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The week in pictures

Islay single malt whisky brand Smokehead got fans all revved up on Tuesday with the unveiling of motorbike The Smoker.

Created with the help of craftsman Tyler Lunceford, the motorcycle was unveiled on 12 November at The Bike Shed in Shoreditch, London.

Bike blogger ‘Motobob’ hosted a Q&A with Lunceford, while Smokehead provided a selection of cocktails made from a range of expressions, including Smokehead, Smokehead High Voltage and Smokehead Sherry Bomb.

On Tuesday night, SB headed over to Kew Gardens for a rather special dinner with Distell-owned liqueur brand Amarula.

Dinner guests had the pleasure of hearing Dr Paula Kahumbu, CEO of Wildlife Direct, deliver an opening speech, detailing the crucial work she and her team does to protect African elephants and clamp down on poaching.

Dr Kahumbu revealed an African elephant dies every 15 minutes as a result of poachers, who kill the animals for their ivory tusks and teeth.

Amarula donated £100 to elephant conservation on behalf of each person who attended the event.

Best known as one of the original cast members of British TV show Made in Chelsea, Spencer Matthews revealed his entrepreneurial side this week with the launch of The Clean Liquor Company.

Matthews hosted a celeb-filled bash in London on Tuesday night, which saw the likes of Pippa Midleton and fellow Made in Chelsea star Jamie Laing in attendance.

The event revealed the first product from the new low- and no-alcohol firm, created after Matthews decided to go sober: Clean Gin.

Described as an “ultra-low” alternative to gin – which must have a minimum alcoholic content of 37.5% ABV as required by EU law – Clean Gin has been bottled at 1.2% ABV.

Bartender Simon Dacey of Trailer Happiness in London fought off stiff competition to be crowned the UK champion of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge.

Dacey impressed judges with his two cocktails, called the Queen’s Park Hollow and Eye of the Hurricane. He will represent the UK in the global final, set to take place in Trinidad and Tobago in February 2020, with 36 countries competing.

The UK judging panel comprised Stu Hudson, co-founder of Forgotten Hospitality consultancy and winner of the first UK heat of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge; Ian Burrell, world rum ambassador; Guy Holdsworth, senior buyer for Master of Malt; and Rory Gilles, of The Bonneville Cocktail Collection.

This week, gin fans gathered at Trade Soho, London, for a tasting with Martin Miller’s Gin.

The brand unveiled the new Martin Miller’s 9 Moons Solera Reserve, which has been aged in French oak barrels, rather than charred American oak Kentucky Bourbon barrels.

Guests were also able to get a sneak preview of the 26 Moons Barrel Aged Gin, a limited edition bottling that will launch in select on-trade venues in 2020. The single cask expression has been matured for 26 months in ex-Madeira oak barrels in Iceland.

On Thursday, The Spirits Business team headed to the Ice Bar in Soho, London, to judge the inaugural Spirits Business Awards. Categories spanned everything from Spirits Retailer of the Year and Spirits Bottler of the Year, to Innovation in Production and Young Achiever Award.

The results will be revealed at an awards ceremony in London on Monday 2 December. For further information about attending the awards ceremony, please contact Rhiannon Morris:

Tennessee whiskey brand Uncle Nearest named a new master blender this week – thought to be the first African-American person to gain the title.

Taking up the role is Victoria Eady Butler, the great-great-granddaughter of the whiskey brand’s namesake, Nearest Green – and the first African-American master distiller.

Butler will be responsible for overseeing the blending of all batches of Uncle Nearest 1884 and Uncle Nearest 1820 whiskeys.

Scottish distillery Tamdhu has been shortlisted for the Scottish National Heritage Business Award at the Nature of Scotland Awards 2019.

Presented by RSPB Scotland and co-sponsored by Scottish National Heritage, Tamdhu has been recognised for its fish pass project, which is a collaboration between the distillery, biologists from the Spey Fishery Board and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes also entered the world of spirits this week with the launch of a rum, created in partnership with English Spirit, which runs production sites in Essex and Cornwall.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ Great British Rum was made by adding different types of wood to the still during distillation. The spirit is not aged after distillation.

Dr John Walters, master distiller at English Spirit, used wood from various destinations that Sir Ranulph has travelled to during his adventures, such as sequoia from Canada, pine from Norway and date palm from Oman.

Isle of Arran Distillers expanded its team this week by appointing David Livingstone (pictured right) as the company’s new distillery manager at its Lochranza site.

Furthermore, James MacTaggart (pictured left) has moved into the role of director of production and operations for both the Lochranza and Lagg distilleries.

Livingstone previously worked at the Laphroaig distillery on Islay and will take up his new position from December.

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