Following the submissions of creative concepts, a tasting session, and a virtual final, the two winning bartenders in the Chairman's Spice Lab were announced and won a trip to Saint Lucia where their spice rum creations will be developed.
Having kicked off in April 2020, amid Covid restrictions around the world, bartenders from nine countries participated in this year's Spice Lab at home. In light of their creative spice rum proposals, the bartenders selected to progress to the second stage of the competition received a spice kit containing 6 spices to be added to a Chairman's rum spirit base, and could add up to three additional flavours of their choice.
The competing bartenders modified and refined their spice rum recipes, then shared their creations through social media during the 'activation phase'. Finally, the competitors submitted a sample of their spiced rum to the judges, who scored against the appearance, aroma and taste criteria.
Five finalists were selected to progress through to the final stage, which was hosted on 21st December via Zoom. Each of the finalists joined for a 1-1 session with the judging panel to present their projects and concepts behind their creations.
The jury comprised Margaret Monplaisir and Deny Duplessis (respectively CEO and Master Blender of St. Lucia distillers), Sly Augustin (bar owner of London's Trailer Happiness), François Badel (Chairman's Reserve global brand ambassador) and our very own Simon Difford. After careful consideration, the judges selected their Spice Lab champions.
A big congratulations to the two winning bartenders, Giuliana Pe Benito from the Netherlands and Zachos Kyritsis from Greece. The duo will fly to Saint Lucia in 2021, where they'll join a third local bartender and the distilling team to work on the next Chairman's Reserve limited edition Spiced Rum.
"We were pleasantly surprised by the investment and the quality of the projects presented by all the candidates, from the creation of their dossier to the final jury! The candidates have shown a lot of imagination in getting around the difficulties linked to Covid-19 and proposing activations around their spiced rums, and we would like to thank them all warmly," said Margaret Monplaisir.