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The Fashion Geek Podcast

84 | Whisky, Tartans & Kilts: A Sip Of Scotch With Simon Brooking From Beam Suntory

So when you think of Scotch, do you think of fashion? Reg does and I think Simon does too. Host Reg Ferguson interviews Simon Brooking, Senior Scotch Ambassador at Beam Suntory at Copper and Oak bar in New York City's Lower East Side (LES). So, is scotch a fashionable drink? What's your favorite scotch? Do you know your tartan? Have your ever worn a kilt? Do you own a kilt?

Guest Links


00:00 The Misunderstood World of Scotch Whiskey
00:27 Meeting the Fashion Geek and Whiskey Expert
01:26 Diving Into Men's Fashion and Confidence
02:21 Exploring the Rich Heritage of Scotch Whiskey
04:11 The Art of Enjoying Whiskey: Tips from an Expert
11:24 A Deep Dive into Whiskey Tasting and Appreciation
15:00 The Intricacies of Whiskey Production and Maturation
35:56 Pairing Whiskey with Food: A Culinary Adventure
39:12 Crafting the Perfect Blend: The Art of Whiskey Making
39:53 A Toast to Tradition: Celebrating with Laphroaig
40:18 Exploring the Island's Distinct Flavors
41:01 The Heart of Laphroaig: Peat's Role in Whiskey
41:22 From Barley to Bottle: The Whiskey Making Process
44:38 Tasting the Classics: Laphroaig's Signature Whiskeys
53:49 The Royal Warrant: Laphroaig's Prestigious Recognition
55:40 Friends of Laphroaig: A Unique Bond with Fans
58:08 The Barrel Exchange: A Tradition in Whiskey Aging
01:04:22 The Kilt Experience: Embracing Scottish Heritage
01:11:33 Clan Ferguson: Exploring Roots and Traditions

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Reginald Ferguson [00:00:00]: Now why do you feel that Scotch whiskey is much maligned? Simon Brooking [00:00:04]: Well, because for me, I've been in the business for 27 years now, and 90% of America broke into their father's liquor cabinet when they were 12, drank a bottle of Scotch, and swore never to touch it ever again. That's what I'm up against. Reginald Ferguson [00:00:18]: I'm Reg Ferguson, and I'm a fashion consultant from New York City, born and raised. I've been helping men look fly for years. And now, I wanna help you learn more about menswear, the entrepreneurs, the brands, and top fashion tips on The Fashion Geek Podcast. I'm not the biggest whiskey drinker, but I do like having to taste as my grandpa used to say. I'm not an expert. I'm not a connoisseur. But I am an adult, and I like to have adult drinks. One funny thing is, if you're buying a suit from a custom tailor or a high end department store nowadays, you usually offer to drink and a bar cart isn't far behind. Reginald Ferguson [00:01:06]: Do you even know all the bottles on Reginald Ferguson [00:01:08]: the cart? Scotch is dear to my heart. Why? Reginald Ferguson [00:01:13]: Well, it's part of my bloodline. My last name is Ferguson, which is Scottish. So due to the wonderful institution of slavery, this is part of my heritage, and I wear it well. Now, let's go to the Reginald Ferguson [00:01:28]: fashion side. You can't talk about Scotch or Scotland without talking about cartons. Cartons? Reginald Ferguson [00:01:37]: No. Tartans or kilts? I love tartans. The The colors, the patterns. Do you have a favorite tartan? I have 6. Want to learn more? Take a listen. Hanging out here at Copper and Oak, waiting for Simon Brooken, the Whiskey expert here in the low east side. Here comes my man. I can hear him as he approaches. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:18]: Simon, Reggie, thank you for doing this. Simon Brooking [00:02:22]: Oh, it's great to Reginald Ferguson [00:02:23]: be here. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Really, really, really appreciate you doing this Simon Brooking [00:02:26]: for me. Yeah. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:27]: You're looking really sharp, bro. Thank you Simon Brooking [00:02:28]: very much. Well, I've got a little something for you. What? A pool stick? It's a surprise. Hold on to it for later. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:42]: I don't think this is a pool statement. Simon Brooking [00:02:44]: You want, let's go ahead. Alright. Reginald Ferguson [00:02:49]: Yo. This is Reg Ferguson, fashion geek number 1. How are you? Welcome to the ride. Thank you so much for listening. I'm a men's fashion consultant here in New York City and I help men go from fashion confused to fashion confident. If you ever found yourself staring at the closet, not knowing what to wear, or if the idea of shopping for clothes makes you feel physically ill, then this is the show for you. My goal with every episode is to help make looking good feel easy. If you ever want my help, email me at for our consultation. Reginald Ferguson [00:03:24]: If you have a friend who's looking to level up his fashion style wardrobe game please share an episode with them. While you're at it, if you dig the show and haven't already left us a review and a rating please consider doing so now. Your shares ratings and reviews help us grow the show and help us get the best possible guests and help more men dress their best. Today we're gonna talk with Simon brooking who is a senior ambassador of scotch heritage at Beamstone Tour, I didn't even know that was a thing. And we're here at Copper and Oak here in New York City, Manhattan, the LES Lower East Side and we're gonna talk about something the everyday man should have an interest in. Why should we be so interested in Scotch Whiskey? Well, I don't know Simon. It's up for you to tell us but hey, Simon is in the building. How are you sir? Very good. