-premium and above category[1], has been awarded five Double Gold or Gold medals at the world’s most influential spirits competitions this year, including top medals from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Beverage Tasting Institute and International Spirits Challenge.

Havana Club 7 Years Old was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition – one of the most respected and influential competitions in the world. The judges were impressed with the rich, smooth and complex flavours of this exceptional rum – honouring the continuous ageing process that makes Havana Club 7 Years Old one of the finest, premium Cuban sipping rums. “The Foundational rum” – as it is widely known for laying the foundations for quality dark aged rum – also scored 92 points at the Beverage Testing Institute in Chicago.

In addition, Havana Club 3 Years Old claimed its second Gold medal in a row at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and its fifth consecutive Gold medal at the Beverage Testing Institute.

Havana Club Selección de Maestros, first expression of the Icónica Collection, also received high p raise at the International Spirits Challenge, where it was honoured with a Gold medal, adding to the already extensive list of trophies earned by this triple barrel aged rum, which is crafted through an extraordinary collaboration between the eight members of the Guild of Masters of Cuban Rum.

Nick Blacknell, International Marketing Director at Havana Club International, commented on the continued success of the Havana Club portfolio: “The broad recognition we have received from the world’s leading spirits tasting competitions demonstrates the quality crafting skills of our Maestros del Ron Cubano[2]. We are incredibly proud of the production team in Cuba, as they are the ones who know the “añejamiento” (ageing) technique – a distinctive ageing process that is exclusive to Cuban rum. We dedicate our five leading medals to the whole team of Maestros and look forward to the 2018 awards season”.

They’re Back . . . . . Again

The Liverpool Sessions
*TRADE ONLY*

After an 8 month hiatus, The London Sessions are back. This time they’re taking to the streets (and bars) of Liverpool for what they’re pretty sure is their 28th session… It’s hard to keep track. From 12pm – 4pm on October 26th, you’ll be treated to three sessions in one day alongside BBQ and cocktails courtesy of Jack Daniel’s, with a not-so-little announcement at the end. Sound familiar? Think Glasgow 2016. Following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Gary Regan, Ivy Mix, and Dale DeGroff, they’re proud to introduce their speakers – Erik Lorincz, JJ Goodman & Cam Dawson, speaking on Creativity, Entrepreneurialism, Consistency and Quality.

No stranger to the sessions, this will be Erik’s third session with them and you know what they say about third time lucky. As well as being one of the most charming and charismatic people, Erik is the current (11th) Head Bartender at The American Bar at The Savoy and has picked up two coveted Spirited Awards for Best International Bartender 2011 and Best International Bar Team 2016, and was shortlisted for Best International Bartender 2017 (he was robbed). Erik recently flexed his creative muscles to launch his own line of cocktail shakers with Tetsuya Yokoyam ‘Birdy by Erik Lorincz’ and when he’s not behind the bar he can be found presenting on Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube, or traveling the world. Honestly, we can’t keep track. Accordingly, Erik’s session will be centered around Creativity.

Next up, as seen on TV…. JJ Goodman opened his first bar at the age of 24 in 2008 and has since opened seven cocktail bars under the London Cocktail Club umbrella, so who better to conduct our talk on entrepreneurialism? A seasoned professional, JJ won Best Bartender at the 42 Below Cocktail World Cup in 2008, is one of London Lifestyle Award’s 50 Most Influential People and was named as one of Zagat’s 30 under 30 in 2009. JJ won the BBC TV show The Restaurant which secured him a business partnership with BBC Dragon Sarah Willingham and Chef Raymond Blanc OBE. When he’s not busy running his empire, JJ works alongside The Prince’s Trust, Springboard UK and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), aiming to develop a community resource within the hospitality industry. Smart and Charitable, what more could you want?

Last but not least, Cam Dawson’s ten year career in the drinks industry has seen him work in a variety of Pubs, Clubs and Cocktail Bars around the world. Although originally from Stirling in Scotland, Cam learned his trade in Perth, Australia before returning to his adoptive home of Brighton, where he works as the Jack Daniel’s UK Brand Ambassador. In short, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about JD and the half a billion bottles maturing in Lynchburg as we speak. Have a burning question? This is your opportunity to ask it. Cam’s session will focus on consistency and quality.

