This week we were honoured to be invited to the opening of Diageo’s World Class House 2014 at Fitzrovia Square. It’s a chance for all the Diageo Reserve brands to come together under one roof and really show why they are classed the best of the best…
We arrived promptly to be greeted by the lovely staff before making our way to the ground floor bar for a special Ron Zacapa cocktail which is almost a twist on an old fashioned with pistachio liqueur (allergy people beware!)
From here we were told about the evenings festivities and how each brand had taken over a different area of the house and it was our job to discover them all…
Thinking ahead and assuming we’d maybe consuming a fair (but responsible) amount of alcohol we opted to start at the highest floor and work our way down… So we took ourselves to the top floor resisting the temptation to stop of in the other rooms on the way to the Haig Club whisky room where brand ambassador Doug was kind enough to take us through the production process of how they get to the product we had in front of us. It’s not available till October so that’s as much as we can tell you right now but as soon as we have more info we’ll report back to you!
From there on Doug led us back downstairs to the basement (and with that out the window was our plan to only walk down the stairs once!) to the Johnnie Walker Blue Label screening room.
Here we were able to kick back with a glass of blue label and learn about the different flavours that make up the famous whisky brand. To help pick out the different flavours and notes within Johnnie Walker Blue Label Diageo have created a unit (which was has been specially shipped over from Singapore) that has the element broken out and bottled so you can smell them individually between each sip. All we can say is… What. A. Liquid. This has gone straight to the top of the Cut The Cap wish list!
We were then treated to an exclusive preview of the Gentleman’s wager starring Jude law and Giancarlo Giannini. The featurette has jazz music, dancing and the coolness that is Jude Law all coming together to create a ‘Symphony of Blue’.
While we watched the short film, which will be entered into the Venice Film Festival, we sipped on Blue Label and nibbled on branded popcorn – there are worse ways to watch a film that’s for sure.
Once the show was over, it was time to shoot back to the first floor to visit one of our all time favourites… yep you guessed it, Ron Zacapa. When we were arrived we were blindfolded and led to a seat before the talk began. It was all very ’50 shades of grey’ except it was like Mr Grey who was the one being teased.
The session began with being handed the iconic band on every bottle, and asked to feel the detail of the material, while the voice in the headphones explained how each band is individual and contains a code that relates back to the lady who made it in Guatemala.
We were then told to take off our blindfolds to reveal we were in a Ron Zacapa rainforest surrounded with iconic branding around the room. In keeping with the level of detail we come to expect we were also told that they had worked with a company to ensure the smell of the room reflected the Guatemalan rainforest!
We were introduced to Rebecca who is the Global Brand Ambassador for Ron Zacapa (is there a better job than that?!) as she explained more about the process of making Ron Zacapa. In front of us was a tray containing molasses which is used in most rum production, and also a plate of virgin sugar cane honey which is used for Ron Zacapa. After trying both samples of honey there was also a specially created chocolate which had been made with famous chocolate maker Rococo. To top the session off there was a glass of the good stuff. Ron Zacapa 23 which we could sip on.
For some of the Zacapa virgins that were in the room, you could see their eyes light up from their first ever sip. A feeling we remember very well.
To end the session we were also handed a little goody bag containing a miniature bottle of Ron Zacapa 23, a selection of more Rococo chocolates and information on how to create a Ron Zacapa Old Fashioned.
We caught up with UK ambassador and friend of Cut The Cap Dan Dove who was on hand to answer any questions.
After we left it was time to venture back to the basement (so much for the strategic thinking) to check out the Don Julio hidden speakeasy…
Through the travel agents we went and down the back streets of Mexico (seriously this house is crazy-good) and into speakeasy for some fine tequila and spicy food canapes.
The bartenders were mixing up some classic margaritas and well as offering their own spin on the old fashion which included a coconut infused ice ball! Its hard to choose between all the rooms as to which one was the best but this certainly had a great bar vibe to it and probably worked out for the best that we visited towards the end of the evening.
Back up stairs one more time(!) to Ketel One vodka for a sonic-drinking experience. With headphones on and eyes open we were taken on a sensory journey tasting 4 different types of vodka and then seeing how the 4 F’s (we’ll leave you do discover these are) changed when sound and light were introduced in different ways – we may have been non-believer at the beginning but it was amazing how these elements affect taste!
Like all good (World Class) house parties we ended up in the kitchen at the end of the evening with premium cocktail equipment suppliers Alexander & James to learn how to make the perfect Martini… naturally, even if a little cliche, we opted for shaken-not-shirred.
We were like kids in a candy store and we suspect you’ll be the same… with so much to see, do and experience you’ll be crazy not to head down for a look! World Class House is open until Sunday August 3rd – tickets are available here and need to be pre-purchased, oh and you must be over 21!
**Sneak preview available here, credit to @wilkes888**