One of my favourite jobs in 2018 as a London corporate event photographer was shooting the story of the final two days of the Compass Box ‘The Circle’ competition in London, for Compass Box and LDR London.

I’m ashamed to say I’d not heard of John Glaser’s company Compass Box before I started the job, but they’re now my favourite whisky blenders and I’m slowly but surely working my way through their product range to find my favourite. So far I’ve tried and loved the two Glasgow varieties and their flagship The Spice Tree… pretty sure they’re all going to be ‘my favourite’ by the time I’m done.

The Circle was a competition open to bartenders around the world to create their own whisky blend, and their own cocktail using that blend, with the winner Rosey Mitchell being invited to work with Compass Box’s Jill Boyd to create her own blend called The Circle, which was finally released on June 9th this year.

The final of the competition brought six bartenders from around the world to London for a two day face-off. The first day started with a lesson from Jill Boyd about some of the key base profiles Compass Box use in their blends. First the finalists had to create their own blend to use in their own cocktail. Then, at Citizen M in Shoreditch, they had to prepare and present a cocktail using any of Compass Box’s existing blends. The second day was about refining the cocktail they’d created from their own blend, adding a name, and presenting it along with a mood-board explaining the inspiration to a panel including John Glaser himself.

Here’s some of my favourites from the first day of the final, at the Bourne & Hollingsworth building, and Citizen M in Shoreditch – and you can find a much more professional write-up of the whole competition over at my friends The Cocktail Lovers website!