Ever since the invention of the electric guitar in the 1930’s there has been a close relationship between the world of music – as originally played by black bluesmen like John Lee Hooker – and the world of whiskey
Right through to the Jack Daniel’s fueled tales of the recently deceased Lemmy – though I would prefer the Mackmyra produced whisky bearing the Motorhead name,
And the alcoholic excesses of Irish band The Pogues who have also entered the Whiskey Hall Of Fame by having a tasty Irish blend named after them from West Cork Distillers,
Whiskey is associated with rock ‘n’ roll.
Meanwhile back in the 80’s a new musical phenomenon exploded on the scene inspired by a plastic box of electronic wizardry and a different type of drug.
The Roland 808 became a central plank in the development of dance music. So much so it has become an iconic instrument almost as revered as Lemmy’s Rickenbacker bass.
There is even a new film released featuring many of the famous artists who used the 808 in making their music.
The ever changing styles of music and drugs means there is an opening for the more traditional forms of intoxication – as the lyrics of The Far East Movement’s hit ‘Like A G6’ show.
A drinking culture obviously exists in the electronically inspired music scene too. A culture that needs to forge a new identity with new brands for it’s own fulfilment.
One company that’s trying to fill that need is 808drinks.
Now to many people – electronic music is soulless and lacks character.
Grain whisky – when it first appeared in the late 1800’s after the invention of the Coffey Still by Irishman Aeneas Coffey – was also similarly derided as ‘The Silent Spirit’ by the dominant distilleries of the time.
Oh how history is cruel on those who don’t adapt.
Grain whisky is the main ingredient in blended whisky which make sales of up to 90% of the market.
The overarching genre of dance music hasn’t reached that dominance over rock – but is did cross over into mainstream as shown by the 1986 Run DMC / Aerosmith hit collaboration.
808 Whisky is also a collaboration between established icons of Scottish Whisky like Jonathan Driver – formerly of Diageo but now at Whyte & Mackay – the massive North British Distillery in Edinburgh and long standing DJ Tommy D who helped create the sounds for many a famous artist.
Being made for a different audience 808 Whisky bucks the trend.
It’s a blended grain whisky.
It has ‘Chill Filtered For Purity’ emblazoned on it’s trendy designer label.
So can it live up to the ‘808 BOOM’ much loved by musicians?
To start with it’s a light straw colour. This is good in my book as there’s no obvious signs of added caramel.
For me – there wasn’t much going on in the nose however – apart from a subtle sweetness and that grainy smell. Again – no real surprise there.
The taste was rather soft – mellow – and surprisingly smooth. I’ve had many a cheap blend that burns your palate on the first mouthful. Not so with 808 Whisky. A delicate well balanced grain taste.
I actually enjoyed the warm feeling as it slid down.
This grain whisky is an easy to drink – inoffensive – light dram.
Many a distilleries standard blend would also fit this description – and they sell in their thousands – so it’s in good company here.
Personally I’d like something a bit more – well – ‘In Yer Face’ to allow me to showcase yet another 808 inspired tune.
But then I’m not part of the core customer profile this whisky is aiming at – which is possibly younger and more experimental than me.
808 Whisky would make an excellent mixer drink due to it’s soft mellow profile.
It would also make an excellent easy to drink shot to fuel your funkiest moves on the dance floor.
808 Whisky may not yet have the iconic status of it’s namesake synthesiser Roland 808 -but it does combine my passion for music and my passion for whiskey in a wonderful way.
I wish 808 Whisky all the best for it’s bold combination and unusual style resulting in an easy to drink smooth and satisfying blended grain whisky.
Now that’s ‘Something Good’ as Utah Saints used to say.
PS I’d just like to thank The Whisky Lady for bringing my attention to 808 Whisky and allowing me to indulge in my musical mayhem whilst enjoying a whisky or two.
Update: Since writing this blog 808 Whisky has morphed into a Single Grain Whisky. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to sample the new expression. Whiskey Nut 8/08/18