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:20]: Good to be here. Simon Brooking [00:04:21]: Thanks for having me. Reginald Ferguson [00:04:22]: Oh, no. No. Thanks for inviting me into this wonderful bar. Big shout out to Copper and Oak and Huna who was so gracious to give us this time, we're here on the off period. So before we go into our topic, Simon, please tell us, So what do you do? So what do you what do you do? Simon Brooking [00:04:54]: Well, I represent 5 of the single malt scotches from the Beam Suntory portfolio. Aukantoshan from the Lowlands, Glengeary and Ardmore from the Highlands, and Laphroaig and Bommore from the island of Islay. Reginald Ferguson [00:05:09]: He knows that I actually have a connection with one of those islands so maybe we'll talk about that later so I want to be very clear and sama already knows this because we've met before. I am a nafe to all these things. And I just think it's wonderful that they literally have someone like yourself who, you know, just to let you know, ladies and gentlemen, he's not just a mayor ambassador. He's won this award, what 7 years in a row, like they have this thing. It's amazing. So I really think for myself and for the listener, Simon, talk us through all of this. Simon Brooking [00:05:49]: Absolutely. Well, scotch is a is a can be a much maligned spirit, but appreciated by the world over. It is unique, it is versatile, it has tons of flavor, but a lot of times people are, they they have a hard time just understanding the variety that's out there. A lot of people feel like it just burns, but there are ways to enjoy. I think you you can find a whiskey for everybody, and there's a whiskey waiting for you, Reggie. As we go through the tasting today, we're gonna taste whiskies, from the, Highlands of Scotland as well as from the Islands of Scotland. And the regions will impact the style and flavors of the spirit due to the climate, and the historical aspects of whisky production in Scotland. Reginald Ferguson [00:06:42]: Now why do you feel that Scotch whisky is much maligned? Simon Brooking [00:06:47]: Well, because for me, I've been in the business for 27 years now and 90% of America broke into their father's liquor cabinet when they were 12, drank a bottle of Scotch and swore never to touch it ever again. That's what I'm up against. So, for me, it's by my challenge is showing people the ways to enjoy whiskey. When I say whiskey, I mean Scotch, and that could be a blended Scotch or a single malt Scotch. There are ways to appreciate these fine spirits, just little tricks that we do that, just help, help you find the different flavors that you enjoy in the whiskeys. Reginald Ferguson [00:07:28]: Well for someone like me who truly doesn't have a palate, how does one start? Simon Brooking [00:07:33]: Well, first of all, go to your local pub, your local bar, your local whiskey bar. Copper and Oak is a great example. It's a beautiful place. The folks here at Copper and Oak, Tomo, and his crack staff, are very knowledgeable in the category. And ask your bartender what recommendations can you make. And a lot of times the question that they will ask of you is, well, what do you normally drink? You know, what is your drink of fashion? Do you want something similar to that? Or do you want something polar opposite? Because, you can find different flavors that are familiar flavors in the whisky, because, for example, we age in majority of the casks in Scotland are bourbon barrels. Reginald Ferguson [00:08:25]: Yeah, I read. I saw. Did some research. Simon Brooking [00:08:27]: Yeah. So there are elements of the bourbon notes, the vanilla, the caramel notes, the sweetness, the coconut notes coming from the bourbon barrels, that people will identify with when they're tasting single malt Scotch. The other the other option is in terms of maturation are the casks or also sherry casks, which were predominant during the 19th century, when sherry was a drink of fashion. So the, whiskey producers took those sherry casks and, used them to transport their whiskey to market. And those sherry casks imparted flavor into the whiskeys. So, if you are a wine drinker, I recommend sherry casked, to the mall scotches. Reginald Ferguson [00:09:21]: That makes sense to me. There's a power, though. Simon Brooking [00:09:23]: Yeah. Yeah. So there's a lot of different ways to enjoy whiskey. Neat on the rocks, splash of water, as a cocktail. Scotch actually became popular in the latter part of 19th century when sherry was a drink of fashion but the phylloxera plague, this beetle wiped out all the vineyards of France so there were no grapes available so there was no brandy available. So that's when Scotch and soda became the drink Reginald Ferguson [00:09:51]: of fashion. Simon Brooking [00:09:52]: Oh. And that's, because the British Empire at that point stretched throughout the world. That's when Scotch really took off. So, we'll raise a glass to that beetle here this afternoon. Otherwise, we'll be drinking brandy. I much rather be drinking the whiskey. Now, Reginald Ferguson [00:10:09]: spoiler alert. I'm a former bartender here in New York City. Simon Brooking [00:10:12]: Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:10:13]: And though I don't claim to know a lot about whiskey, right? I'm very humble about all of this. The one thing I know about any type of high level spirit is generally in my mind you want it neat or on the rocks and you don't want it as a mixed drink. Now the one you referenced, scotch and soda to me, that's one of the great simplicities of a mixed drink. My my point is what is your opinion about for example I remember doing some research and I saw a whiskey being used as a paloma. So you know, what's your opinion about mixed drinks with this type of spirit? Simon Brooking [00:10:50]: I think it's a great opportunity to introduce people. Mixed drinks and mixology is a big part of the spirits industry today globally. So there's an opportunity, as long as you're not bastardizing the flavors of the whiskey. Well that's the catch. