When ten bartenders at the top of their game assembled last week to contest the Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind 2015 we knew it would be close. As we witnessed each serve and each presentation it became closer still. Of course, it’s all about the cocktail but a little bit of verbal patter can go a long way.
“Glenfiddich introduced single malt whisky to the world and created the global market, really, as it stands today. It defined the style on its own terms. The brand still shines against the farthest cutting edge while remaining in touch with humble roots. The label is a symbol of innovation informed by tradition.” So says winner Michael Cameron.
Following a rigorous judging process and a hard fought battle, the UK’s number one single malt Scotch whisky, crowned Michael Cameron from Guy’s Restaurant & Bar, Glasgow the winner of the Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind Competition, held in the distinguished surroundings of Voltaire bar, London.
Michael Cameron won the competition with his Glenfiddich cocktail ‘Ours is the Fury’, showcasing his originality, creativity and knowledge of the malt whisky category, not to mention a distinctively poetic edge to his presentation.
It was one hell of a day as the ten finalists came together to present their signature serves using Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Vat or Glenfiddich 18 Year Old. Throw in a quick-fire buzzer round testing their knowledge of malt whisky and we’re talking a pretty full-on eight or so hours. Tasked with choosing a winner were Glenfiddich UK brand ambassador, Mark Thomson, Director of Prestige and William Grant & Sons family member, Kirsten Grant Meikle, Ali Reynolds, 2014 Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind winner and The Cocktail Lovers.
Yes, the drinks were amazing, how could they not be, given the Glenfiddich portfolio the finalists had to work with and the undoubted creativity they displayed? We were treated to homemade syrups and infusions, clever garnishes, beautiful glassware and elegant serves. Each and every one of them could, and did, tell a great story. There’s something about a little Glenfiddich that seems to go so well together with a yarn. One person though took it just that bit further.
Michael Cameron created a beautiful and delicious cocktail. He also entranced the room with an eloquence which was at the same time both poetic yet unpretentious. And it was this that swung the judges. A huge salute must go to every single one of the finalists though.
“It’s heart-warming to be working with such talent. The respect, yet playful take on our brand was both exciting to judge and kept all the judges entertained, whilst making the winning decision extremely tough to call this year”, said UK Brand Ambassador, Mark Thomson.
Sarah Harding, Senior Brand Manager for Glenfiddich echoed these sentiments. “Once again we were blown away by the high standard of the competitors in this much anticipated contest. All of the finalists showcased wonderful examples of innovative whisky cocktails and we hope the competition inspires other bartenders to experiment with Glenfiddich.”
Fittingly the final word, or words, must go to Michael. “It has been an honour simply to participate in this process. To win is simply staggering. Every single competitor at the final did Glenfiddich justice; it must have been a nightmare to judge. I loved the fact that the line-up showcased talent from all corners of Great Britain. I’ve seldom witnessed such an eclectic mix of styles and influences. Everyone was immaculate; it was the top level collectively personified. My cocktail ‘Ours is the Fury,’ in terms of aesthetics, is styled around Game of Thrones, and the drink was designed to think like a righteous King in George R. R. Martin’s pitch-black fantasy: The bold, compassionate dram; the darkly stirring walnut, bitter like a King’s ambition; the wisdom of Drambuie, whispering hard; salty pride against a slow-burning, smoky lust.”
“The bold, compassionate dram.” Michael Cameron, Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind 2015.
Ours is the Fury
35ml Glenfiddich 15 year old Old Solera Vat
35ml saffron-infused golden Muscat smoked with hickory chips & powdered orange zest
7 drops Fee Bros’ Black Walnut bitters
Pinch vanilla sea salt
Dehydrated candied orange zest
Stir and serve in a glass with crossed ‘antlers’ of dehydrated orange zest.
The Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind 2015 finalists
Aiden Page, Carmelite Hotel, Aberdeen
Alix Nardella, Mission E2, London
Bartosz Kowalski, Union Street Café, London
Dan Berger, Ace Hotel, London
Kieron Hall, Bonbar, Newcastle upon Tyne
Manachain Monaghan, Monk Cocktail Bar, Buxton
Mark Barrett, Cringletie House, Edinburgh
Michael Cameron, Guy’s Restaurant & Bar, Glasgow
Nicholas Gilmour, The Tippling House, Aberdeen
Stephen Rutherford, Orchid, Aberdeen