Bearface and One Twenty Three West go into the woods

Who: Mark Anthony Group (Bearface Whiskey), with One Twenty Three West for strategy and creative (directed by Robin Leveille).

What: “The Search for Wild,” a new campaign promoting the Bearface Wilderness Series, a new limited-edition SKU made using matsutake mushrooms. It uses a documentary style approach to tell the story of the whisky’s origins and unique distilling process.

When & Where: The campaign is in market now, running online and supported by in-store materials. There’s also a dedicated website (not designed by One Twenty Three West) at

Why: The campaign is designed to give a “sense of place” to the new whisky, said Emma McLaughlin, global marketing manager, spirits, at Mark Anthony Group in Dublin, Ireland.

In this case, it’s B.C.’s “bear country” where the mushrooms are found, “surrounded by miles of unexplored forest, mountains, rivers and lakes,” said McLaughlin.

“We wanted to take people deeper into the Canadian wilderness and beyond,” she said. “Everyone tries to tell a story through their whisky, whether it be water, peat, or any number of things. Ours is the unique Canadian wilderness and the wilder trails of whisky.

How: Shot over three days in the Monashee Mountains in the B.C. interior, the documentary style video follows Bearface’s master blender Andres Faustinelli as he forages for the mushrooms. The spot outlines how the whisky is matured in wine casks placed inside repurposed shipping containers to be elementally aged by the fluctuating temperatures.

“It was more like an expedition than a regular shoot,” said One Twenty Three West art director Marie Cermakova. “We were walking in a forest with a really small crew. It was really wild. On one morning we found bear prints on a sandy beach [a visual that provides the video’s opening shot].” The spot concludes by telling viewers that it’s “whisky made in bear country.”

What’s the deal with matsutake mushrooms, anyway? Well, according to, they are revered around the world, but especially in Japan, for their meaty texture and powerful flavour and odour. They’re most commonly found in western North America, particularly in California and the Pacific Northwest.


Chris Powell