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:09]: How wears the line? You want to highlight Simon Brooking [00:11:12]: the flavors. And a great example is a cocktail called Penicillin, developed by Sam Ross of Milk and Honey Veim here in Reginald Ferguson [00:11:21]: Yeah. Here in the city. Simon Brooking [00:11:22]: Yeah. Yeah. And it's a a take off on a on a sour using a lemon lemon sour and ginger with a blended scotch as a base and then you use our Laphroaig tenure, our smoky Laphroaig tenure as a floater. And so it's present. It's present on the nose, but, it doesn't overtake. A well balanced cocktail, I think, is key to the success of using singapore scotches as a part of a cocktail. Reginald Ferguson [00:11:55]: Okay. Alright. So you're accepting? Absolutely. Alright. However you get them to drink it. So it seems like you've done something very special for me. Now, I'm looking at a map here and the map seems to have my clan. Seems like you know my surname. Simon Brooking [00:12:21]: Well, as a Ferguson, well, you definitely belong in the Highlands of Scotland. That Reginald Ferguson [00:12:26]: is correct. Simon Brooking [00:12:27]: And you belong in a kilt. You should be wearing Reginald Ferguson [00:12:30]: a kilt. Simon Brooking [00:12:32]: I'm not joking now. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:34]: Well, hey. I don't know. I love this suit. This is a pretty cool suit. Simon Brooking [00:12:38]: Well one of these days Reggie we're gonna get you in a kilt. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:42]: If you get me in the kilt that probably means saying Patrick Day is coming and I'm delirious That's all I'm saying. Well, but you look sharp. I mean you look really. Simon Brooking [00:12:50]: Thank you. I appreciate it. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:51]: Yeah. When Simon Brooking [00:12:52]: I say a man in a kilt's a man and a half. Oh my God. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:12:59]: Okay. I thought this was a drinks conversation, not a fashion conversation. So it seems like we're starting out with Laphroaig. Simon Brooking [00:13:09]: We're gonna Or we're not? Reginald Ferguson [00:13:10]: Or we are? What are we doing? Simon Brooking [00:13:12]: We're gonna start off with Bamor. Reginald Ferguson [00:13:14]: Oh, we are? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. Now, before we start, I thought you told me when we had our meeting here, that I thought you said to me there were times that Bowmore actually ran out of product. Am I incorrect? Did you tell me that? Simon Brooking [00:13:31]: No. That's our other, Glengarry. Oh, it was Glengeary. From the highlands. Okay. They didn't run out of product. They ran out of water, but but that's because, that kinda highlights the the delicacy of the supply chain for us in whiskey production. Every distillery has its own water source in Scotland. Simon Brooking [00:13:51]: And during the summer, there's the period of time known as the silent season. Mhmm. And historically, that was when there wasn't enough water to make whiskey. So the boys who were farmers would go work the fields until the rains came and then, when they had enough water from the rains that's when they would go and start making whisky again. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:12]: Oh, Simon Brooking [00:14:13]: wow. So if you come to Scotland, when you come to Scotland, and Well, Reginald Ferguson [00:14:18]: these are some of the closes. Simon Brooking [00:14:19]: Continue. I always recommend checking ahead because during the height of the summer, many of the distilleries in Scotland will be shut down. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:27]: They shut down. Yeah. Exactly. Simon Brooking [00:14:28]: And they do their yearly upkeep and maintenance. So you'll still get a tour, but, you won't necessarily see the whiskey being produced. Okay. And if you've traveled all this way, you want you want to see it being made. Reginald Ferguson [00:14:45]: Yeah. Yeah. I would agree. Now, are we talking a typical 3 month layoff or a little bit longer? How historically generally is it going? Simon Brooking [00:14:54]: It's usually 6 to 8 weeks. Oh, that's fine. Yeah. But there have been times, when some of the distilleries that I've worked with have been closed in February. Really? Yeah. I mean, that kind of highlights the climate change and the different changing, weather patterns these days. Reginald Ferguson [00:15:17]: When someone is a distiller or a purveyor, how does that make them feel when they know they have to go beyond the typical 6, 8 weeks? Simon Brooking [00:15:29]: Frustrated because, they they you wanna get into a rhythm when it comes to making whiskey, because it's when you shut down and restart the distilleries, that's when you have inconsistency in your spirit. When you've got it working like a when it's a well oiled machine, it's the spirit that you produce is much more predictable. Mhmm. And you want to stay consistent. Sure. It is a very individual experience. Each distillery has their own team. And every distillery, the size and shape of the stills are different. Simon Brooking [00:16:08]: The fermentation times, the mashing times are all different. And it's, the location and the time spent in the warehouse maturing the spirit is, different for each distillery. They are all contributing factors to what makes each single malt Whiskey unique. Reginald Ferguson [00:16:29]: And that's going to be really interesting to me when we do comparisons between brands and regions. Right. So how should we start this game? Simon Brooking [00:16:39]: Let us start with the 2nd oldest licensed distillery in Scotland. The oldest licensed distillery on the island of Iowa, Balmor. Balmor means the big rock, the big reef. Oh, wow. A lot of times the whiskey's names themselves will tell you exactly where the boys were hiding their stills back in the day. So Beaumore is the big rock, the big reef. Laphroaig means the hollow by the bay. Glengarry, the one we were Reginald Ferguson [00:17:06]: talking about Simon Brooking [00:17:07]: before, that means the valley of the granary. Oh, wow. So, but let's dive into a little bit little bit of Bamour. Okay. That'll be the first one on the bottom right there. Okay. Beau Moore. This is our 12 year variation. Simon Brooking [00:17:23]: When we say 12 years for, single malt Scotch, or a blend, it is the age of the youngest whiskeys that go into the bottling. Oh. So there's 12, 13, 14 year old spirit in this. Now it's not a blended Scotch. A blended scotch is a blend of different single malts plus a neutral grain