Why community for the theme of this year’s Chivas Masters Global Final? That’s easy, sharing and collaboration have always been at the heart of everything the company believe in and more importantly, central to everything they do.
From the early 19th century when James and John Chivas first left their home in remote Scotland travelling for three days by foot to Aberdeen, the emporium they became famed for was very much built with the community in mind. If a customer was looking for a particular ingredient, the brothers would seek it out; if there was a product that they couldn’t find, they’d do their darnedest to create it themselves.
Which is exactly how Chivas Regal came into being. When those very same customers mentioned that they were looking for a smoother, richer, more balanced spirit, James and John did what they always did, they made it their business to give them what they wanted. Working tirelessly in the cellar beneath the shop where they were already ageing whiskies, the brothers pioneered the art of blending, expertly balancing malt and grain varieties to get the harmonious flavour profile that their savvy clientele were looking for.
The brotherhood: Chivas Masters in New York, 2015
Like most things they set their minds to, the brothers succeeded in their quest, first with a blend they called Royal Glen Dee, followed by one they named Royal Strathythan. Chivas Regal, the original luxury Scotch whisky, came later in 1909 as the ever-astute brothers were keen to tap into the growing demand for luxury goods in the US.
Since then, the Chivas name has become synonymous with innovation, integrity and entrepreneurship, not to mention makers of the finest blended whiskies around but for James and John, however good success tasted, it always felt better when shared. Not just as the bond that bound them as brothers but with the wider community as well. They were generous with their time and money, being noted for their various acts of generosity which took in a whole lot of heartfelt gestures, like financing one of the windows in a local church to James being honoured with a trusteeship of the Royal Infirmary.
The brotherhood: Chivas Masters winning team, Shanghai 2016
Little wonder why the community thread has been amplified in this year’s Chivas Masters Global Cocktail Competition. In true spirit of the brotherhood, the five-day event has been carefully structured so the 21 contestants not only showcase their skills as great bartenders, but demonstrate their abilities to be team players, working together as a collective. That goes for everything from recognising when to take a step back in order for fellow team mates to shine, bolstering others by giving moral support and being generous with knowledge – all of these qualities and more will be taken into consideration when judging this year’s final.
The competitors have already begun to embrace the theme, basing the cocktail that got them through to regional final on their local community. How they get on with the challenges thrown at them rest of the week is anyone’s guess. Tune in and see.