As always, sessions are free to attend but are strictly RSVP only. RSVP’s open on Monday September 11th from midday. Email rebekkah@rebekkahdooley.com to secure your space. Remember, sessions book up quick, so set your alarms, pull an all nighter, or be smart and schedule an email. Whatever you need to do.

Hi-Spirits Breaks Out The Brands For London Cocktail Week

Southern Comfort hits the streets for LCW
Hi-Spirits will be celebrating the capital’s booming cocktail culture by putting some of the biggest brands in its portfolio in the spotlight during London Cocktail Week.

Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the classic Italian Fratelli Branca liqueur range will all be featured, with the cocktail cognoscenti able to enjoy a range of £6 drinks at selected bars throughout LCW, which runs from October 2 – 8.

Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca will be offering a programme of masterclasses during the week at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire pop-up bar, which will be located this year at the Looking Glass Cocktail Club in Shoreditch.

VIP hosts for the classes will be Drew Mayville, Buffalo Trace master blender, and Nicola Olianas, World brand ambassador for Fratelli Branca. Along with an opportunity to taste the 2017 release of the five-strong Buffalo Taste Antique Collection, there will be a special masterclass featuring cocktails made with the Antique Collection and vintage Carpano Vermouth.

Other classes will spotlight the Pappy Van Winkle bourbons from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky, and the full range of premium brands from the Fratelli Branca distillery in Italy. With limited spaces available and demand expected to be high, bar trade professionals can sign up at http://www.BuffaloTrace.co.uk/BBE

The Spitalfields Market Village cocktail hub will host the Southern Quarter, celebrating the true Spirit of New Orleans. Inspired by the city’s French Quarter, the bar will be welcoming cocktail lovers with a selection of delicious Southern Comfort cocktails paired with freshly-cooked Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Tito’s Handmade Vodka will also feature in the Spitalfields Market Village, with the Tito’s Texan Mule Cart bringing a Texan twist to the classic mule cocktail. Tito’s, the Vodka for Dog People, will be supporting the Guide Dogs Foundation, giving £1 from every cocktail purchased to the charity. MASH and Off Broadway are also giving £1 from every Tito’s drink sold to the Guide Dogs, with Tito’s matching the funds raised.

Partner bars around London will be offering exclusive £6 cocktails throughout the week. Buffalo Trace will be at Vaults of Soho, Fat Bear, Benares, Four Sisters, Four Sisters Town House, Barbecoa, and Basement Sate; Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be at Mash and Off Broadway; and Southern Comfort cocktails will feature at Hoxley & Porter, Quaglinos, Bermondsey Yard Café, Salvador and Amanda, Kansas Smitty’s, Stillwater and Bobo Social.

For those looking to chill out between cocktails, Our/London Vodka is taking up residence at Blixen in Spitalfields village, offering respite as well as free coffee, snacks and WiFi access for trade wristband holders. There will also be an opportunity to try the newly launched range of Our/London Infusions.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “London is one of the world’s great cocktail cities, and we’re delighted to be featuring some of the iconic brands from our portfolio during London Cocktail Week.

“It’s especially exciting to be bringing Buffalo Trace and Fratelli Branca, two of the world’s greatest distilleries, together at the Buffalo Bourbon Empire, which will be a great opportunity for bar professionals to learn more about the heritage and skills of both.

“With cocktail sales booming in UK pubs and bars, London Cocktail Week is a great showcase for our national cocktail culture, and so we’re delighted to be right at the heart of the action again this year.”

New Peated Single Malt Showcases The Balvenie In Entirely Different Way

The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years
The Balvenie, the most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, reimagines a classic Speyside style whisky with the release of an exceptional peated expression – The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2002 Vintage), available initially in a select number of markets.

The Balvenie Peat Week is the product of trials undertaken by The Balvenie’s Malt Master David Stewart MBE and Ian Millar, former distillery manager and current Prestige Whiskies Specialist at William Grant & Sons.

At a time when very few Speyside distilleries were using peat in production, The Balvenie distilled a batch of heavily peated malt, which was laid down to mature at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland under the watchful eye of the industry’s longest-serving Malt Master. Since this pioneering moment, the distillery has dedicated one week each year, named Peat Week, to using only peated barley in its production, in order to craft a different style of The Balvenie liquid with enhanced smoky notes.

The result of the initial experiment is a classic honeyed whisky enriched with a delicate, sweet and lingering peat smoke that unlocks flavours unexpected from a Speyside distillery and showcases The Balvenie’s truly innovative and forward-thinking nature.