alcohol. A single malt is made out of pure malted barley distilled in copper pot stills. It had a single distillery, aged in oak barrels for a minimum of 3 years by law before it completely be called the same law Scotch. So Bamour only makes Bamour. Simon Brooking [00:17:58]: Laphroaig only makes Laphroaig, and so forth. So, there's no such thing as a double malt. That's I Reginald Ferguson [00:18:06]: wouldn't even thought about that? Simon Brooking [00:18:08]: We get that question a lot. Ah. But, single malts were the producers, were the farmers who were making, who had to have extra grain at the end of the season. Mhmm. And it was more profitable, more economical for them to make a whiskey out of it rather than to lose it to the milder of the cold down winter months. And it gave them another commodity to sell at market and it gave them a nice whiskey to keep them warm during those long cold winter months. And, they were producing so much during the latter part of 18th century that, the English wanted to cash in on all that commerce. So they legalized whiskey production and that was the Excise Act of 18/23. Simon Brooking [00:18:47]: So that's when the whiskey production literally came down from the hills and were at the beginnings of the industrial revolution. And one of the stipulations were that the sides of the stills, which to this point were the size of a chair, made it small, easy to move, easy to hide. Alright. So, they said if you want to make the whiskey legally, you have to be at least a 1000 gallons. You can't hide a 1000 gallon still. You can't move that. So, Reginald Ferguson [00:19:17]: How big is a still that holds a 1000 gallons? Simon Brooking [00:19:20]: It's about it's about 8 to 10 feet foot across. Wow. And they run about 14 to 17 foot high. Woah. Okay. And the taller they are, the lighter the spirit. The smaller squat stills that you're gonna find Reginald Ferguson [00:19:39]: All because of of the concentration? Exactly. Simon Brooking [00:19:42]: Think about them as kind of glorified tea kettles. Mhmm. And we put the heat under it. We create a rolling boil to distill, a beer because we make it's it's a barley based spirit. So we make a beer and then, the difference between beer and whiskey is that with whiskey we distill and then we mature. We age in casks. Oh, wow. So, as we, as we dive into our our whiskey tasting here, we'll look at the the color of the spirit, in comparison with with the other whiskies. Simon Brooking [00:20:22]: The darker spirits will tend to be more sherry Reginald Ferguson [00:20:28]: influenced. Alright. Simon Brooking [00:20:29]: And I mean sherry or also sherry casque influenced. It's actually not sherry there's sherry in the wood itself. Reginald Ferguson [00:20:36]: Understood. Simon Brooking [00:20:36]: But, Reginald Ferguson [00:20:38]: The provenance of the wood, AK. Yes. Exactly. Simon Brooking [00:20:42]: So we'll look at the beautiful color of the whiskey, and then we nose it. Now when you're nosing it I recommend getting your nose into the glass, none of the mamby pamby waving about. Part your lips, I'll demonstrate it like this. Because when you nose it with your mouth closed you're getting full alcohol, it numbs the senses, anesthetizes your nose and Reginald Ferguson [00:21:04]: makes your head kick back. Now you might like that Simon Brooking [00:21:04]: experience, but for the sake of getting more of the layers of the spirit, breathe into your nose with your mouth open and switch nostrils, not with your neighbor just from left to right. Because when you nose it full on, you're gonna get more of the burn. So you wanna cut that out. And one one nostril does tend to be more sensitive than the other. Reginald Ferguson [00:21:28]: I've never done that before. Simon Brooking [00:21:29]: Now we're gonna have a we'll have a toast and we'll have a taste. But when you taste, the other recommendation I like to make is placing the glass more towards the middle of the tongue. Because when you sip at the front you get the sweet taste of the tongue. Reginald Ferguson [00:21:42]: When we met you told me that. I've forgotten that since. Simon Brooking [00:21:44]: This is a game changer, this one here. Because when I mentioned before 90% broke into the father's liquor cabinet when they were 12, they drank. First thing they did was they nosed it with their mouth closed. So oh, you see people's heads reel back because that that experience comes roaring back. And then that that that bad experience continues when they place it the glass at the front of the mouth and sip it, and they get all the alcohol. We want to get to the essence of the flavors of the spirit. Wow. So, we'll place the glass middle of the tongue and just a sip and swirl it around, roll it around in your mouth because that way you're gonna taste all the different layers of the spirit. Simon Brooking [00:22:26]: Oh, wow. So here's to Bamour and here's the toast. May the best you've ever seen be the worst you'll ever see. May our mouse never leave your pantry with a teardrop in his e. May you all be hale and hearty till you're old enough to die. May I wish you all the best as we also wish you all to be. Cheers. Reginald Ferguson [00:22:41]: Cheers. Cheers. Oh, wow. Wish me luck, guys. I've never drank a spirit like that before. Yeah. Simon Brooking [00:22:53]: Yeah. Try front, try middle. You get 2 very different experiences. Reginald Ferguson [00:22:57]: Well, fortunately, there was no burn, no snap of my neck, no kickback. I fortunately was not the kid who broke into my grandfather's cabinet. That's a long story, but I didn't. But I clearly like to have a taste in the words of Simon Brooking [00:23:15]: my late grandfather. Wow. So this is 90% bourbon barrels and 10% Oloroso sherry casks. So basically for every 9 barrels of Beaumore, 12, 13, 14 year old whiskey, we're going to add in 1 Oloroso sherry cask. And that's called concurrent maturation. It's all happening at the same time. We're gonna pull the barrels down off the rack, marry them, add water, bring it down to bottling strength. And this 12 year is a fantastic introduction to the Islay style of sycamore scotches. Simon Brooking [00:23:49]: Islay, this is the island off the southwest coast of Scotland Yes. Where Reginald Ferguson [00:23:54]: My clan hang that was where my clan hangouts. Simon Brooking [00:23:57]: Yes. I know. Well, it's a it's a good whiskey making haven. Why? Well, because it's a long it's, you can see the tax man coming from miles away. So you can hide those extra stills where you're making a few extra pennies on the side. