New-world whisky

04 : 07 : 2016 London : Bar : Whisky

London – Black Rock is a subterranean whisky bar designed to make the liquor more accessible.

  • Unlike in most bars, whiskies at Black Rock are ordered by flavour not provenance
  • The goal is to demystify whisky and make it a more understandable drinking exerperience
Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin
Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin
Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin
Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin
Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin Black Rock, London. Photography by Addie Chin

Black Rock, founded by Tom Aske and Tristan Stephenson, the duo behind Worship Street Whistling Shop, has more than 250 whiskies available, but they don’t sit behind the bar as you might expect. Instead, they are stored in cabinets with labels such as Balance or Fragrance.

This method of organising the whisky moves away from the traditional sorting by region or by brand, and enables whisky novices to approach the drink with something they understand: flavour. ‘If you are a [whisky novice] brand names don't mean anything,’ Aske tells LS:N Global. ‘People understand flavours that they like.’

The centrepiece of Black Rock is an 18-feet table made from 185-year old English oak. Two channels have been carved into the oak, lined with American and European oak and covered with a glass top. Drinkers can sip their whisky while the ageing process happens beneath their glass, in the channels where the Black Rock team ages whisky cocktails as well as their own house blend.

The Big Picture

Black Rock abandons tradition in favour of creating a drinking experience that focuses on discovery. For more on why consumers are favouring serendipity over predictability, see our Revelation Brands macrotrend.

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