Emily Says . . . . ‘Flor De Sevilla’

tanquerayIn her twelfth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at Ginuary over Dry January;

The New Year is well and truly upon us, and a new year usually means one thing: Dry January. But I’m not here to talk about that nonsense! I’m here to talk about “Ginuary”, and what gins have appeared under my radar so far this month.

With Tanqueray being one of the most popular London Dry Gins known, the arrival of Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla has caught not only my attention, but the attention of the bartending community. But firstly, what exactly is Tanqueray all about?

Founded by Charles Tanqueray in 1830 in Bloomsbury, London, Tanqueray still holds the original recipe that has stood the test of almost one hundred and eighty years. The distillery, however, was severely damaged during World War Two in 1941. The only surviving piece of equipment was one of the stills that was nicknamed “Old Tom”, and made the move with them to the new and current distillery in Cameron Bridge, Scotland.

The story of Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla begins in Spain’s sun-drenched Seville, a place brimming with fresh and beautiful flavours; including its vastly growing gin market. Traditionally, the recipe follows the original that is used for Tanqueray London Dry, but involves a beautiful blend of sevilla orange essences and other fine botanicals, including classics such as juniper and angelica root, all of which are distilled four times over.

On the nose, the zesty aromas of the sevilla oranges dominate the first initial smell. A sweet and fragrant aroma that connotes a warm summers evening; something that we all need in this frosty month!

With an ABV of 41.3%, Flor De Sevilla delivers the perfect zesty balance of classic Tanqueray on the palate, with the delightfully predictable notes of sevilla orange. Whilst this gin remains citrus heavy, fresh and floral notes are present, creating a long and fruity finish.

This citrusy little number is perfect served as a 50ml double over ice with an Indian tonic water. In terms of garnish, there’s no need to go over-board for this one. A simple wedge of orange will do just nicely… not forgetting to squeeze over the finishing product! A personal favourite at the moment, Tanq’s Flor De Sevilla is a ‘must try’ in 2019.

Photo Cred: Tanqueray

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Emily Says . . . . ‘The Dark Stuff’

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In her eleventh feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at her trip to Dublin and the Guinness Store;

The life of Emily Puckering strongly revolves around all things alcoholic, and despite the gloomy reality that I don’t spend that much of my time actually drinking, I do get the few opportunities to venture out of Manchester and explore some of the finest beverages that the world has to offer.

I spent a weekend in one of Ireland’s most renowned drinking spots, Dublin. And what is it that Dublin is so famous for? The Dark Stuff… or more commonly known as Guinness! Being one of the world’s most recognised stouts, I had high expectations of the quality of Guinness that Dublin had to offer. But firstly, what exactly is this dark stuff?

The story of Guinness dates all the way back to 1759, when a young Arthur Guinness found himself in Dublin and opened a brewery at St. James’s Gate. Rather than doing what every other brewery was focusing on; brewing ale, Guinness focused upon making the perfect porter.

By the time the 1800s came around, Guinness took that extra step forward and began exporting their famous black beer around the world, ranging from Africa to New Zealand. With Guinness being enjoyed all over the world, its popularity grew rapidly and a love for its unique taste was kindled.

With an ABV of 4.2%, Guinness provides the perfect balance of bitter and sweet with its malted and roasted characteristics. But it is the production of the porter that truly makes it one of a kind. Guinness brewers were the first to introduce the combination of nitrogen and carbon dioxide to draught beer. This resulted in Guinness’ velvety smooth texture and its unique settle, something it would very quickly become famous for.
It is water, barley, roasted malt extracts, hops and a unique Irish yeast that go into the production of Guinness. A large portion of the barley is roasted, which is what gives the dark colour and characteristic taste.

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Many mistake the colour of Guinness for being completely black, when it is in fact a ruby red. The flavour provides a rather unexpected light body, in contrast to what the overall appearance suggests on first impression. The light body alongside the velvet-like texture delivers a beautiful drinking experience. Upon the first taste, strong notes of coffee and chocolate are present with some slightly fruity characteristics. The bitterness of the hops finish the taste with subtly dry notes.