The Balvenie Peat Week (2002 Vintage), released in September 2017, is a single vintage bottling, limited and rare by nature. This non-chill filtered expression, bottled at 48.3% ABV, will launch exclusively to the USA, UK, Denmark and Sweden in September. The liquid was matured solely in American Oak casks, giving the final spirit a velvety and round taste with the peat smoke balancing oaky vanilla and honey.

Commenting on the release, David Stewart MBE says: “Being able to experiment with different elements of whisky making and stock management is one of the most exciting and important parts of my job. The new Peated Week bottling is a result of our continued efforts to innovate and trial flavours not typically associated with The Balvenie. The expression is testament to the freedom we enjoy as a family company, and shows The Balvenie in an unexpected way, yet still remaining true to the distillery style our drinkers enjoy.”

The new release pays special homage to a time when peated whiskies were commonly produced by distilleries across Speyside, including The Balvenie, who utilised locally sourced peat throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s to dry barley processed at the distillery’s traditional malt floor, which is still in use today.

Ian Millar, says: “When we first started the experiments it was an incredibly exciting time as very few Speyside distilleries were using peated malt in production. Along with cask type, there’s nothing quite like peat to change the flavour profile of a whisky, so it was great to have the chance to undertake these experiments and lay the foundations for future peated malts.”

Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie UK Brand Ambassador added: “For anyone who thinks that Scotch is a staid category, this new release from The Balvenie will make them reconsider. Behind the scenes at whisky distilleries like ours, experiments are always going on and almost 15 years ago, we started exploring what it would be like to peat the malt that goes into our gorgeous honeyed liquid for one week each year. The result is something wonderful and will give The Balvenie lovers a chance to see this delicious whisky in a different light.”

The release follows the June release of The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask Aged 14 Years, exclusive to travel retail. Both bottlings will be permanent additions to The Balvenie’s existing range.

The Balvenie Peat Week will retail for £60 RRP and is available from September.

St-Germain Is Bringing A French Touch To The Oxo Tower Bar’s Terrace

Oxo Tower
St-Germain is bringing a splash of joyful decadence to the OXO Tower Bar’s Terrace this September.

In celebration of the thousands of elderflowers harvested to create the unique elderflower liqueur, St-Germain has partnered with Harvey Nichols in a terrace takeover welcoming guests through its doors until Tuesday 31 October.

The takeover will capture the spirit of Les Années Folles with delicious St-Germain cocktails artfully crafted in collaboration with Paulius Patumsis from the OXO Tower Bar team and Camille Ralph Vidal, Global Brand Ambassador. The Terrace will be brought to life with a foliage wall, created by Emily Baylis, floral designer and founder of ‘June in March,’ making the space the perfect spot to enjoy St-Germain cocktails this autumn, surrounded by stunning views of London’s skyline. A St-Germain camera will be on hand to help guests capture the evening, providing each customer with a Polaroid picture to take home.

St-Germain® Elderflower Liqueur is the world’s first French liqueur made from delicate elderflower blossoms, handpicked at the height of their beauty during a maddeningly ephemeral growing season once a year.

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/StGermainUK/

St-Germain take over the OXO Tower Bar’s terrace Oxo Tower Restaurant, Bar and Brasserie, Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, South Bank, London SE1 9PH from Friday 1 September – Tuesday 31 October

Our/London Vodka Launches Our/Infusions Range

Our Infusions range
Our/Vodka is continuing its mission to shake up the vodka industry with the launch of four DIY Our/Infusion kits.

The kits allow anyone to play bartender and transform their bottle of Our/Vodka into a bespoke serve, by using a botanical infusion bag.

To mark the launch, the kits will feature in an exclusive Our/Infusions window installation at The Conran Shop Marylebone, coinciding with the launch of London Design Festival on 16 September.

London based set designers Isabel + Helen and Hackney resident photographer William Bunce will bring each infusion to life. Delving into the smells and textures of each infusion blend, the sculptures will show what a glass bottle of clear liquid can really look like.

The four Our/Infusions kits have been created using ingredients sourced from all over the world. They include:

Our/Oak Infusion – An oak flavoured botanical blend with a taste of warm toasted oak, sweet vanilla and a hint of smoke. 8-15 hours infusion time.

