Our most spectacular event – ever!
Recently Merchant Taylors’ Hall was the proud venue host to Johnnie Walker’s Symphony In Blue event, produced by Done + Dusted and Bompas and Parr. Taking over all seven spaces at our historic venue, the experience, billed as ‘the world’s first theatrical, experiential, musical and artistic journey’, promised its guests a once in a life time spectacular, and it didn’t disappoint.
The first stop on the tour was a visit to the Whisky Woodland, created in Merchant Taylors’ stunning Courtyard. Guests walked across bark and moss through a thick forest of real trees towards the bar and stage where they were served JW Gold Label Reserve Cocktails and shown in a fiery demonstration how charring a case (a traditional way to seal the barrels) is carried out.
Guests were then led through into a glacial bar in The Parlour. Of all of the transformations Merchant Taylor’s rooms went through, this was the most extreme. Guests wrapped up in fur coats as they stepped into the blue-lit, chilled space where they found themselves surrounded by mountains of fake snow and real stalagmites and stalactites. Invitees were each handed a glass of 10,000-year-old iced water to accompany a shot of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. A warming treat on their polar adventure.
Next was the Whisky Weather Room (aka The Kings Gallery), where guests were invited to slip on a Mac and step into an indoor whisky cloud, a truly intense way to appreciate the full flavours of JW Blue Label. The experience was designed to celebrate the ‘wild and unpredictable Scottish weather’, thunder and lightning included.
The Drawing Room was next on the Symphony In Blue journey where guests were greeted with music played on a selection of Baccarat French crystal glasses, then through to the Library which was host to a cartoonist and a gallery showing the Johnnie Walker brand through the ages. The Court Room was transformed into a blending room, the final stop before guests were shown into the Great Hall where the dinner for 200 and the centrepiece of the event took place.
Our head chef Richard Trant worked closely with Bompas and Parr to design the menu for the evening and it was his team that were responsible for the creation of the decadent feast. Using the theme of the elements of Johnnie Walker Blue Label – fruit, spice, peat, malt, fresh, wood and the blend, the menu included Stuffed Quails’ Eggs with Sumac, Chipotle and 24 Carat Gold canapés, Poached Scottish Salmon and Lobster served with Sour Cream Caviar Sauce for main and Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve Marbled Jelly for dessert.
But, believe it or not, it wasn’t until after dinner that the main event took place. As the tables were cleared the production began. Dancers, jazz musicians, a ballerina, and Norwegian drummers to name a few, performed in the build up to the unveiling of (drumroll please) The Flavour Conductor. A multi-sensory organ with 398 pipes, 33 stops and 30 pedals designed with the idea that taste can be enhanced with sound. Guests were serenaded with fitting music as they tasted some of the Johnnie Walker whiskies. The finale of the event, as if guests hadn’t been spoilt enough, was a dance performance celebrating the brand’s logo, the striding man. Phew, what an experience! And we didn’t even get round to telling you about the 50kg ice tiger or celebrity guest Jude Law…
Mel from Done + Dusted says ‘many venues would have run a mile from an event like this as it presented so many challenges. But Rachael and her team were amazing. They never said no to any of our requests, they just helped us figure out a way to make it happen. It was a joy to work with them!’
For images of the event please see our facebook page