Visiting the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin was an experience one doesn’t easily forget. The history of Guinness is told through a timeline that consists of over six floors, ending with the famous Gravity bar overlooking the city; with Guinness being served on draught of course!

Furthermore, if you find yourself in Dublin, a visit to St. James’s Gate is an absolute must, as is getting yourself a pint of the dark stuff on your next visit to a bar, whether that’s in Dublin or down at your local; the dark stuff isn’t as scary as it looks…

The Midleton Very Rare Legacy Continues With 2018 Edition

Midleton_box-open-on-white - sizeIrish Distillers, makers of the world’s most enjoyed whiskeys, has unveiled the 2018 vintage of Midleton Very Rare. The 35th edition in the renowned and highly collectable range, first unveiled in 1984, is a masterfully blended Irish whiskey, crafted at the Midleton Distillery, Co Cork, by Master Distiller Brian Nation.

Midleton Very Rare 2018 is the result of the careful blending of exceptional, rare and hand-selected single pot still and single grain Irish whiskeys. Each cask has been matured exclusively in lightly-charred ex-Bourbon American oak barrels for between 12 and 28 years, imparting a vanilla sweetness which is in keeping with the rich tradition laid down by the series over the past four decades.

The 2018 edition offers a subtle floral note alongside a hint of fresh herbs and citrus from the Irish grain whiskey contribution, which is complemented by the spicier Irish single pot still whiskey characteristics of cinnamon, clove and black pepper. The vanilla sweetness contrasts with the charred oak to deliver a finishing touch of orchard fruit, green banana and a hint of barley sugar.

Bottled at 40% ABV, Midleton Very Rare 2018 is available globally from this month at the RRP of €180 in markets including Ireland, the UK, and the US.

Brian Nation, Master Distiller at Midleton Distillery, commented: “It is a great honour to have my signature on the front of each bottle of Midleton Very Rare, and this acts as the ultimate guarantee of quality from the Midleton Distillery. We set aside very small amounts of particularly fine single pot still and single grain distillates each year so that the Midleton Very Rare legacy can continue. This practice has been going on for over 40 years and today we are the proud custodians of the exceptional distillates with a duty of care to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the pinnacle of Irish whiskey as we do today.”

Spiced Dry Rum Club To Set Sail At Laki Kane

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A spectacular and exciting secret is tucked away above Laki Kane’s tropical escape bar, in the heart of N1. After months of development and refining, the Spiced Dry Rum Club will open its doors for its first official rum experience commencing Friday 12th October. The Spiced Dry Rum Club provides a truly unique rum re-distillation experience by utilising techniques that have not previously been made available to the public including nineteen copper alembic pot stills. Lead by a rotating team of London’s foremost rum experts, guests will embark on a voyage of rum discovery, experiment with flavours and design their very own bottle of rum to take home, completely bespoke to their own tastes.

A charismatic and charming 17th century inspired interior sets the scene for this unique 2.5 hour experience taking place daily at Laki Kane’s Spiced Dry Rum Club. Run by London’s most prominent bartenders and rum experts, rum-lovers and newcomers alike will be taken on a journey through the history of rum, indulge in premium rum tastings, learn about the key ingredients used in rum making and discover the perfect cocktail pairings for this exciting new style of rum.

Each guest will be seated at one of nineteen beautifully hand-crafted, copper alembic pot stills as the Spiced Dry Rum Club master distillers guide each guest through the re-distillation process, experimenting with spices and fruits to create their very own bespoke bottle of rum to take home.

The design of the Spiced Dry Rum Club has been influenced by the 17th century maritime rum trade, tales of large ships sailing high seas is etched throughout the upstairs bar with the main Pusser’s Rum Ship table seating twelve people and the Captain’s Table seating seven.

Experiences are available to book now from £119 (plus booking fees), which includes food and drinks during the session plus the guests own 700ml bottle of rum to take home along with a Spiced Dry Rum Club gift bag containing exciting products from Laki Kane and partners. Bookings can be made at lakikane.com/spiced-dry-rum-club and further bespoke packages will be available on request.