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:15]: It's the truth. I'll take your word for it. Simon Brooking [00:24:18]: A lot of people moved to the islands for because of the isolation. Because of the they could, they could they wanted the privacy. Right. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:27]: They could do their own thing. Simon Brooking [00:24:28]: And in fact, the Johnson brothers at Laphroaig were came from the mainland to farm Islay. And again, it was farmers who just wanted the independence and wanted that, wanted they crave the isolation. Mhmm. But it's not an easy life living on an island that's raining 320 days a year horizontally. Oh, So that's why you drink the whiskey. Oh my gosh. Now, I'm gonna make a recommendation. Reginald Ferguson [00:24:58]: Sure. Simon Brooking [00:24:58]: We're gonna add a couple of drops of water Reginald Ferguson [00:25:00]: to it. Alright. Simon Brooking [00:25:02]: And just a couple of drops. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:07]: Okay. Simon Brooking [00:25:08]: And like dew on a rose, it opens up the bouquet. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:12]: Why does it do that? I remember going to a Johnny Walker tasting and they did that. Simon Brooking [00:25:21]: Well, it it breaks up the oils. It, makes it more of a surface. It opens up the surface. Go ahead and have a nose in it and see if you get a different give it a little just a little swallow. Reginald Ferguson [00:25:33]: I'm not gonna lie. I'm not certain. Simon Brooking [00:25:35]: That's alright. It's it's for you to experiment and take your time with, you know, if if you're not getting anything from adding a couple of drops of water, maybe you need to add a couple more drops of water. All of these whiskeys take water differently and they take water differently for all of us. So it's really a matter of personal preference. And you only have a sip of it and see if if that changes. Cheers. Cheers. Slang. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:02]: It seems like and tell me if I'm wrong. I know it's my own experience, but it seems like it softened it. Simon Brooking [00:26:09]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:10]: Yeah. Just 2 drops. Simon Brooking [00:26:11]: Just a just a couple of drops. That's crazy. Well, it it doesn't take a lot to, influence the flavor of the whiskeys, And that's why we'll use the single malts in the blends, the blend of recipes of blended sculptures, the likes of Bamour or Laphroaig, you don't need a lot to influence the flavor, in in the final flavor profile. Reginald Ferguson [00:26:38]: So that means that really this spirit is just amazingly complex and subtle then. Simon Brooking [00:26:44]: Absolutely. There are many layers to it. And, it shown certainly let's, let's take our next whiskey to show you the variations that happen. So, all of the whiskey that we're tasting, from from Beaumont this first round is all coming off the still exactly the same way. So now what you're going to experience is an extra 3 years in the casks. This is a 15 year old Villemore. 12 years in bourbon and then we transfer it to Olroso sherry for another 3 years. So this is what we call consecutive maturation. Simon Brooking [00:27:24]: It starts off in 1 barrel and then we move it to another for an extended period of time. Wow. So this has got more, more of the sherry influence on it. Give a nose of that there. Okay. Reginald Ferguson [00:27:36]: Yeah. The nose is is quite different. I feel that it's a little bit sweeter. Simon Brooking [00:27:41]: Sweeter. There's a little spiciness to this. Mhmm. So, so this is, when when we taste this one here. And, when enjoying your whiskey, room temperature is is really the best. And room temperature for us in Scotland is about 52 degrees. Alright. So it's a little bit cooler, but it's not cold. Simon Brooking [00:28:06]: Right. Here in America, where I think ice was made for bourbon and bourbon was made for ice, you can add a cube if you like to it. Those larger cubes always work better because you're getting more of reducing the temperature and not, adding too much water. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:25]: Right. I was gonna say, those big ones, right, they don't melt as quickly. Simon Brooking [00:28:28]: Exactly. Exactly. So perhaps I have Reginald Ferguson [00:28:31]: one of those molds. I rarely use them. Simon Brooking [00:28:34]: Yeah. Well, it's a good way to just kind of experiment with the flavor. But there's a ton of flavor in this whiskey at room temperature. If you cool it down, it tends to shut down some of the aromatics. Reginald Ferguson [00:28:48]: So lower than 52 is what you're saying? Yeah. So like if someone decided, oh, I wanna take a bottle and put it in my fridge. Simon Brooking [00:28:56]: Well, if you do that and then pour it, it's gonna pour very heavy, very viscous, very thick. Oh. And then the nose on it will be much tighter. And as it starts to warm up, to the temperature, it like whiskey like wine will open up. So let's have a let's have a toast. This is to the Spanish and their sherry casks. Otherwise, we wouldn't have this one here. Health, wealth, love, and the time to conquer all. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:26]: Okay. I've been bilingual. Simon Brooking [00:29:28]: Salud. Salud. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:32]: This is distinctly different to me. Simon Brooking [00:29:35]: There's the mouthfeel on this. There's a little bit more of a velvety. There's a creamy quality to this. