The power of three

What do you get when you let three friends run riot through the distilleries of Scotland? A lot of fun and a cracking television series. Colin Hampden-White explains all.

The Three Drinkers Do Scotch Whisky is a three-part travel series which sees drinks writers former Whisky quarterly Editor Colin-Hampden White, Adrian Smith (head of brand partnerships at The Winerist and Independent drinks columnist) and Helena Nicklin (editor of The Winerist) journey through Scotland to learn note about Scotch whisky. It’s an irreverent romp around the Highlands and Islands, with the aim of banishing pretentiousness. It is being shown on Amazon Prime, with a potential audience of an estimated 250 million subscribers in the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan and India.

Having written about whisky for nearly ten years, I wanted to reach an even bigger audience with whom to communicate my love of whisky and television was the clear way to achieve that goal.

I immediately thought of an ideal team mate: Aidy Smith, drinks writer for the Independent. Over a dram, I chatted through my idea with him and he was excited. In turn, he suggested Helena Nicklin, a great friend of us both, and another obvious person to present with us.

Having formed our team, we set about creating a show that would be unlike any other drinks show. We are all good friends, love drinks and love travelling, so we agreed on a travelogue format. Above all, our purpose was to make the show entertaining and we agreed that the style would be as if it were shot live. You can only take people on a journey with you, to educate them about the wonders of Scotch if they are entertained; otherwise, they just turn to another channel.

As the plans for the show developed, it became clear quite how much fun we were going to have filming it. We had an excellent crew who specialise in filming live television, as they work on Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. Our incredible producer took the logistical operations off our hands, leaving us to be creative. We also had tremendous support from the brands we had asked to be involved in the show.

All round, Scotch has found itself very popular for filming this year with our programme on television and soon Dave Broom’s Amber Light production will be on screen. We were even filming at the Craigellachie on the same day as each other. Downstairs, Dave was interviewing whilst we were upstairs in the Quaich bar, filming part of our opening sequence. Lyndsey Grey, the Quaich Bar manager, did an amazing job dealing with two crews at the same time.

It has been the most incredible fun filming this four-part series and we had terrific support from so many lovely people. The whole trip was a box of delights and we hope that comes across to our audience. Even the weather gods were with us as we filmed in the most sublime sunshine I’ve ever enjoyed in Scotland.

There is nothing quite like waking up in the morning and going out into the world to do one thing: show the pleasure of drinking Scotch in its natural habitat. Not to give too much away but if we started a typical day out on Loch Ness, then continued by feeding reindeer,  tasting spectacular whiskies along the way, you can appreciate what an incredible experience we have to share.

The second series is already in development. What’s on the menu? Bourbon. Happy days.

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