Speaking about the launch of the Spiced Dry Rum Club, Georgi Radev (Creative Director) says: “Rum is such an amazing spirit and to be able to offer others an opportunity to learn about the history and re-distillation process is something I have wanted to do for years. The Spiced Dry Rum Club is an unforgettable experience and one that will allow rum lovers and newcomers alike to be truly immersed in the wonderful world of rum.”

The Spiced Dry Rum Club follows the success of the downstairs Tropical Escape bar, which opened its doors at Laki Kane in early July 2018. The concept was created by life-long Islington resident and businessman Steve Kyprianou, Islington local finance and operations manager, Sam Robson, and ex-Mahiki bar manager Georgi Radev, a leading tiki, rum and cocktail expert with over 16 years experience managing bars and high end spirit brands.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society Bring Global Members Together With Virtual Tasting

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In celebration of its 35th anniversary, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) will be bringing their spiritual home in Edinburgh, The Vaults, to members across the world through a unique virtual tasting.

The tasting will be streamed live on the SMWS Facebook page (www.facebook.com/thesmwsuk) at 7pm (UK time) Monday 24th September with members invited to join in the tasting of five special drams from across the Society’s flavour spectrum. To get involved, visit http://bit.ly/2MHPrOF

Join in the live tasting from around the world

Limited edition five-dram Discovery Packs are available to members for £35 to ensure that everyone taking part, regardless of where they are in the world, will taste the same hand-selected drams during the live tasting hosted by Master Brand Ambassador John McCheyne.

SMWS are also offering these Discovery Packs as part of an exclusive membership offer, which includes the five-dram 35th Anniversary pack and Society membership, for £89 here: http://bit.ly/2MHRZMq

This is the first time that the SMWS will be hosting a tasting event that will encompass all of its global members, therefore creating a rare opportunity for like-minded enthusiasts worldwide to have a shared whisky experience and interact directly.

SMWS Master Brand Ambassador, John McCheyne, said: “It’s not often we get the opportunity to bring our global members together, so we’re really looking forward to having this experience and celebrating the last 35 years.

“Creating a community of whisky lovers was something that the Society was founded on and we continue to pride ourselves on that. This virtual tasting is a fantastic opportunity to see the scale which that community has grown over the years.”

Experience the event in person

There is the opportunity to experience this historic moment first hand, by attending the tasting live at The Vaults in Edinburgh. The price of the event ticket includes the five-dram Discovery Pack.

The tasting will also be streamed simultaneously to the Society’s Queen Street and Greville Street Member’s Rooms in Edinburgh and London respectively, giving people the opportunity to enjoy this historic experience in the company of fellow members. For more information on screenings of the event see here: http://bit.ly/2MCnG9T

Separate tastings will take place to allow to different time zones and will be screened to members in other countries, including Australia.

Members taking part in the virtual tastings are encouraged to join the conversation and share their experience of the event using #SMWSat35.

From Idea To Tesco Shelves In Two Short Years

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Three years ago the founders of HappyDown™ had an idea for a ready to drink crafted cocktail that could go global. That idea started to become a reality in summer 2017 when the low ABV drink launched in Morrisons stores nationwide. After only two months in Morrisons, distribution has already doubled with the announcement that Tesco is now stocking HappyDown™ nationally. The brand is also currently speaking to several other major supermarkets about full national listings.

With a listing with Amazon and Ocado secured recently, the brand is also currently speaking to several other major supermarkets and convenience retail about full national listings. HappyDown™ has also received two global awards: a Silver each at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (2018) and at Global Spirits Masters (2017) that proves the brands credentials in their industry.

This all goes to show what can be achieved when the right people create the right product at the right time. A lot of people have been involved in the meteoric rise of HappyDown™, from industry contacts to one of the best flavour houses in the U.K., but it is the founders, Paritosh Bhandari and Vishal Mair, who made the initial leap of faith. Leaving their high-paying corporate jobs was a risky move, involving a certain amount of instability (for Paritosh especially, who spent 10 months living in Airbnbs as he travelled the world in search of the winning formula).

