The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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august 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  55 A s a Scotsman, I was lucky enough to spend five years in the amazing climate of Southern California. There, I quickly got hooked on paddleboarding, on the ocean, rivers and flat water. I got some funny looks when engaging in conversations while waiting for a wave, as I don't think it is every day a SoCal surfer meets a Scotsman on a paddleboard! Paddleboarding and Scotch whisky are a great match. However, I must stress that the Glenfiddich should always be enjoyed after the paddle boarding. For me, the drinking of Scotch is a very social activity; there is nothing better than sharing a special moment with a group of people, then reminiscing about it over a dram. This was my reasoning for getting Glenfiddich into this increasingly popular sport, and through this, I started a relationship with a company called Riviera Paddlesurf. The partnership was a very natural one, as Glenfiddich is one of the few family-run distilleries left in Scotland and Riviera is a family-run business fronted by two brothers, Brandon and Taylor Rambo, who make paddleboards out of San Clemente, California. Having now moved away from California to the shores of North Carolina, I find myself in a more relaxed envi- ronment that lends itself to sitting around after paddle- boarding and talking over a Glenfiddich around a fire. So for my Glenfiddich collaboration, I looked to something I am passionate about—I asked the Rambo brothers to create me a bespoke Glenfiddich paddleboard. So my collaboration idea is a very simple one: Firstly, I got a group of friends together to meet and go for a relaxing paddle around late evening. After this, we pulled the boards out of the water and started a campfire; I poured out some Glenfiddich 14 Year Old and dropped in some pre-prepped ice cubes that had been infused with bitters and sugar, creating a slow-diluting Glenfiddich Old Fashioned. For me, this is the ideal way to enjoy a dram of the world's most awarded single malt Scotch whisky. I look forward to seeing your collaborations, and for the lucky few who prove they have what it takes . . . I'll see you in Scotland! Mitch Bechard (right), National Brand Ambassador, Glenfiddich, enjoys a dram with friends near his home in North Carolina. For his collaboration, Mitch has created a serve in partnership with paddleboard makers Brandon and Taylor Rambo. Do you fancy yourself the World's Most Experimental Bartender? If you think you fit the bill, go online at for more details about the competition and infor- mation on how to enter, or send an email to with your idea for a collaboration. The deadline is September 14th with 10 selected winners going to the U.S. final in NYC on September 29th, and then, the final three travel to the Glenfiddich distillery on November 7th, so fire up your imagination!

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