Our/Juniper Infusion – A juniper flavoured botanical blend. 8-15 hours infusion time.

Our/Citrus Infusion – A citrus flavoured botanical blend with notes of lemon and grapefruit. 10 minutes infusion time.

Our/Tea Infusion – Classic Earl, a refreshing bergamot flavoured tea blend from Paper & Tea with hint of leather and caramel. 10 minutes infusion time.

Kalle Söderquist, co-founder & creative director of Our/Vodka says: “Within the bartender community we’ve seen endless creativity the last couple of years. Everyone adds their own personal touch to their cocktail ingredients.

“Combined with an urban DIY trend when it comes to everything food and drink, we believe that the range of Our/Infusion kits are changing the spirits industry by helping the end consumer to create something entirely new from a bottle of Our/Vodka.”

Our/Vodka has built a family of urban distilleries, and was the first to bring a small vodka bottle with a crown cap to the market. The Our/Infusions range has an RRP of £24 and will be available from October at selected retailers.

When The Irishman Met The Sicilian

Photo: michaelorourkephotography.ie
Walsh Whiskey Distillery has released two, new, very limited edition, super-premium expressions from The Irishman range. Both were finished in handpicked Marsala wine ‘hogshead’ casks from the Florio winery in Sicily which is owned by Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s strategic partner Illva Saronno.

Hogshead casks are larger than standard whiskey casks, however with evaporation accounting for the ‘Angel’s Share’, just 2,970 bottles of The Irishman Founder’s Reserve Florio Marsala Cask Finish were filled in mid-August after a minimum of 12 months finishing in the hogshead casks. The nine casks will be spread across seven markets: Ireland, Italy, France, Holland, Switzerland, Travel Retail and Germany. This triple-distilled, non chill filtered whiskey has an ABV of 46%, which is 6% ABV stronger than The Irishman Founder’s Reserve.

Just a single hogshead cask was filled with The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt resulting in 320 bottles of this expression which will be exclusively available at the Walsh Whiskey Distillery in Royal Oak, Carlow, Ireland. Also triple-distilled and non chill filtered, The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt – Florio Marsala Cask Finish is a Cask Strength whiskey with an ABV of 56%.

The creation of these whiskeys began in 2015 when Bernard Walsh went to the Florio winery in the town of Marsala in Sicily as part of his international research into new cask finishes for his portfolio of whiskeys which has also seen him visit Spain, France, Portugal, St. Lucia, China, Kentucky and other parts of Italy. During a tasting of the famously sweet Marsala wines in the Florio cellars, he became convinced of the potential for an exciting expression to result from finishing his signature whiskey, The Irishman Founder’s Reserve, in Marsala wine casks.

Following the tasting, Bernard personally selected the 10 hogshead casks for return to Ireland for filling with The Irishman Founder’s Reserve. He made a last minute decision to add one more twist to the innovation by assigning one of the hogshead casks to be filled with The Irishman 12 Year Old Single Malt for a minimum 12 months’ finish.

Commenting on the successful outcome of the project, Bernard Walsh said: “I have always loved sweet tasting wines, so I was drawn to the Marsala from the outset, but I didn’t want it to overpower The Irishman expressions either. I am delighted that we have achieved two beautifully balanced whiskeys which we are proud to make the ninth and tenth expressions in our portfolio.”

William Grant & Sons Appoints Stephen Rutherford As Glenfiddich UK Brand Ambassador

Glenfiddich UK brand ambassador_Stephen Rutherford
Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that Stephen Rutherford will take on the role of UK brand ambassador for Glenfiddich, with immediate effect.

Stephen’s new role will see him focus on generating brand awareness, building brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and consumers, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Stephen will take over from Mark Thomson who is moving north to focus on Glenfiddich’s home territory as the new Scottish brand ambassador.

Mark said: “I couldn’t be happier about Stephen taking on the national role as I move north to concentrate on Scotland. His joining of an already strong global team of ambassadors puts us in an enviable position within the industry but also offers a modern point of view for the whisky consumer. Plus, he has a great sense of humour- so I know he’ll fit in just fine!”

Stephen said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to be appointed as UK brand ambassador for Glenfiddich. It is a truly exciting time to be getting involved, with some fantastic projects coming up, and the opportunity to work with the amazingly talented team. I can’t wait to get out and about and start spreading the Glenfiddich love.”