Glenfiddich has announced the 10 finalists in its global search for the world’s most experimental bartender. The world’s most awarded whisky brand has brought together a diverse selection of creative professionals from outside the traditional drinks industry to reinvent and reinterpret what it means to experience whisky.

Mixologists and bartenders from around the world partnered up with a wide array of creative professionals, from artists to chefs, sculptors and musicians. Their ideas span the five senses and truly reflect the Glenfiddich brand in spirit, as each set out to push the boundaries of convention in their own individual ways.

Finalists include:

  • Siblings Shea and Ciara Campbell from the UK and their use of artistic ceramic vessels, each of which has been paired to enhance the 12, 15 and 21-year-old Glenfiddich whiskies;

  • Rohan Fisher from Melbourne’s Boilermaker House and his candlemaker co-creator who intend to make scented candles that results in a perfectly paired scotch;

  • Germany’s Jürgen Wiese and creative partner Michaela Wilczynski who will create the ‘Trinity Serve’, a specially designed implement to impart flavor into the whisky;

  • Emilio Valencia Ruvalcaba and Ruben Guerrero Simon, who’ll create ‘The Art of Whisky’, a fusion of edible art using videography;

  • India’s pairing of photographer and cheesemaker Prateeksh Mehra and bartender Brijesh Padmanabh Vyas who’ll create the ultimate cheese and whisky course with a whisky and cheese cocktail;

  • Philadelphia’s Jenee Craver and sound engineer Matt Schwalm have created an audio track, recorded from sounds captured during the preparation of a special cocktail using Glenfiddich;

  • Colombian bartenders Juan Madrigal and Audrey Matiz with their dynamic drinking game, designed to help people appreciate the different features and faculties of Glenfiddich 12, 15, and 18-year-old malts;

  • Bartender Dirk Hany and chef a la carte Tino Staub, both of Zurich’s five-star Widder Hotel, and their quest to find the perfect serve;

  • South Africa’s Michael Stephenson and furniture designer Paul Figueira’s visual ‘river’ – known as the ‘Valley of Time’ – which visualizes key moment’s in Glenfiddich’s own history, alongside the wider story of whisky itself;

  • Nathan O’Neill of New York’s Nomad Hotel with chef John Taube, and their full deconstruction and reconstruction of Glenfiddich whisky through advanced culinary skills and techniques.

Now, in the final stages of the competition, the co-creators will journey later this month to the World’s Most Experimental Bartender Academy at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, for the grand finale. Through an immersive three-day event, each creative partnership will embark on an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experience shadowing Glenfiddich's master distillers — from the mash man to the cooper, the still man to the malt master — to learn the art and techniques of whisky making, as well as how Glenfiddich has come to be the most awarded whisky brand in the world.

The culmination of the Academy will be the live final pitch: in front of an international five-member panel, including ourselves at Highsnobiety, the creative finalists will present their creations for a final time in order to become the World's Most Experimental Bartenders, along with the global industry recognition that comes with it. As well as the prestigious title and the global fame, their creations will also be brought to life through Glenfiddich's support.

"This is not your typical cocktail competition," says Struan Grant Ralph, Scotland native, Brooklyn resident and Glenfiddich’s global brand ambassador. "The drinks industry attracts inventive, expressive people and some of the most exciting developments we’re seeing today result from maverick collaborations. Great things happen when different minds, passions, viewpoints or crafts collide. We want to celebrate bartenders who are masters of their trade, yet continue to push beyond the expected by finding inspiration in the most unexpected of places," he added.

Stay tuned for our coverage of the final and exclusive content inside the home of the world's most awarded Scotch whisky.

For more on the drinks industry, we look at how much more the bar-keeping world can really continue to innovate. Or for more on Glenfiddich, take a look into the distiller's foray into fashion, with the capsule collection co-created with Josh Peskowitz of men’s concept shop Magasin.

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