Industry News

Glenfiddich Goes L.A.

Rachel Burkons / photos by Jeremy Ball
Last month (http://bit.ly/1o0b9tr) we introduced the Glenfiddich Kindred Spirit Contest. To learn more about the campaign and how to enter: Email KindredSpirit@tastingpanelmag.com - you could win a trip to Scotland! Continue reading to find out how L.A.'s Seven Grand is upholding Glenfiddich tradition.


Andrew Abrahamson, GM, Seven Grand, and Spirit Guide Paul Shanahan. 

You can't talk about whisky bars in Los Angeles without mentioning Downtown Los Angeles' Seven Grand, where walls and walls of brown spirits greet customers looking to explore the wonderful diversity in the world of whisk(e)y. 
   
   Glenfiddich 15 year-old served with 
 pear, plum & almond honey.

But tucked back behind a hidden door, Seven Grand's private Jackalope Room offers guests an intimate environment to learn about and explore the nuances of the storied spirit, from grain to glen, Irish to Islay. Here, General Manager Andrew Abrahamson and Spirit Guide Pedro Shanahan are given free reign to play and experiment with new ways to educate on and explore whisk(e)y, so when they heard about The TASTING PANEL's Glenfiddich Kindred Spirit competition, the pair was stoked.

"When Mitch [Bechard, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador] approached us about this program, we were shocked," says Abrahamson. "We had literally just been discussing doing this exact sort of thing in the Jackalope Room to help bring flavor to life in a new way people can understand," chimes in Shanahan.

So what exactly were these two so excited about? Through the remainder of 2014, THE TASTING PANEL and Glenfiddich have partnered to challenge the country's top bars to elevate their serve in new and unique ways, from specific pairings and out-there combinations that put Genfiddich in the spotlight in new ways. Even better? Six winning bars will have the chance to send two representatives to Scotland in early 2015 to visit the distillery, and one winning serve, to be selected in Scotland by a member of the Grant family, will be awarded a $3,000 prize to bring to their bar back here in The States.

At Seven Grand, Abrahamson and Shanahan showed us how it is done, breathing new life into some of our favorite drams. "Pedro used to be a chef, so he was ultra-creative," explains Abrahamson. "We wanted to not 'pair' so much as to suggest, highlight the flavors that are already there, rather than complement with what's not."
 
   
 Glenfiddich 18-year-old paired with green
 apple & dark chocolate.
 
Shanahan's chefing background was evident in each of the four serves he created, each designed to help demystify whisky for consumers. "People can be intimated by Scotch, so by giving them a reference point of flavors they're already familiar with, it makes the spirit more accessible to everyone.

So Shanahan and Abrahamson went to the grocery store, tasting notes in hand, and came up with four serves that expressed each mark in a different and unique way:

We kicked things off with Glenfiddich 12 year-old, paired with fresh organic Bartlett pear dipped in organic raw honey mixed with chopped barley. The result is sweet, crunchy and spot-on for the pear-forward flavor profile in the 12 year-old. "If you were to sum up Glenfiddich as a food, this would be it," remarked Bechard, as Shanahan smiled on. 

Up next was a Glenfiddich 15 year-old, served with slices of fresh pear, plum and almond honey, another perfect pairing that lifts the 15's rich fruity notes. Shanahan followed that up with a Glenfiddich 18 year-old, which paired sliced green apple, with an 85% cacao dark chocolate and chocolate truffle. "The 18 is really complex with big flavors, and this is a gnarly dark chocolate, so it's a really interesting match," said Shanahan.
   
   Glenfiddich 21 served with sliced fig and toffee

Finally, we rounded things out with a dram of Glenfiddich 21 served with sliced fig and toffee, another spot-on pairing that highlights the dark, ripe fruit in this wonderful whisky. "This serve is so utterly simple when compared to the whisky," explains Shanahan. "It's nice to let the liquid do the talking!"

Looking for other Kindred Spirit accounts offering unique serves? Check out: Click here for more exclusive photos from this shoot at L.A.'s Seven Grand.

We're just getting started on this Kindred Spirit campaign! Want to sign your bar up? Email kindredspirit@tastingpanelmag.com and use #GFKindredSpirit to showcase your serve!

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