It’s certainly inspiring to see the projects that everyone’s favourite Global Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell gets up to these days and The Virgin Holiday Spirit sure is one of them. I’m put off by some of the word usage in the press release, but I’m going to have to keep my eyes open for a V-Room so I can have a taste of the latest spiced rum to hit the market.
The front label shows ‘Country / Barbados’, but the social media buzz mentioned it including a rum from Jamaica (specifically Worthy Park), so perhaps this is revealed on the reverse? Truth and transparency in rum is a definite plus point these days and I’m sure someone will look to take hydrometer readings soon enough. Other questions to be asked and answered relate to age components of the blend. Hopefully, the £59 RRP will reveal some decent aged stock contained within. Lots to find out about - but for now, we've the press release.
THE WORLD’S FIRST BOTTLE OF ‘HOLIDAY SPIRIT’
…YES, REALLY! *
*People seem to drink whatever they fancy on holiday and the enjoyment of that moment in Benidorm or Faliraki don’t always translate to the cold, damp realities of home, so hopes are high for this one!
Press Release: Virgin Holidays reveals the world’s first data-distilled rum; a premium (40%ABV) spirit infused with real emotions** from holidaymakers around the world.
**I’m not sure how one extracts actual emotions to use in the infusion process – not unless a James Bond-style super villain has perfected a method. That said I wouldn’t put anything past the scope of global corporations - Pete
The culmination of an ambitious project undertaken by Virgin Holidays is revealed today – an attempt to capture human emotions and create the world’s first bottle of genuine ‘Holiday Spirit’ that tastes like a holiday.
To create the bespoke rum blend, Virgin Holidays enlisted IBM’s Watson – the world’s most intelligent super computer – to analyse the thoughts and feelings of more than 15 million holidaymakers via their social posts. These emotions were then matched to thousands of rum flavour descriptors, which informed a one-off rum recipe.
The project was overseen by Ian Burrell, a leading authority on rum, to ensure that a recipe derived from artificial intelligence was distilled with complete accuracy. As the master blender, Ian meticulously replicated the emotion-infusion and the end result is a smooth, sweet and lightly spiced drink that captures the home of rum, the Caribbean.
Mark Anderson, Managing Director at Virgin Holidays, said: “We’ve long been known for creating the ‘perfect blend’ when it comes to holidays, so we set ourselves the task of translating this into something tangible. Bottling the holiday spirit, and creating a blend informed by joy, excitement, curiosity and confidence perfectly encapsulates the Virgin Holidays experience. We’d encourage any rum-lovers out there to pop into any of our v-room stores over the last week of our sale to try it while stocks last!”
Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador, added: "The Virgin Holiday Spirit has a subtle vanilla flavour, medium sweetness, hints of coconut and is naturally caressed with cinnamon and allspice. It was my first time collaborating with a super computer to create a distinct blend, so we ensured a high level of quality control to deliver a premium palette experience. Tough job but someone has to do it."
How it was done: IBM’s leading artificial intelligence platform, Watson, assessed the social media posts of over 15 million holiday makers to determine the predominant emotions felt on a holiday. Watson then analysed over 5,000 rum recipes and reviews to match the emotions to ingredients and flavours.
The data deep dive delivered the following most predominant positive emotions captured in the holiday social posts, matched against flavours in the rum reviews:
The run of 800 Virgin Holiday Spirit bottles will be available from 24 January, and stock is only expected to last for the final week of the Virgin Holidays Sale. It is available in nine key V-Room retail stores nationwide. These ground-breaking retail concepts feature a fully operational bar that will either serve the rum in a bespoke cocktail for any customers or sell a take-home bottle for £59. For more information, including a list of stores, please visit: www.virginholidays.co.uk/theholidayspirit
The Virgin Holiday Spirit is available to taste and buy at V-Rooms across the UK. V-Rooms are located at the following addresses:
- Braehead Virgin Holidays V-room Store, Unit 155, Braehead Shopping Centre, Glasgow, G51 4BS (cocktails only – not bottle sales)
- Leeds Virgin Holidays V-room Store, Leeds Trinity Ground Floor, Leeds, LS1 5AT
- Merry Hill Virgin Holidays V-room Store, Unit 59A, Upper Mall, Merry Hill Shopping Centre, Brierley Hill, West Midlands, DY5 1QX
- Trafford Centre Virgin Holidays V-Room Store, Unit 7, intu Trafford Centre, Stretford, Manchester, M17 8AA
- Bluewater, Unit U71, Upper Thames Walk, Bluewater Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, Dartford, Kent, DA9 9ST
- Bristol, The Mall, Unit UR155, East Bristol, BS34 5DG
- Lakeside, Intu Lakeside Shopping Centre, No. 269, West Thurrock, RM20 2ZP
- Meadow Hall; The Arcade, Sheffield, S91EP
- Newcastle, Intu Metrocentre, Upper Red Mall, Unit 1.03, NE11 9YG