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:41]: I get the velvet. Simon Brooking [00:29:43]: That's more of the Orosso sherry. I like this. This is a a great recommendation. It's it's tasty. Starting to move into, towards a kind of an an Armagnac quality. Reginald Ferguson [00:29:57]: I'm not so familiar with Armagnac, but I like this. This is this is yummy. Simon Brooking [00:30:03]: Yeah. And, it's one of our big sellers. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:06]: Really? Simon Brooking [00:30:07]: The Louisa Beaumont 15 year. It's, kind of a classic style, which is using that combination of bourbon and sherry casks with a little bit more sherry. It's more historically accurate to the way the whiskies were were bottled back in in the late 19th century. Reginald Ferguson [00:30:28]: Yeah. I like that. Simon Brooking [00:30:29]: So that's our, 15 year of Omore. Right. We're gonna take a big leap now. We're gonna go another 10 years Reginald Ferguson [00:30:36]: Holy cow. Simon Brooking [00:30:37]: Into the past. Wow. And to me drinking signal alt whiskey is about time travel. Now you have to be careful because this is pretty powerful spirit, and I do find folks who have, sometimes they enjoy the whiskey so much so that they wake up the next morning fully clothed, not knowing where they were the last the night before, but but somehow they they did time travel. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:12]: Well, I have an event to go to later, so, I don't wanna travel time too, too much. No. Simon Brooking [00:31:18]: And we encourage folks to drink responsibly. I mean Reginald Ferguson [00:31:21]: No. I in the Simon Brooking [00:31:21]: safety of your home or if you're out and you need assistance in getting home, please Understood. Have somebody designated to drive for you. Reginald Ferguson [00:31:32]: Well, that's that's the MTA for me. Simon Brooking [00:31:34]: There you go. Perfect. Yeah. So we have got, we're gonna travel back in time 25 years now. So this is, I was a baby. I'll drink to that. So this is our 25 year, Bommore. Bommore in its twenties, moves from, dark fruit notes to tropical, fruit notes. Reginald Ferguson [00:32:04]: How did that happen? Simon Brooking [00:32:07]: From its time in the casks, in the warehouses of Bowmore, the Bamour warehouses are located right by the sea. And, because it's a cooler, damper climate, it allows us to leave our whiskeys aging, in these warehouses for longer periods of time, definitely compared to American whiskey maturation. They're using brand new American oak barrels, American oak staves. So that really, impacts the spirit, the bourbon that they produce, takes on more of the wood much sooner. So we use used barrels, whether they're bourbon barrels or Oloroso sherry casks. So they are a little damper when we receive them. There's moisture in them from, from the spirit, but also, in that cooler, damper climate, there's less of inhalation and exhalation of the barrels. The barrels breed. Simon Brooking [00:33:10]: During the summer, they expand and they force the whiskey into the wood and then winter they contract and draw the whiskey back out. We lose 2% of operation every year, we call that the angels share. Reginald Ferguson [00:33:19]: Yes. Simon Brooking [00:33:20]: The happiest angels in the world are over the island of Islay. But, but also during the during that respiration of the barrels, it's moving through the wood and pulling, aspects of the wood, and the oils into the spirit while releasing other components of the spirit itself. And in the 20s, you get these secondary and tertiary aromatics that start to develop and these flavors that start to develop. And we're not doing anything with the casks. It's just Mother Nature's barrels breathing. It's the life of the cask. So this is a 25 year. I would recommend, with the older spirits, and you can do it with the youngers as well, but holding it in your mouth and giving it a swirl and holding it in a swirl, it takes 25 years to make this. Simon Brooking [00:34:17]: We ask that you take more than 25 seconds to enjoy it. Because a lot of times I see people, oh, the this is a shot of whiskey. And they all get back and, you know what's the fun in that? Reginald Ferguson [00:34:31]: That's that is clearly an American thing. Yeah. That's what we do. Simon Brooking [00:34:36]: Yeah. Alright, so here's the toast. For there's no foe like fear and no friends like cheer and sunshine will flash at our call. So let's crown love king and let us all sing. It's a mighty good world after all Reginald Ferguson [00:34:50]: Oh man, there's got a million of them, Slonzo I don't know but the older we get the more I'm liking it. This one's got some spice. Simon Brooking [00:35:00]: Oh lots of spice. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:01]: Yeah. Oh I like this. Yeah. Man, this is cool. Oh my gosh. Simon Brooking [00:35:10]: Now we might have some folks who enjoy the 12 over the 25. Just because it's older doesn't necessarily mean it's better for you. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:16]: No. I understand. It's just how I'm reacting to it. And I mean, it's not that I like all of them, but it just seemed as we went deeper into time Yeah. I just seem to like them Simon Brooking [00:35:26]: more. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:27]: I didn't plan that, but it's happening. Simon Brooking [00:35:29]: Well, it is a unique flavor experience for each distillery and even within each distillery. The different casks and the different locations of the warehouses will give you different experiences of of the whiskeys themselves. Reginald Ferguson [00:35:49]: Amazing how subtle all of this is. It's it's just fascinating. Simon Brooking [00:35:54]: It's, it's why so many people it's why we have so many whiskeys here at Copper and Oak. Man. There's just a a world to explore and, once you it's I compare Singhal Scotch more to wine than any other kind of spirit. Because when you start to understand the the, the intricacies and the just the nuances of production and location, and maturation. Really, the world is your oyster, which I should also mention. I heard Reginald Ferguson [00:36:32]: I read I did my research. You had this, whiskey oyster parent. Can you elaborate what the heck was that? I never never heard of this. It sounds like having french fries and soup. It just didn't seem to make sense. Simon Brooking [00:36:44]: Well, food When it comes to whiskey pairings, food of the region goes well with whiskeys of the region. So the Highland whiskeys go well with beef, with lamb, with venison. The island whiskeys go well with seafood. This is crazy. Scallops, langoustines, lobster. And we do a pour called the Beaumor Oyster Luge. So you sip the oyster brine. Right. Simon Brooking [00:37:14]: You sip the Beaumor 12 here and then you eat the oyster and then you pour the Bowmore 12 into the oyster shell. