THE CHIVAS BRAND AMBASSADORS are located in various countries around the world, and their job is to inspire people with their youthful enthusiasm around Chivas Regal and Scotch whisky. Explore the unique contrasts and venues in different cities through the eyes of those whose job is to know the best.
BACK TO MY ROOTS. Landing the role of Chivas Brand Ambassador was a triumph in itself, but for me it meant so much more. I was assigned to Luanda, Angola – my birth town and country of origin, which I had left when I was only five years old to move to Lisbon with my family. The chance to reacquaint myself with my place of birth as the representative of such an iconic brand was an opportunity I grabbed with both hands.
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM, JOIN THEM. Upon my return to Luanda, I had obviously forgotten about the small inconveniences that somewhat hinder your day to day life, such as the occasional power cut and daily traffic jams. As you can imagine, being the Brand Ambassador for the world’s first luxury whisky requires lots of to-ing and fro-ing from tastings and events to office meetings and new product launches. For this, I had to get used to navigating the insane traffic jams that made it almost impossible to plan in advance and stick to schedule at first.
LIVE FOR THE MOMENT. Despite a host of difficulties on a socioeconomic level, not to mention a 27-year civil war that ravaged the country and only ended in 2002, I have never seen a people so optimistic about the future. Not knowing where the next hurdle is going to come from is enough to make Angolans live each moment to the fullest. They are relaxed and easy-going, celebrating life through music and dance, both of which are deep-rooted in the culture as well as serve to bridge the gaps between social classes.
Drive through the capital and you're sure to notice the gulf between rich and poor.
FAMILY VALUES. Family is at the centre of Angolan values, so much so that Sunday is always family day. Without fail, every Sunday is spent bonding with your nearest and dearest, coming together in one family member’s home to eat, drink, chat and dance the week’s troubles away.
LESSONS LEARNED. I’ve always had a passion for learning and as much as I teach people about whisky, I do learn a great deal in return. Being Chivas Brand Ambassador taught me the importance of human contact, communication and connection, as well as how to be a better listener. Interacting with all sorts of people from different social classes, age groups and genders was challenging, and I learnt early on how to adjust my approach and language, depending on who I was speaking with. These are lessons I’ll take with me for the rest of my life, and ones that will help on both a personal and professional level.
Palm trees line the shores of Angola, while mango trees grace the pavements.SKYSCRAPERS AND MANGO TREES. Luanda is a city full of surprises, where you can find a blend of cultures from African ethnicities to Europeans and Latin Americans. This melting pot of cultures is evident in its influence on Angola’s architecture, cuisine, and music. Built around a bay, the city’s major reconstruction is apparent through the clusters of skyscrapers that stand tall just a stone’s throw from Luanda’s most beautiful beaches. Brand new apartment blocks lie just a kilometre away from the ghetto, where makeshift houses are made from tin. Portuguese-style pavements feature local musicians playing Samba (traditionally Brazilian music) with a twist. Palm trees line the shores, while mango trees are peppered throughout the capital.
Nature lovers and sunset seekers flock to Cabo Ledo for an escape from the city.CHASING THE SUN. The sunsets here are the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen – and therefore, what I consider one of Luanda’s most iconic attractions. For this, head to Cabo Ledo, a large bay just south of Luanda and surrounded by the Kissama National Park. Nature lovers and surfers flock to Cabo Ledo to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. On the way to Cabo Ledo, stop at Miradouro da Lua (“moon viewpoint”) and whatever you do, make sure you bring your camera. If you’d prefer to stay in Luanda and can’t fathom watching the sun set without a lip-smacking drink to complete the experience, Miami Beach is the place for you. Located off the shore of Luanda on a spit called Luanda Island, Miami Beach resembles the laid-back beach bars of, you guessed it, Miami Beach, and is one of the city’s oldest venues.
Make sure you bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views from Miradouro da Lua.FUSION MEALS. Luanda is a city that’s in constant motion, so you’ll always find new venues, bars and restaurants popping up around town. Two of my favourites are part of the same group and conveniently situated in the same building: Oon.Dah and Doo.Bahr. Start off your night at trendy Oon.Dah for the most delectable fusion Asian food, where every item on the menu is excellent, from the tender Wagyu beef to the freshest sushi. I’d recommend the Sizzling Thai Chicken and Basil, which pairs really well with a refreshing Chivas Sour.CLASSIC COCKTAILS. On to Doo.Bahr, just a floor up from Oon.Dah. Interestingly, most venues in Luanda don’t specialise in cocktails, which makes Doo.Bahr a rarity. Make sure you dress the part as this is one exclusive nightspot that needs to be booked in advance. The great music here will get your feet moving as this cocktail lounge transforms into a club as the night goes on. The Chivas cocktails are made to perfection at Doo.Bahr, and I always go for the Old Fashioned, an all-time classic for a classy night out.
THE END. Luanda’s vibes and atmosphere are hard to replicate, and I’ll definitely miss the city that feels like home once again. Driving through the capital, you’re sure to notice the mixture of cultures as well as the gulf between rich and poor, but just as obvious is the ambition to keep on moving forward. With the civil war ending not too long ago, Luanda is currently experiencing a rebirth of sorts. Now’s as good a time as any to witness this renaissance for yourself.