The move was a calculated one, however, as both founders bring a huge amount of relevant experience to the table. Paritosh is an award winning marketer having spent 10 years in the drinks industry launching and managing global brands in India, such as Peroni and Fosters. For his work with HappyDown™ it is not surprising therefore that he recently won the UK Government’s “Global Entrepreneur Program”. He also launched India’s first super premium vodka, Artic Vodka, and super premium whisky, Rockford Reserve Whisky, starting by himself and then building the team and business up from scratch.

Vishal meanwhile has spent much of his career consulting, often for well known beverage brands at market entry.

Both men knew, from day one, that they never wanted to limit themselves by creating an
Indian brand for the Indian market or an Indian brand for the world market; they wanted to create a global brand that would work anywhere. They had witnessed the shift towards more natural, craft products, but also the trend amongst millenials and Gen Z to drink less. For those who wanted that moderate drinking experience, however there were not many great tasting options available.

This is how the idea of HappyDown™ was born and its home was the white space within the premix category. In Tesco previously, for instance, you would find own brand gin & tonic, rum & cola and other standard mixer options, as well as a few very sugary alcopops. There was no beverage containing natural ingredients, that was low ABV and which had adult oriented flavour combinations. The HappyDown™ product solved that problem and was given a further sophisticated edge through the infusion of herbs and spices to create three unique and exciting alcoholic drinks: Lychee & Guava infused with Chilli , Lemon & Cucumber infused with Mint and Raspberry & Pomegranate infused with Basil .

Not overwhelmingly complex, but also not prohibitively simple, HappyDown™ is the perfect contemporary cocktail for modern moderate drinkers on the go. Not only are the flavours delicious and refreshing, but each 330ml can is only 4% ABV. Its unique and innovative offering is surely why the brand has experienced such a meteoric rise. For a start up that is only one year old to see their product on the shelves of Tesco within two months of launching is unheard of and sets the tone for their continued growth.

William Grant & Sons Launches Aerstone, A New Single Malt Range That Aims To Decode The Category

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Independent family distiller, William Grant & Sons, announces the launch of a new 10 year old single malt Scotch whisky, Aerstone. The brand focusses on the impact of maturation and malting on flavour and is available in two expressions – Sea Cask 10 Year Old and Land Cask 10 Year Old.

This new range aims to simplify the taste messaging in the single malt category and help new single malt drinkers navigate the flavours of the category easily through clear taste descriptors on pack. The range showcases two different styles of whisky under the same brand, allowing consumers to easily understand the spectrum of flavours and demystify the traditional – and often complex – language associated with the category.

Sea Cask, described as ‘smooth and easy’ on the pack, is a classic Speyside-style single malt with nutty vanilla notes. This whisky develops its character from the time spent aging in warehouses located close to the sea on the Ayrshire coast, giving the whisky a subtle salty note on the finish.

Land Cask, on the other hand, is described as ‘rich and smoky’ and is a peated single malt heroing the use of highland peat in the malting. This whisky’s flavours are developed in warehouses located further inland, allowing the smoky notes to shine through.

Sean Wiemann, Global Innovation Brand Manager at William Grant & Sons comments on the launch:

“We wanted to create a brand that would allow consumers to make a confident choice and offer a great everyday single malt to complement the rest of our premium portfolio. We recognise that for some consumers, the category is complex and can be intimidating. With Aerstone we want to break down some of those barriers and help simplify single malts, inviting existing malt drinkers and new entrants to learn about all the different flavours and styles of single malt Scotch.”

Brian Kinsman, Master Blender at William Grant & Sons continues:

“We have developed two very different and evocative flavour profiles under the one brand, both inspired by the Scottish environment and raw elements where we age our whisky. With a 10 year age statement, people can expect a well-rounded single malt whisky with depth of flavours that will intrigue not only new drinkers, but also more experienced single malt enthusiasts.”

The packaging, developed in conjunction with Here Design in London, aims to help consumers clearly understand what each whisky might taste like without focussing on the more typical – and often ambiguous – whisky analogies for flavour.

Neil Barker, Managing Director at William Grant & Sons UK adds: “Our consumer research has shown that an accessible single malt is set to be a great addition to both the category and our portfolio. With two great expressions available, solidly rooted in our proud Scottish heritage and its landscape, Aerstone perfectly complements people’s increasing interest in hyper-localism, identified in our 2018 Market Report.”

