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Mal Spence is first Black Bottle ambassador

Blended Scotch whisky, Black Bottle, has appointed its first global ambassador – the Scottish bar expert Mal Spence.

The Burn Stewart-owned whisky is on an ambitious roll-out plan to ensure it becomes the blended Scotch whisky of choice for the world’s best bartenders.

With more than 15 years experience tending, managing and building up the reputation of some of Scotland’s best bars, Mal brings with him a wealth of knowledge and inspiration that will help the brand achieve its aims. Mal has a close connection with Black Bottle, having created the whisky’s key simple serves and working with bartenders around the world to develop more complex cocktails.

During his career, Mal’s expertise and influence has been recognised with a number of awards and accolades – he is the only Scottish bartender to make the Havana Club Grand Prix World Final; a former SLTN Mixologist of The Year two years running; winner of Maxxium’s Liquid War competition; and industry bible Class Magazine bestowed the 2011 Best Bar Menu award for Mal’s work at the Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow.

In addition to his role with Black Bottle, which will see him visiting key markets around the world, Mal will continue to direct operations at the much-feted Kelvingrove Café in Glasgow, winner of the Best Cocktail Bar at the 2013 Scottish Bartenders Network Awards, which he helped establish in 2013.

Plans for taking Black Bottle to new audiences in its key markets around the world are well underway. The inspirational story of its creator, Gordon Graham, the striking new-look packaging first unveiled last year and the flexibility of its liquid in creating a vast array of serves, ensures Mal has a credible and quality product to present to key influencers in these markets.

Mal Spence says: “The Black Bottle ambassador job really shone out as an opportunity I just couldn’t say no to. The story of its creation and the life of Gordon Graham is a truly inspiring one among so many in Scotch whisky history and it will be a big part of the exciting and informative education plan we create for bartenders and passionate drinkers around the world.  It is all in keeping with the inspiring stories I have looked for when developing numerous drinks menus over the years.”

“Blended Scotch whisky has been unjustly forgotten by many bartenders in recent years and with its liquid profile and striking presentation, I’m confident we can encourage bartenders and drinks enthusiasts to reconsider the category and put Black Bottle into their speed rails,” adds Mal.

Welcoming the appointment, Marco Di Ciacca, global marketing manager, Black Bottle says: “It is a real coup to secure a man of Mal’s standing as our first brand ambassador. For Black Bottle to succeed, we need to be more relevant to today’s drinker. Mal’s approach to creating drinks and all-round knowledge of the on-trade will really help us engage the bartenders around the world who are the gate-keepers to many of these drinkers as we expand in many new markets.”

Having set the standard and re-energised the tradition of hotel bars with his award-winning work at Blythswood Square Hotel in Glasgow from 2009, Mal has become a leading figure of the Scottish bar industry.  Mal starts his visits to key markets this month.

25 September 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor