Living Naked: A look back at the 2018 LiBARating SWAP with Henry Philip

30 November, 2018

We spoke to Naked Grouse’s Global Brand Ambassador, Henry Philip, to hear how this year’s swap has benefited the bartender community.

What is the LiBARating SWAP all about?Naked grouse LiBARating Sawp

The LiBARating SWAP involves bartenders from different cities around the world switching locations for a four-day journey of whisky serve inspiration. This year we asked six of the best bars in the world to join us and during each swap, bartenders were immersed in different cultures, experimented with new flavours and hosted seminars on the exciting future of Scotch whisky serves.

Each exchange was also designed to help bartenders experience the city as a local would whilst learning new skills, such as specialised ice cutting masterclasses and foraging weird and wonderful new ingredients for their drinks. To inspire each seminar, host bartenders showed their visiting guests their favourite sights in unique ways, including yoga over London’s skyline, tuk-tuk tours in colourful Lisbon and segwaying around Tel Aviv.

Being a global whisky brand, we have an opportunity to connect bartenders all over the world through a mutual passion. The LiBARating SWAP asks bartenders to step outside of their comfort zones, push the boundaries of Scotch whisky, and become truly liberated in doing so.

What makes the LiBARating SWAP different to other bartender initiatives?

After a successful launch year in 2017, we recognised the potential of the bar swap to be more than a one-off experience or a competition – it’s a chance for bartenders from all over the world to connect with each other and share ideas. The programme is designed to help build a global network of bartenders who have a shared passion for Scotch whisky by offering them the opportunity to be inspired by a different city and share ideas with a new bartender community.

The 2018 LiBARating SWAP demonstrated that the future of Scotch whisky serves is exciting, full of interesting flavour combinations, and comes with a clear message: drink it however you enjoy it.”

Which new ingredients and serves have stood out to you during the swaps?

During the Edinburgh workshop hosted by Bramble, Ellen Su and Yi-Che Liao from Taipei’s Indulge Experimental Bistro and T.C.R.C introduced the local bartending community to unique Asian-inspired ingredients, including fermented winter melon and pineapple, truffle oil and ginger lily syrup.

In London, Marie Kasmi from Dandelyan made us a low ABV ‘whisky wine’ serve (Naked Grouse infused with berries and Cherry bark, Jasmine tea and Cocchi Rosa) which tasted amazing! The idea was to create a fruity drink using whisky that could be enjoyed with friends around the dinner table, and Marie wanted to show that you can create subtle whisky drinks without losing its flavour in a mixed serve.

Tell us more about the LiBARating SWAP seminars?

The seminars provide a platform for bartenders to share new ideas from their home and host cities. We hosted six seminars around the world, inviting the best bartenders from each market to come along and participate in the discussion.

In Taipei, over 80 bars attended the seminar and the event was streamed across local news channels and blog pages. It was so fascinating to see such a thirst for knowledge for Scotch whisky drinks, especially considering we were on the other side of the world!

Henry’s choice: Whisky Wine by Marie Kasmi, Dandelyan

Naked grouse infused with berries and Cherry BarkTel Aviv glass

Jasmine tea  

Cocchi Rosa

Malic Acid


What is Naked?

Naked Grouse was created to offer a whisky at its most uncomplicated. The blended malt is matured in first fill Oloroso sherry oak casks, and it is from these "naked" casks that have never held whisky before that Naked Grouse takes its name and distinctive flavour. The ageing process, along with a blend of fine single malts, results in a rich and fruity whisky with a soft spice finish.

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Naked Grouse has been awarded the following industry awards to date:

Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2018 – Chairman’s Trophy

Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2018 - Greatest Value

Ultimate Spirits Challenge - 96 points (Extraordinary Ultimate Recommendation)

San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2018 – Gold for Malt Whisky

Bartenders Brand Awards - Gold Taste 2018

Bartenders Brand Awards - Silver Design 2018

The new blended malt received five stars and the Highest Recommendation in F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal earlier this year, credited as “A spectacular blend of the finest rank” and “a tribute to the art of Scottish blending”. Naked Grouse has also been described by leading Scotch whisky critic Dave Broom as being “targeted straight at the pleasure zones.”

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