The Spirit of Style is a lifestyle e-book created by Woodford Reserve in collaboration with photographer Joshua Kissi that brings style and bourbon together as one. This partnership launches the popular spirits brand’s move into the lifestyle space.
This guide invites consumers to experience Woodford Reserve through three areas – cocktails, lifestyle, and the historic distillery, accompanied by some amazing photography from Kissi. The Spirit of Style allows a new perspective on traditional bourbon cocktails, and viewers are able to craft Woodford Reserve cocktail recipes at home by following the book’s in-depth directions.
Kissi blends rich textures, vibrant colors, and diverse audiences to tell stories and challenge the world around him. Through his work with Woodford Reserve, readers are able to learn about the art of whiskey, along with being enamored by the captivating pictures of the Ghanaian-American photographer.
“Every part of us begins with a story and to be able to humanize the process of style through the craftsmanship of Woodford Reserve seemed like the perfect collaboration to bring to life,” said Kissi. “Every detail. Every garnish. Variation of color. When people look at these photographs I want them to feel connected to how both worlds of spirits and style inspire and influence the other.”
ESSENCE: How did this collaboration with Woodford Reserve come about?
Joshua Kissi: I’m usually very selective about what brands I feel connected to. It needs to feel like a true partnership where the best parts of each party can meet in the middle to provide something that’s special.
What intrigued you about Woodford Reserve and why attach yourself to this brand?
I think what intrigued me was their connection between craft and lifestyle. It was an interesting intersect where life meets art and art meets life that initially intrigued me about the brand. We live in a world focused on immediacy and I think there’s life lessons you can take away with the fact that great outcomes take time. There’s a level of patience and self awareness that you need to have in order to endure what is to come. I felt like the Woodford Reserve brand encapsulated some of these same principles into their brand which felt like a very natural collaboration.
What are some similarities you see between the liquor and fashion industry?
The details of each garment and cocktail truly matter. I love to think of how I tell stories with nuanced details in every project I’m involved in. It’s what provides the connective tissue for individuals to relate to. In clothing from this aspect of the very fine details being able to create rich tapestries and you can find that same sort of thinking in the spirits world.
What story are you trying to tell with the photographs in Spirit of Style?
The story and photographs from the spirit of style shoot needed to feel as expressive as possible. Visually, I wanted the shoot to represent the bridge between the spirits world and the fashion world. There’s a layer of classic mixed in with modern touches. I think what I’m also known for is using color and texture to inform my storytelling in my photography. I truly wanted to be able to make the images, stories and the people behind them felt less like an ad and more like the celebration of who we are as people.