The Art of Blending

Have you ever tasted a bad whiskey and thought “You know what? I can probably do a better one myself!”

Well, now you can.

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, I found myself wandering around Central London looking for some inspiration on how to spend my day ,and I found myself stumbling upon Chivas Whiskey Pop up Bar and Store, in Shoreditch. This small bar in Brick Lane Market is a temporary location for the well-known whiskey brand, Chivas Regal. I decided to buy a ticket (£15) and join the experience, I got the opportunity to take part in a testing and training session where I learned more about the brand and YES, blend my own whiskey.

While waiting to start the blending session, you can enjoy a nice cold drink in a dark, elegant bar. You are then invited, with a group of about 20 people to join the presentation and workshop. Everyone is allocated a seat and a working station and the 1-hour session starts with a virtual tour on the history of the company and the origins of single malt whiskeys. On your table, you will find grain whiskey and single malts from The Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside and Islay. Additionally, you will be provided with a beaker and a dropper so you can mix and match the different whiskeys in order to create your own unique blend, which you will then pour into a bottle to take home with you. During the hour, you are tasting different whiskeys and discussing the different flavours – it’s a great atmosphere. The Master Blender talks to each individual in the class, giving advice on their blend, sharing more knowledge on the art of whiskey blending – you can write down notes in your personal Chivas booklet provided.

I must say that it was an amazing event and I would definitely recommend it (it will continue until early December).

What we are noticing increasingly more is that companies are creating initiatives, like this, to create experiences that produce emotions and memories. Usually, in order to achieve this, brands create pop up temporary stores in key locations; creating a sense of exclusiveness. A similar initiative was launched recently by Ikea; they created a pop-up restaurant in Shoreditch called The Dining Club, a space that you can rent and host a small private event.

It is clear that in the world of food & beverage and retail, the importance of engaging with the consumer through experiences that go beyond the basic shopping act is becoming increasing more crucial. We have noticed in the past year that such activities really create an emotional bond with the customer and the brand or organisation – here I am now, writing about this great experience and a brand that I barely knew before! In relation to shopping centers, which are my speciality, we can see these methods are increasingly being used to ensure a connection is made with visitors and the scheme.

As we enter the winter period and with Christmas quickly catching up with us, we can expect to see a lot of seasonal initiatives and temporary units throughout shopping centers; enhancing consumer experience and giving visitors a reason to return! I am looking forward to seeing what different centers have planned!

Jennifer Greco, Resourcer, International Shopping Centers, Foundation Recruitment

Photography - Nick Harrison

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