Aerstone will be introduced to the UK market from mid-September and will initially launch in Tesco. The launch will be supported by a marketing campaign centred on ‘Single Malt. Two Choices.’ in the coming months.

David Stewart Crafts Limited-Edition The Balvenie Doublewood Aged 25 Years

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The Balvenie, the world’s most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, announces the release of The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 25 Years – a limited-edition expression specially crafted by Malt Master David Stewart MBE to mark the 25th anniversary of DoubleWood. The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 25 Years contains liquid laid down at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland in 1993, the same year as the original DoubleWood Aged 12 Years was released on general sale.

The DoubleWood story started in 1982, when David began experimenting with cask finishing (also known as ‘double-cask maturation’) by transferring mature Balvenie into Oloroso sherry casks to finish it for a number of months – a process which adds a layer of flavour, depth and complexity that cannot be achieved using any other method. The success of this pioneering work led the distillery to release the much sought-after Balvenie Classic in 1983, which was subsequently rebranded as DoubleWood in 1993.

Development of this technique, along with years of dedicated service to the Scotch whisky industry, earned David his MBE from Queen Elizabeth II in 2016.

Commenting on the release, David Stewart MBE says: “When we launched the first DoubleWood in 1993, I would have never thought we would eventually be bottling a 25-year-old variant as we are today. It’s testament to the success and admiration of DoubleWood, that we are releasing this more mature expression.

“The final liquid has a lovely combination of sweetness and spice, with candied orange, some honey syrup on the nose, followed by a velvety mouth-coating taste, with layers of brown sugar and sweet dried fruits. The extra time spent in American oak, and finally sherry casks has imparted a finish full of oak and sherried sweetness.”

The expression was matured in two distinct cask types – firstly traditional whisky casks for 25 years, before being finished in Spanish oak ex-Oloroso sherry casks.

Differing from its younger variant, The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 25 Years is finished in sherry casks for just three months – compared to nine for the 12-year-old. David decided on a shorter finishing time because after 25 years maturing in traditional whisky casks, the more mature whisky had already taken on a greater level of spice and complexity.

Alwynne Gwilt, UK Brand Ambassador adds: “The DoubleWood 12 is such an iconic whisky, with so many people I’ve spoken to over the years saying it was one of the whiskies that really got them interested in drinking Scotch. As such, it’s a thrill to see this limited edition released to celebrate the 25 years that this whisky has been on the market. It’s a wonderful tribute to David’s expertise and time with the company; lovers of The Balvenie will no doubt find this as something to treasure.”

The launch of this new expression is part of a year of celebrations, as The Balvenie honours the distillery craftsmen and women who helped bring DoubleWood into being, and specifically the pioneering work of David Stewart MBE himself. As a new chapter in the story, the release of The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 25 Years is a fitting tribute to David’s vision and skill.

The Balvenie DoubleWood Aged 25 Years is bottled at 43%ABV and will be available at Global Shop Window and independent specialist retailers at a RRP of £400.

This Mexican Independence Day, Discover The Country’s National Drink In Its True Colours

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Mexican foods and flavours are increasingly popping up on restaurant menus and street food stalls all around the world, enticing consumers to explore a more sophisticated side to the country’s cuisine. A celebration of the country that gave us tamales and tostadas is not complete without a sip of Mexico’s national drink.

Master Tequilera Sonia Espinola, Director of Heritage for the Jose Cuervo Foundation, has dedicated her life to spreading the authentic art of tequila drinking with the world, as one of the first females to be officially recognised by the Mexican government as a Tequilera. She shares her three tips for drinking tequila, the Mexican way:

1. Know the difference

Not all tequilas are created equal. First of all, for a drink to be called tequila, it needs to have the denomination of origin. There are only five areas in Mexico where tequila is produced. If an agave-based spirit is produced outside of these regions, it is not tequila.
But most importantly, depending on how they’ve been aged, tequilas fall into three categories:
· Silver tequila such as Jose Cuervo Especial and Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver have not been aged, which means their colouring is clear and the agave flavour comes through more strongly.
· For tequilas to be called ‘reposados’ (rested), they need to have spent at least two months but not more than a year in oak barrels. For instance, Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado is 100% blue agave tequila, rested in white oak barrels for at least two months.
· Finally, tequilas that have been aged in barrels for over a year are called ‘añejos’ (aged), whilst ‘extra-añejo’ (extra-aged) tequilas have spent at least three years in the barrels. Reserva de la Familia is such an extra-añejo, with strong oaky flavours and more complexity coming through every sip.

