Glenfiddich has named its World’s Most Experimental Bartender UK comp winners: Charles Roche and William Hetzel from Scout in London.
The Scout collaborators wowed judges with their whisky-aroma inspired concept. Hetzel’s side passion project of perfumery bolstered their chances as they created four bespoke scents, blended to represent the aroma of Glenfiddich 21yo.
The thinking behind the drinks was the consumer would experience the fragrances before moving on to tasting the whisky.
The global World’s Most Experimental Bartender search is a simple one: recognise and reward individuals who collaborate with disciplines outside of the traditional drinks world to create more surprising and inventive drinking experiences, inspired by Glenfiddich.
Glenfiddich senior brand manager, Gwilym Cooke; Drink Up London founder, Hannah Sharman-Cox; and Wired gear & products editor, Jeremy White joined UK brand ambassador, Mark Thomson to assess the entries through their varied fields of expertise and interest.
They saw a mix of experimental presentations, including a storytelling collaboration from Callum Rixon of The Hideout in Bath; a mini-copper still from Glen Howatson of Bar One in Inverness; and a bespoke tailoring entry from returning finalist Shae Campbell.
‘I am delighted to win the UK round of the Glenfiddich World’s most Experimental Bartender competition, especially due to the fact the other entrants were so creative and inspiring,’ Roche said. ‘Glenfiddich has always held a special place in my heart, and hopefully this is the beginning of a long-term relationship between myself and the brand. It would mean the world to me to bring back the gold in November to make Scout, and London, proud.’
Thomson added: ‘Charles and William’s entry really got to grips with combating the nerves some people can experience when it comes to trying whisky. By reimagining the process of tasting, selecting and enjoying whisky through scent, they have opened up the potential to reach a whole new group of would-be whisky lovers. The commercial opportunities are endless and it was ultimately this that sealed the deal for the judges.’
The two UK finalists will now go on to compete against other market winners on a trip to the Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy in Scotland, where they will have the opportunity to bring their concept to life.
The Academy is a three-day experience, where the co-creators will learn how to make whisky from scratch. They will have the opportunity to get to know all there is to know about Glenfiddich from its distillery experts – from the mash man to the cooper, and the still man to the malt master – including an opportunity to meet with malt master, Brian Kinsman.