We checked out the amazing talent at the Chivas 18 Masters last week with high expectations, and they were certainly exceeded.
We were treated to a spectacle from the World’s Most Complicated Whisky Pouring Machine – a beautifully put together piece of machinery crafted from up-cycled distillery parts from the home of Chivas Regal, Strathisla in Scotland. Te idea behind the machine is that it takes time to slow down and appreciate the finer things in life – such as Chivas 18. The Rube Goldberg-inspired contraption is all bells and whistles, and absolutely fascinating to watch. It takes 85 seconds to appreciate the 85 botanicals present in the blends, with 15 different cascading metal marbles to represent the blends themselves.
The machine is soon off on a world tour for its final home in Strathisla, so catch it if you can.
Diving in to the main room, three of the world’s hottest bars were fighting it out to win the Chivas 18 Masters. Each team had spent time in Scotland learning about the classic whisky within its own distillery walls. Launched in 1909, Chivas Regal is the world’s first luxury whisky and is considered to be a timeless classic, renowned for its benchmark quality and taste, style, substance and exclusivity. The contestants had to take this history and heritage, flavour and use this inspiration to create a pop up bar within just a week. Each one had to have a sustainability skew, foraging ingredients from the local area and having a sustainable rationale. From foraged figs to rooftop Hackney honey, the ingredients and methods were creative and unexpected, showing the true breadth of the whisky.
Each one of the competitors impressed us with their hospitality, engaging and chatting, eager to share their passion and knowledge about both their concepts, and the brand itself. You could sense the camaraderie between all the competitors and what they had been through in that journey. Ultimately it was the public that decided on the winners, so they pulled out all the stops.
The eventual winners were ‘One Night In Bangkok’ with their cocktail ‘The Grind’, Arron Grendon and the team’s rich and decadent cocktail made up of the following:
50ml Chivas Extra
15ml Fino Sherry
30ml Coconut & Black Sticky Rice Cream
15 Sugarcane Shrub
10ml Banana Syrup
Richard Black, global marketing director at Chivas Regal, said: “Arron demonstrated originality, skill, leadership and, most importantly, a real sense of community throughout the final week.” Arron wins an all-access trip to Tales of The Cocktail 2018 in New Orleans as well as the chance to travel the world spreading the Chivas word – though a well-earned rest first might be in order.
Big kudos to Filip Jančárek and the Brotherhood1801 team, as well as Louis Lebaillif and the team from Broken Bench. The whole evening was fantastic, and it was a pleasure to sample the very best skill and talent on offer through the Chivas18 Masters.