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:21]: What? Yeah, Lujon. Oh my god. That sounds like a party. Simon Brooking [00:37:27]: It just, opens up all these other flavors and increases the the experience of whiskey as well as the experience of oysters. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:41]: I never would have thought that it was I gotta I gotta I gotta get invited one of those games. Simon Brooking [00:37:46]: Well, definitely. And if you're at your local, local oyster bar and they should have a bottle but more on the back bar, give it a go. It's really worth the treat. Okay. Reginald Ferguson [00:37:59]: I'm sure I'll amaze my friends. Alright. So was that all of Beaumors? Simon Brooking [00:38:06]: That was all of the Beaumors that we have Alright. For today. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:10]: Okay. Simon Brooking [00:38:10]: We're now gonna go to the other side of the island of Islay. And Islay is only 32100 people and 10 distilleries, so it's also called the happy island. We make a lot of whiskey on Islay, and we're going to go to the number one selling Islay, single malt Scotch Laphroaig. And it is the hollow by the bay, the beautiful hollow by the bay is is what it means. And the name of the island is Islay. Reginald Ferguson [00:38:37]: Islay, yeah not Islay. I know, I did my research. Simon Brooking [00:38:41]: It's it's a Gaelic word. It means the island of island. We're very simple folk on that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Don't beat around the bush. It's pretty clear. Simon Brooking [00:38:49]: It's a good way to remember how to pronounce the name, Isla means island or Isla have another whiskey. There you go. So let's do that, shall we? Reginald Ferguson [00:38:59]: Sure. Simon Brooking [00:39:00]: I think we're gonna start off with, Laphroaig select. Reginald Ferguson [00:39:03]: Alright. Simon Brooking [00:39:04]: Laphroaig select is, yes, that one there. When we say select, what we've done is we've selected 5 different types of casks in the maturation of this whiskey. 2 different sherry casks, Oloroso and Pedro Jimenez, also known as PX casks, a used American bourbon barrel, 200 liter cask, and a 125 liter American bourbon barrel cask. We call those the quarter casks, which we'll be tasting later on as well. And, a new American oak barrel that hasn't had any bourbon in it. Reginald Ferguson [00:39:39]: So those Simon Brooking [00:39:39]: 5 different types of casks are aging the Laphroaig Newmake spirit and are going to impart different flavors on it. And then we marry all those casks and we add water and bring it down to boiling strength. So a lot of times people will ask about these, what we call, no age statement whiskeys. How old are they? It's not about the age. It's about bottling to a flavor profile. So, and back in the day, historically, they weren't sitting around waiting 15, 25 years. They were bottling it right from the barrel, or they were marrying different barrels to create these flavor profiles. So that's what we've done with this one. Simon Brooking [00:40:18]: And also when we were, first finalizing the, spirit for this bottling, if you come to visit us at the distillery, I did the tour. We invited you up to the office. We had 6 samples laid out blind. We asked you to taste them and tell us which one you liked. And this was the winning selection. This was selected by Laphroaig drinkers Wow. To be our next bottling. So, here's the toast. Simon Brooking [00:40:45]: I must go down to the sea today, to the lonely sea in the sky, and all I ask is an Islay cask and the friends to drink it dry. Reginald Ferguson [00:40:53]: Oh my gosh. Slanja. Slanja, I think you have a million of those. Simon Brooking [00:40:59]: Now we've moved to another side of the island. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:02]: Oh, I can taste the other side of the island. Simon Brooking [00:41:04]: Yep. We're on the we're all the distilleries, except for, one on the island are located right on the coast and you're getting more of the maritime but it's smoky. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:15]: It's yeah I'm feeling I'm getting some heat. Simon Brooking [00:41:18]: Yeah. Well, and this is actually bottled at 40% ABV. So, but but the smoky quality, brings out the brings out the heat in it as well. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:29]: Absolutely. Well, I know when we met you said to me that La Frog is the barbecue of whiskeys. Yep. Care to elaborate? Simon Brooking [00:41:42]: Yeah. Let me let me tell you what. Let me go and step out for a sec. Grab this. