Two bartenders from Scout in London have been announced as winners of the UK final of the World’s Most Experimental Bartender competition run for Glenfiddich whisky.
William Hetzel and Charles Roche impressed the judges with their collaboration on a whisky aroma-inspired concept, earning themselves a place in the global final. They are pictured above, left and right, with Glenfiddich UK brand ambassador Mark Thomson.
William, whose has an interest in perfumery, worked with Charles to create four bespoke scents that were blended to represent the aroma of Glenfiddich 21 whisky (pictured below).
The idea is that consumers experience the fragrances before moving on to tasting the whisky, opening their senses through familiar scents and removing what can be inhibiting factors for people approaching whisky.
William Grant & Sons created The World’s Most Experimental Bartender competition to 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.
As well as Mark Thomson, the judging panel included Glenfiddich senior brand manager Gwilym Cooke, DrinkUp London founder Hannah Sharman-Cox and Wired’s gear and products editor, Jeremy White.
They also 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 Shea Campbell.
Mark said: “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.”
Charles and William will now go on to compete against other winners from countries around the globe on a trip to the Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy in Scotland, where they will be able to bring their idea to life, supported by Glenfiddich.
The academy is an intense and immersive three-day experience where the co-creators will learn how to make whisky from scratch. They will have an opportunity to absorb knowledge from Glenfiddich’s distillery experts, from the mash man to the cooper, from the still man to the malt master, including an opportunity to meet malt master Brian Kinsman.
Charles said: “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.
“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.”
Pictures by Sophie Mutevelian