Tag Archives: Plastic Bertrand

B for Belgian Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is B for Belgium.

First Posted April 2015

3 THINGS I LIKE ABOUT BELGIUM

The 3 things that I like about Belgium are;

1) The Music

It’s probably not what you expect from Belgium – but it made an impression on me as a young teenager – and obviously still has appeal today as it’s used in many adverts!

2) The Beer (and the glasses it comes in)

In a former life, I used to attend political meetings invariably held in rooms above pubs. A fellow comrade also came along but often refused to drink in the bar below afterwards as it wasn’t CAMRA approved. Oh how we laughed at his prescribed ways – and he back at us drinking our mass produced tasteless p**s water. When I eventually got to Belguim and sampled the outstanding array of fine beers on offer – I wanted to ring up this fore mentioned gentlemen and apologies to him.

Belgium does more beer than Scotland does whisky!

I was simply overwhelmed by the range on offer. A restaurant in Brugge I visited had a 2 page meal menu, and a 20 page beer menu! Where do you begin? On spotting a very strange glass being served to a fellow drinker – I thought I’d start there.

Kwak and glass
Kwak and glass

Wow! Kwak. A truly tasty dark beer with very strong flavours, a bit sweet, but lovely. The fact that all the beers are served in glasses unique to the brand only adds to the enjoyment. Kwak certainly has a glass to match it’s unusual taste!

3) The Whisky

What?  Belgian Whisky?

Well up until the early 2000’s there wasn’t any – but now there’s around 3 whisky distillers making the aqua vitae. I managed to get a whisky mule to bring me back a bottle.

2 (1 of 1)
The Belgian Owl c/othewhiskeynut

The Belgian Owl Single Malt is a very fine  – if slightly unusual whisky – or at least I haven’t had something like this before. It has a fruity nose as well as taste to it. Extremely enjoyable and easy to drink even at 46%. Jim Murray rates it highly and many awards have already been won. This is certainly an A whisky for me!

There is more to Belgium than it’s beer!

Sláinte

Good Logo

PS Short Eared Owl image at header c/o Sharpes birds.

PPS The Belgian Owl is now available in a variety of expressions up to and including a 5 year old cask strength bottling due this year.

 

The Wonderful World Of Whiskey Advertising

An impulse buy at my local supermarket of a whisky I hadn’t yet tried before – nor knew anything about – led me to a rather pleasing drink as well as very entertaining advertising.

William Lawson’s Blended Scotch Whisky is one of those rather plain bottles of whisky that adorn drinks shelves all over the place and I had avoided it – up until now – but as it was on offer – and I’m always on the lookout for a new taste experience – I thought I’d give it a go.

Now I believe behind every bottle of whiskey is a story waiting to be told – and this bottle certainly didn’t disappoint!

To start the whole show off I poured myself a glass – left it to breathe – and consulted my rather old edition of the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guides to Scotch Whisky compiled by none other than the esteemed Charles MacLean. It’s an encyclopedic source of information on all things related to Scotch whisky – the distilleries, their single malt releases, the blended scotch expressions, owners and bottlers as well as some associated data on sales and distribution pertaining to the year of publication – the most recent edition on amazon was 2006.

From this publication I gleaned that a bottler and blender by the name of William Lawson first created this blend in 1849. Over the years it’s base moved around a bit before settling in Coatbridge near Glasgow. To secure malt for blending the Macduff Distillery was purchased and the whole operation is under ownership of  Bacardi. So far this history resembles that of many of the other classic scotch blends which originated in the mid 19th century and are still around today – via many changes of home base and ownership.

Charles gave no tasting notes so I consulted the computer and garnished many positive remarks for William Lawson’s. At this point I gave in to temptation and had a sip. I was rather surprised by the fresh light fruity taste with no peat element at all. Very unexpected to the slightly harsh grainy/peaty flavour profile I’m accustomed to with entry level blended scotch. Mmmmmm, not bad – really rather good indeed!

Further investigation led me to a very enjoyable discovery.

Fun – frivolous – full of cliches, stereotypes and innuendo – but laugh out loud funny. Drinking this whisky was a good experience – but watching their adverts takes it to another level!

Ever wondered what was under a Scotsman’s kilt? Let William Lawson show you.

There are even different expressions of the standard blend available – sadly not at my local store – but the adverts sure are hilarious and so refreshing.

I was hooked and kept searching for more whilst tasting more of this lovely little blend.

William Lawson’s advertising department certainly don’t hold back – even to the extent of using flash mobs of finely buffed Brazilians in kilts riding horses parading down Recife dispensing whisky shots to stunned passers by. The music track used was also pretty cool – Louis XIV with their eponymous song Louis XIV.

This led me down another path – that of cool music used in whiskey promotion. Teeling used Kid Karate‘s track Louder about a minute in on their video of the pot stills arriving at Dublin for the new distillery – Teeling’s whiskey certainly tastes louder to me!

Johnnie Walker also entered the cool music charts with their Plastic Bertrand backing track hailing from Belgium whose Belgian Owl Single Malt is a very cool whisky. Johnnie Walker Black Label is a descent example of a lightly peated blend from Scotland.

In contrast – Tullamore DEW from only down the road to where I’m based have taken a more traditional theme to their ads.

Whilst Jameson from Cork have also gone down the comic route with a series funny sketches in their promotional videos.

We then get into the realm of slightly odd with this one from Canadian Club.

 

Whilst the videos from Japan dispense with the sexualisation for a more minimalist approach.

Very refreshing, and even a mythical approach?

It seems as if there is no end to the permutations the ad folks can come up with to promote your drink of choice.

To round up my peek at the wonderful and wacky world of whiskey advertising I’ll finish with a seemingly sombre and severe ad for Whyte And Mackay – another fine scottish blend if you haven’t already tried it.

So there you go.

You’ll notice all of the ads are for blends. It’s not surprising. 90% of all whiskey sold is in the form of a blend. Simply chasing the money.

You’ll also notice that most of the ads imply that drinking whiskey improves your “manliness”. Apart from the Japanese, the only other brand to show a female tasting whisky was my new friend William Lawson’s. Ironically – they also showed the male of the species as the sexualised object.

Read into them what you want – but I for one;

greatly enjoyed my glass of William Lawson’s’

found their videos absolutely hilarious and,

loved the cool music they chose as backing tracks.

Whisky dosen’t come better than that. A true smorgasbord of a sensory feast – taste – smell – mouth feel – visual delight – auditory pleasure.

Well done William Lawson’s.

Slainte

Whiskey Nut

PS

What’s your favourite whiskey video?

Send me your best shot!