2. Sip, don’t shot

You can, of course, enjoy tequila as a shot. Our Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver is carefully bottled to conserve its flavour and finish at freezing temperatures and there’s nothing quite like a cool shot of Tradicional when you’re at a party. But if you truly want to appreciate tequila the Mexican way, you have to sip it from a glass like you would sip whiskey or rum. This is especially true for the aged tequilas (reposado, añejo and extra-añejo).
Use a tasting glass or wine glass to really open the flavours up. Nose it gently with small sips. An agave plant, the foundation of all tequila, requires a minimum of six years to reach maturity; most are harvested after ten years or longer. A decade of work takes a lot of patience; by sipping the tequila and taking in all its complex flavour notes, we show our appreciation for this journey of the agave, from field to glass. When I host dinners for friends, we like sipping a glass of Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado, which has been rested in oak barrels for up to six months. I love the flavour of roasted agave and the subtle hint of oak, pineapple and white pepper.

3. Toast to Independence Day the Mexican way

A Mexican Independence Day celebration is not a real fiesta without the Banderita, a combination of three drinks in the colours of the Mexican flag: a green lime juice represents the independence movement, Jose Cuervo Tradicional or Jose Cuervo Especial Silver stands for the centre of the Mexican flag and a red tomato-based chaser called Sangrita represents the blood of the national heroes. Line the glasses from left to right and you’ll have the Mexican flag in a drink, ready to be sipped: Salud!

We Salute You, Scotland: Glenfiddich Festival Experiment Returns To Say Thank You To Scottish Hospitality Industry

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This weekend, The Glenfiddich Festival Experiment returned for round two, welcoming 700 bartenders to the brand’s spiritual home of Dufftown.

The private two-day festival launched in 2017 as a thank you to the Scottish hospitality industry for its continued support of Glenfiddich, and to celebrate the brand’s Experimental Series.

This year’s festival was bigger, better, and more experimental than ever – filled with non-stop entertainment, from music, to comedy, whisky tastings, and distillery tours. Music legends Razorlight and Scotland’s own Twin Atlantic stormed the main stage with their headline performances, supported by up and coming home grown talent Kashmir Crows, Chasing Abbey, The Rising Souls, Tom Hamilton, Atlas Run, Van Ives and many more. Glenfiddich’s own DJ Paradice flew in from the US especially for his late-night appearance on the Forest Stage.

The Whisky Lounge, a new addition to this year’s festival, boasted a breath-taking view over the Glenfiddich distillery. The lounge hosted live comedy from Gary Little and Leo Kearse and served up drams from across the Glenfiddich portfolio. This year’s lucky festival goers were treated to an exclusive tasting of Fire & Cane, the fourth concept in Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series – a smoky whisky finished in sweet rum casks.

The Glenfiddich bar mixed things up with a host of whisky cocktails including: Don’t Be Fooled with Glenfiddich IPA Experiment, Bucks Highball with Glenfiddich 12YO, Glenfiddich 15 YO Old Fashioned and Glenfiddich IPA Experiment with kaffir and coconut.

Jody Buchan, owner of KIN in Edinburgh, commented: “It felt great to have a brand as historic and well-respected as Glenfiddich throw a party and to be given an invitation. To me it shows that the brand may be steeped in history but it can still be forward thinking and care about the people who help sell the product.”

Mark Thomson, Glenfiddich’s Ambassador to Scotland, commented: “Experimentation is at the heart of all we do, and bartenders play a key role in bringing that to life for customers. They show up to work every day and put their heart and soul into an often thankless job – with many pushing the boundaries and experimenting every day, just as we do. It’s brilliant to be able to say thank you to them with another year of festivities at our home in Dufftown.”