European winner for transatlantic Auchentoshan Switch

Aidan_Bowie auchentoshanAidan Bowie (pictured) from The Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow has won the European final of the Auchentoshan Switch, with the prize of a trip to work in one of New York City’s top bars.

He beat 11 talented and creative bartenders from across the UK, Sweden and Germany at the final in London last night where they were put through a series of challenges.

Aidan’s prize will be to “switch” continents with the North American winner and spend two weeks working in The Dead Rabbit in Manhattan, regarded as one of the world’s best bars despite opening less than a year ago.

In each round, the finalists demonstrated their skill and creativity in front of the judges, Auchentoshan master blender Rachel Barrie, mixologist and whisky specialist Ryan Chetiyawardana and Edmund Weil, co-owner of London cocktail bar Nightjar.

The first round, Creativity and Presentation, saw the bartenders present their original competition entry of their Auchentoshan Three Wood creation.

Round two, Working Under Pressure, tested bartenders’ ability to think on their feet with a secret bag of ingredients given to them just minutes before their presentation.

The final round, A Cocktail Showdown, saw the two outstanding finalists create Rachel Barrie’s favourite cocktail, Blood and Sand. In this final face-off, Aidan was up against Matthew Hastings of Platillos in Sheffield.

It was the culmination of a summer of competitions, with mixologists from the UK, Sweden, Germany and North America entering via the Auchentoshan website and then attending regional heats in their countries.

The actual “switch” will take place in 2014 when the North American bartender will spend two weeks at Nightjar in Old Street. The North American final takes place in New York City at the end of this month.

Jennifer Meenan, brand manager for Auchentoshan, said: “This year’s Auchentoshan Switch has seen such a high level of skill from the bartending world.

“We wanted the competition to reflect the brand’s personality and we feel that last night’s European final did just this with something totally unique.”

Edmund will act as mentor of the North American winner alongside the Nightjar team. He said: “The Switch finalists showed so much talent and passion in their Auchentoshan Three Wood creations, the judges were blown away and some difficult decisions had to be made but Aidan just had the edge.”

Auchentoshan Three Wood is the chosen expression for all Auchentoshan Switch entries as its complex flavours add tremendous dimension to whisky cocktails. As with all Auchentoshan whisky, Three Wood is triple distilled, which produces an immensely smooth spirit.

It is matured in three different types of casks – first in North American bourbon casks, then in Spanish oloroso sherry casks and finally in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks.

This triple cask maturation produces a rich whisky with deep toffee and sherry oak influences, a touch of hazelnut with hints of cinnamon and lemon and a butterscotch sweetness that adds to the overall complexity.

It is produced at the Auchentoshan Distillery which was established in 1823 and has produced triple-distilled whisky since this time. It is located in the Lowland region of Scotland, on the outskirts of Glasgow and is the city’s only distillery.

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