Whisky brands launch playlists to enhance the drinking experience - JPHA

Whisky brands launch playlists to enhance the drinking experience

, by James Pham, 4 min reading time

Adele has persuaded Spotify to hide its shuffle button, encouraging listeners to experience her new album 30 in the order intended by the artist. 

“We don’t create albums with so much care and thought into our tracklisting for no reason,” Adele said. “Our art tells a story and our stories should be listened to as we intended.”

It appears that whisky brands are also advocates for music being played in a very deliberate sequence. Both Black Bottle and Ben Bracken have recently released playlists for a specific launch bottle and we’ve done some exploring as to the results. 

Ben Bracken

Lidl has unveiled a Ben Bracken 18-Year-Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky with a Scotchify playlist.

Nodding to the talent in the Scottish music industry, Lidl’s ‘Scotchify’ playlist has been carefully curated in line with tasting notes for the new malt from whisky expert Blair Bowman.

The playlist - featuring the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall - offers a whisky gift with a twist this Christmas. Retailing at under £40, Lidl have combined their award-winning whisky with an interactive opportunity for fans. 

Blair Bowman, Scottish Field columnist and leading whisky expert and founder of World Whisky Day, tasted the whisky prior to launch.

Bowman commented: ‘This is a unique and thoroughly enjoyable Islay single malt. With notes of sooty peat as opposed to the traditional medicinal peat, this is a dram that will appeal to peated whisky fans while also being accessible enough to appeal to those starting to explore the category.’

The playlist - titled ‘Ben Bracken 18YO’ - contains 14 tracks, with the musical whisky pairing beginning with smokey (Pictish Trail – Into The Smoke) before beeswax and floral freshness (James Yorkston – Like Bees to Foxglove) and sweet heather honey (The Jesus and Mary Chain – Just Like Honey).

On the palate, the whisky coats the mouth tingling the tongue (Elephant Sessions – Tingles) and brings in green leafy notes (King Creosote – Leaf Piece) and peat (Peatbog Faeries – Shifting Peat and Feet) before a wonderfully long, lingering finish (Lewis Capaldi – Fade).

The Ben Bracken single malt will join Lidl’s award-winning whisky line-up in all Scottish stores.

You can view the playlist on Spotify here.


Above: Ben Bracken 18-Year-Old Islay Single Malt

Black Bottle

Black Bottle take it even further, claiming that they have created the World’s first taste-altering musical playlist. 

It is based on the growing scientific field of ‘sonic seasoning’, whereby the tracks are designed to take drinkers on a journey of the senses, modifying taste perception through sound. Fascinatingly, there are recognised patterns in the existing research; high-frequency sounds enhance the sweetness in food, while low frequency promotes bitterness. 

Experimental Psychologist Oxford Professor, Charles Spence produced the collaboration alongside Black Bottle’s master distiller Brendan McCarron. 

Professor Spence said: “I am fascinated by how our brains process the information from each of our different senses to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives.

"Whisky has a distinctive taste and smell which produces a very specific multisensory reaction for drinkers. When Black Bottle approached me to partner on this experiment, I thought it would be really exciting to see how we could heighten our bodies reaction to the new Alchemy Series.”

Whisky fans worldwide can now experience the phenomenon themselves at home, by listening to the sonic tastings playlist on Spotify and downloading a how-to guide on the Black Bottle website.

Global Brand Manager for Black Bottle Craig Black said: “Black Bottle has a long heritage of experimentation through our expressions and partnerships. It has been fascinating working with Professor Spence on the impact that sound has on our tastebuds.

"The reactions that we had from the initial tastings was great and now we can’t wait to bring the experience to whisky drinkers everywhere. The sonic seasoning playlist will give whisky drinkers a truly personal experience, whilst also showcasing the layers of complex flavours within the spirit.”

Closing thought

Whether it’s paper packaging, partnerships with the arts or playlists, it’s clear that whisky brands are increasingly looking for innovative ways to attract new customers and keep loyal clients interested.

We look forward to future innovations - particularly those which claim to enhance the taste of our favourite expressions.

Looking for the perfect bottle this Christmas? Visit our website here.

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