Talisker names Andrew Lennie as inaugral 'Race to Skye' Champion
Diageo Reserve’s premium Scotch whisky, Talisker has named Andrew Lennie of The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in Edinburgh as the first ever ‘Race to Skye’ champion, following an intense final in the brand’s homeland, the Isle of Skye.
Launched earlier this year, the ‘Race to Skye’ competition invited bartenders from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Bournemouth, Bristol and London to create a cocktail that embodied Talisker’s ‘Made by the Sea’ campaign. The ten best from each region were selected to compete in the semi-finals before the final six were chosen to go head-to-head in the two-day final.
Andrew Lennie competed against Rebecca Bevvy of The Laundrette Group in Manchester; Dave Ali of The Finneston in Glasgow; Daniel Bovey of Be at One in Bristol; Mike Pendergast of East London Liquor Company in London; and Charles Roche from Scout also in London, during a series of challenges.
Day one started with the Loch Ness Mixer challenge. Each bartender was given five minutes to mix a long drink using a Talisker variant with two ingredients and a garnish of choice and present their creation to the panel of Diageo Reserve judges including David Sinclair, Ali Reynolds and Colin Dunn. Challenge two, Talisker Brainstorm took place during the journey to Skye, in which each contestant had two minutes to answer as many questions about Talisker as possible, testing the bartenders’ knowledge of the brand’s history and the Scotch category.
On day two, contestants travelled to the Talisker distillery to test their palates in the Map of the Skye round in which each finalist was tasked with identifying the flavour profile of four Talisker expressions, before deconstructing a Talisker serve by naming the five ingredients, including the expression used. That evening at a gala dinner, the final round saw the bartenders present their Hip Flask serve.
Each finalist had to create a drink before their journey to Skye, travelling with it until decanting it from the hip flask and serving to the judges for scoring.
As the first ever ‘Race to Skye’ champion Andrew Lennie is awarded the title of Honorary Talisker Ambassador* to support the Scotch whisky brand in telling its story and communicating the on-going Made by the Sea campaign. He will also enjoy an enhanced PR campaign to help raise his profile in the drinks industry.
Andrew Lennie commented: “I’m incredibly excited to be named the first ever ‘Race to Skye’ champion. It has been an amazing couple of days and competing in the heart of Skye has been unforgettable. It’s been a truly rewarding experience and I have learnt so much more about Talisker and Scotch throughout this journey. I’m looking forward to working with this wonderful Scotch brand to tell its rich story in my new honorary ambassador role.”
David Sinclair, Whisky Ambassador at Diageo Reserve added: “Andrew is an incredibly worthy winner and we’re delighted to welcome him into the Talisker fold. He and all of the finalists showcased their knowledge, skill and passion for Scotch and it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with them all from entry to final phase.”
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The final six ‘Race to Skye’ competitors included:
Rebecca Bevvy – The Laundrette Group – Manchester
Dave Ali – The Finneston – Glasgow
Andrew Lennie – The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen – Edinburgh
Daniel Bovey – Be at One – Bristol
Mike Pendergast – East London Liquor Company – London
Charles Roche – Scout – London