The House of Bols: the cocktail temple
The Dutch distiller has returned to its hometown to offer fans an ultra-modern sensory journey through the world of cocktails and the history of the brand.
The House of Bols opened its doors in 2007, in the historical centre of Amsterdam, a few steps away from the Van Gogh Museum and the Heineken factory. This one-hour visit takes place over two floors and through a maze of colourful rooms.
A multi-sensory experience
Visitors buy tickets at the entrance to the house and are given three tokens allowing them to drink one cocktail and two glasses of liqueur at the end of the visit.
The first room, the ‘Hall of Taste’, offers an aromatic journey during which visitors step into the shoes of a distiller to guess the flavour of the 38 Bols liqueurs. This stage is designed as an immersive game for the sense of smell: multi-coloured lights shine on the bottles while the rest of the room is bathed in a subdued atmosphere which stimulates the senses and the imagination.
The journey continues through the ‘Delfts Blue Room’, which gives visitors a unique visual experience: 88 Bols bottles in hand-painted porcelain and containing Bols Dutch gin are exposed in a bright, white room, where the atmosphere is in stark contrast to the ‘Hall of Taste’. It’s a visual journey through the history of the brand through the evolution of its bottles.
This multi-sensory journey is a colourful exploration of the Bols range, which invites people to embellish their festive moments by savouring liqueurs from the brand under the slogan: ‘Add flavour to the world’. With the aim of stimulating all the senses, Bols here adds a colour game to the flavour game, to give customers a holistic vision of the world through the brand.
A historical brand which has remained modern
Founded in 1575, Bols is the oldest distillery brand still in existence. It displays old vats from its workshop in the heart of the House of Bols, in a retro-futuristic window in dark steel, illuminated from inside by a white light which shows them off at their best.
This attachment to the history and tradition of the brand is found in other company venues, notably with the recent reopening of a distillery in the heart of Amsterdam, not far from the House of Bols, on the historic site where the company was created.
And yet the company has managed to stay up to date, as is shown by the ultra-modern interior architecture on the route, with the large bay windows, dark metal partitions and the designer furniture. By having both traditional machines and contemporary architecture, the brand shows how it integrates products through the continuation of its traditions but in a modern setting.
One of the most modern rooms in the museum is the Mirror Bar, which completes the visit with a taste of cocktails and liqueurs. This trendy room, entirely covered in mirrors, gives the impression of being an open space, in contrast to the enclosed feeling of the previous rooms. This opening to modernity is how the company chooses to finish its journey.
Teaching and friendliness, the key values
The company has opened, in the heart of the House of Bols, its own bartender school, offering training at all levels in the preparation of cocktails with Bols products. Through this initiative, the House of Bols shows that its liqueurs are professional quality alcohols which require training for their flavours to be appreciated.
The venue also offers cocktail workshops in small groups, followed by a tasting session with club music playing in the background. This offer is completed by a special price allowing people to combine the visit to the House with a trip to Amsterdam and a restaurant dinner. For the company, it’s an attempt to position themselves in a unique cultural universe, that of partying and nightlife, around the values of togetherness, conviviality and shared pleasure.
One of the rooms of the visit, the ‘World of Cocktails’ offers a 280° projection which plunges the visitor into the world of nightlife. Bols has worked hard to promote its brand in the world of social drinking and through this immersive experience show the importance placed on young people and a party atmosphere.
More evidence of the desire to invest in the night-life culture comes with Bols recently launching the first cocktail delivery service by scooter, and also offering bartenders who have qualified from their school the chance to go to Amsterdam to host an evening or a reception, using, of course, liqueurs from the house.
The experience offered by the brand through the House of Bols goes far beyond simply drinking a cocktail. It’s a friendly, festive, focused universe that is put in place surrounding tasting, with the aim of creating a rich sensory and social experience.