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Delve into the vibrant epicentre of Colombia's capital with Chivas Brand Ambassador Maud Valmier.

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.

LIFE’S A BEACH. Travelling the globe. Check. Drinking Whisky. Check. Talking to people about whisky. Check. Experiencing local culture. Check. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it…
I sometimes have to pinch myself that this is my actual job! In my life I’ve been lucky enough to live in France, the UK, South Korea, Mexico, Germany and Colombia. I love the peaceful, beach-lined Brittany region where I’m originally from, but couldn’t wait to get out into the world and experience the buzz of the city. When the opportunity to move to Bogota arose, I jumped at the chance to go back to the chaotic city.

WHISKY BUSINESS. My history with spirits started in 2008 when I interned at a Tequila distillery in Mexico. I started working with Pernod Ricard in 2010, working in a few different roles throughout my time there, I always loved learning about the products. When it came to whisky, at first the smell made me flashback to a particular occasion I’d rather forget, so I was sure that I didn’t like it. After a blind taste test however I found my appetite for it and I’ve been a whisky drinker ever since. I’ve even tried my hand at bartending in a whisky bar in my hometown. I’m proud to say I’ve travelled the world working with my passion and love that there’s always something new to discover.

Enjoying a drink with Pedro Pascal from Game of Thrones and Narcos.

MIXING WITH STARS. Working for Chivas has given me some truly unique opportunities. In October 2016, Chivas sponsored a week-long art event called Barcú which focussed on the art of mixing. I was lucky enough to attend and whilst there met Pedro Pascal - of Game of Thrones and Narcos’ fame- which was a real fan girl moment for me!

WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE. Bogota is a city of contrasts. Old meets new on every street corner, illustrated by the unique blend of colonial and modern architecture that fills the city. The hustle and bustle is punctuated with green spaces and surrounded by a breath-taking mountain vista. It’s a fast-paced city that can be quite an adjustment if you’re not used to it, but once you have tamed the beast you discover the beauty that lies beneath the chaos.

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. One thing I’ve come to realise about the Colombian people is that their idea of timekeeping is relaxed to say the least! There will always be some that turn up on time to events, but you can easily wait 30 minutes for the rest to show up. The only thing I can do is make sure I’m on time and expect them to arrive late. I’ve just had to get used to using the sentiment ‘ahorita’ meaning now or never! As a highly punctual French person, I’m probably being a bit pedantic!

The 'Bear' cocktail from Black Bear made with Chivas Extra.

TIGERS AND BEARS! OH MY! If I’m going out over the weekend, I usually like to go out for a bite to eat and some drinks before heading to a club. Black Bear Cocina is perfect for ordering some sharing plates if you’re in a group- make sure you try the octopus! Wash it down with their ‘Bear’ cocktail made with Chivas Extra, Passion fruit, Lime and Campari. Next stop is the intimate and charming Blind Tiger speakeasy bar. You enter through a library and are transported back to the prohibition era. Sip a Chivas Sour and drink in the atmosphere!

A delicious “¡Abrete Sesamo!” cocktail at the Blind Tiger speakeasy.

COCKTAIL HOUR. Now that you’re suitably oiled, time to step it up gear. Segundo is a beautiful spot to enjoy some cocktails. The bar is decked out with amazing art that I can only dream of hanging at home and the counter seating is a great way to learn from the knowledgeable bar staff. Look out for Erin, she created the “¡Abrete Sesamo!” cocktail with Chivas 12, ginger, lime, peated whisky, sesame and a secret ingredient- I can’t recommend it enough!

Enjoying the bar seating at Segundo.

FEELING FABULOSO. Usually around 11pm I’m ready to dance, so I head to Fabuloso- a rooftop bar with an eclectic playlist. Enjoy a Chivas 12 on the rocks, or if you’re feeling peckish they have an authentic brick pizza oven so you can refuel. If you’re up for partying on into the night be warned that most venues close at 3am, but Video Club is a great way to round off the evening. The music is decidedly alternative, but my favourite room downstairs plays every kind of music imaginable – including cheese!

Plants found on Cerros de Bogota

MAKE TIME TO RELAX. It’s not all about the nightlife though, Bogota and its surrounding area have a lot more to offer for those seeking to escape the frenzy of the city. I recommend taking the time to explore nearby mountain Cerros de Bogota. Climb to the summit amidst the trees and you’ll be rewarded with incredible views of the city and lush, biodiverse landscapes. Or for a less active pursuit, try visiting Usaquen, a small village within the greater city. It’s calm, quaint and the perfect antidote to the madness of the city. My perfect Sunday is spent wandering around “Mercado de las Pulgas” flea market followed by a trip to 80 Sillas for their incredible fish of the day.

THE END. The longer I’m here the more I fall for this city. The people, the culture, the food and the diversity are what make it so special. I love the buzz but also how you can easily disconnect and explore nature right on your doorstep, making it a must-visit destination for city break addicts and nature lovers alike. I hope to stay for a while longer in Bogota and continue discovering new things both in whisky and in Colombia.

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