From bartender to brand manager, Pierre-Marie Bisson has had quite the career. Here, we learn more about his work and his relationship with Scotch whisky.
What have been the highlights of your professional career and how did you find your calling as a brand ambassador?
After 14-plus years in the bar industry, transitioning to a brand ambassador role seemed too product-focused for me. However, a conversation with a friend who had shifted from bartending to Compass Box whisky operations altered my perspective. Having worked closely with the brand in the UK, things evolved organically.
I recently presented a new limited-edition release in a 100-year-old dancehall in Berlin that had been untouched since the Second World War. You never know where this job will take you.
What sets Compass Box whisky apart from the competition?
At Compass Box, we see ourselves as Scotch “whiskymakers” — a word we invented. To us, a “whiskymaker” is someone who asks questions and isn’t afraid to challenge or to experiment. Therefore, they are different from a distiller but more than a blender.
We are excited by new production processes, unusual combinations of flavors and innovative ways of sharing and enjoying great whisky. We believe what we do is a creative art, combining elements in ways that are sometimes surprising and even exciting. Every person who works at Compass Box is, in their own way, a “whiskymaker.
What are the latest trends shaping the whisky industry?
It feels as though whisky goes through cycles. For instance, from a cycle of focusing on distilling, to a cycle of focusing on blending. Compass Box helped to bring about the current cycle that champions blending. Thus, showcasing with every bottle that the result can be far more complex and delicious than the parts. There are many new brands creating incredible blends and consumers are more open to exploring. Nonetheless, what I love about our brand is that anything is possible. So, there is no bad idea. I like to think that in some way, we have always been ahead of the trends.
Is there any news you would like to share with our readers?
We just launched the third release in our Extinct Blends Quartet, METROPOLIS. We hear so much about whiskies being coveted from extinct distilleries, but stills can be fired back up, mashtuns refilled. However, blends encapsulate a unique juncture: shaped by ideas, individuals and the whisky reserves of that precise period. The Extinct Blends Quartet looks to pay homage to some of the blends that have been lost to time. April marks the release of the fourth installment, paying homage to the blend once hailed as “the choice for single malt enthusiasts.” But enough said for now!