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:46]: Okay. What the heck is that? Simon Brooking [00:41:49]: This is where that barbecue influence comes from. Okay. This is this is Pete. Reginald Ferguson [00:41:55]: Hi, Pete. What do you Simon Brooking [00:41:57]: call a 2000 year old Scott? Reginald Ferguson [00:41:59]: Pete. Oh my god. Right? You guys know the words. Simon Brooking [00:42:02]: I'll be here all week. I know. So Pete what Pete is is vegeta decayed vegetative matter. There are peat bulbs all over the world. The largest ones are in Finland. You get them up in Northern Germany. In Ireland it's called turf. Canada, 25% of the world's peat supplies are found at that, in Canada. Simon Brooking [00:42:22]: Because of that latitude you get a lot of rainfall. The rain so you get a lot of vegetation. The vegetation lives, dies, and decomposes and becomes compressed over 100 of 1000 of years. So, what we use, we use this to heat our homes with, in Scotland on the island of and on the island of Islay. Really? And because it's raining so many days out of the year it's a damper climate. It takes longer to dry the barley. So we are one of 10 distilleries that still does Reginald Ferguson [00:42:51]: what's called Simon Brooking [00:42:51]: floor maltings. We're going to soak the barley, 7 tons of it, let it grow for 6 days. At the end of 6 days it has a consistency of sprouts. So we need to stop the barley from growing and our fuel source is, our local fuel source, peat. So we shovel all the grain into a room that's got a mesh screen. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:08]: Yeah. I did some research. Simon Brooking [00:43:10]: It was crazy. And then from down below, we light the peat fires. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:15]: Yes. The molting floor. Simon Brooking [00:43:17]: Correct. Correct. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:18]: Holy Smollett. Man, you got a license for that thing? Simon Brooking [00:43:22]: No. I can tell. Reginald Ferguson [00:43:29]: Oh my God. Oh Reginald Ferguson [00:43:31]: my God. Simon Brooking [00:43:34]: What? So the barley has been growing and underneath for the next 15 to 18 hours, we're gonna dry the barley over these pit fires. Okay. Now on Ayla, where it's raining 320 days a year, it's gonna take long to dry the barley. So the same way you sit around a campfire in a damn night that smoke clings to you Mhmm. Same thing's gonna happen to the barley. So we talk about whiskey being smoky and peaty. Yeah. That's it right there. Simon Brooking [00:44:03]: What I like to call the holy smoke. So here's the thing, the peat that we dig up out of the earth in the highlands of Scotland is more decomposed pine trees. The peat on the island of Islay is more decomposed seaweed. So it's like the difference between sitting around a campfire in the forest versus sitting around a bonfire on the beach. On the beach. This is the beach bonfire. And you're getting and you're getting more of the driftwood notes, the seaweed, the kelp notes. Reginald Ferguson [00:44:32]: This is crazy. Simon Brooking [00:44:33]: So, that's absorbed into the barley. We then, grind that barley down into a fine grist. It has the consistency of a muesli. And then we add hot water, that's mashing. And that creates a liquid, wort. And then we then add yeast to that and ferment and we make a beer, a very smoky beer. And then we distill it in copper pot stills. It's a 2 step distillation process which produces a spirit that is, pretty fiery at around 72% alcohol by volume. Simon Brooking [00:45:09]: So we need to soften it out and round it out. How do we do that? By putting it in a barrel. And you think of the shape of the barrel literally knocking the edges off this hot young girl spirit. So, with that said, let's taste the 10 year. Reginald Ferguson [00:45:24]: Okay. Simon Brooking [00:45:25]: Which is, the classic Laphroaig. 10 years in the barrel, and when we say 10 years, it's 250 barrels that are 10, 11, 12, 13 years old, married and then add water, bring it down to bottling strength of 43%. So the nose on this one, I'm gonna say, do you smell the smoke? Do you of course you do because I was part of the Reginald Ferguson [00:45:52]: Well, you got the smoke all around me. It's in my clothes. Simon Brooking [00:45:57]: I'll show you another way of nose in the whiskey. You go into the warehouse, you wanna get a sample out of the barrel. You have what's called a copper dog or a copper thief. In the wine business, they're called a wine thief or a valance. You knock the bung out of the bung hole of the barrel, insert the copper dog, draw off your sample, put it into your glass. But if you don't have a copper dog, you don't have a glass. The other way of nosing the whiskey is this. You put your hand over the opening of the barrel and roll the barrel a wee bit. Simon Brooking [00:46:18]: So put your hand over the opening of your barrel, Get a good seal on it. Oh, really? Yep. Go with me here. Here we go. Ready? And roll the barrel. Alright. Now glass down. Put the hands together, some heat going, some friction going. Simon Brooking [00:46:36]: This burns off the alcohol, releases the esters, burns off the congeners. Get them nice and hot. Open the doors to the warehouse, open the barrel and Woah. Welcome to Laphroaig. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:46]: Get out. Simon Brooking [00:46:47]: More of the wood notes this way, more of the sweetness. Reginald Ferguson [00:46:50]: That's crazy. Simon Brooking [00:46:51]: Isn't that fantastic? Reginald Ferguson [00:46:55]: Yo, that was real that was really neat. Simon Brooking [00:46:58]: Yep. Well, and you notice it evaporates very quickly. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:01]: Yeah. There's yeah. If you Simon Brooking [00:47:03]: do this with a cognac, your hands will be very sticky from the sugars. Ah. But all the sugars are consumed during fermentation. So another good reason for drinking the single malt. So no bad sugar hangover, no carbohydrate, so it's Atkins friendly, good for diabetics, cure to the Zika, and no, it's not. Oh my gosh. And only and gluten free, only 60 calories. Now if you're driving, you need to wash your hands before you go. Simon Brooking [00:47:27]: Honest officer, I was just rubbing it on my body. The guy in the little green skirt told me to do it. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:33]: Oh, man. Simon Brooking [00:47:37]: So, here's the toast. May there be no hell. And if there is, I'll see you at the bar. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:45]: Slap. Simon Brooking [00:47:50]: Slap. There's that barbecue. Reginald Ferguson [00:47:52]: Hell yeah, you're talking about other side of the island. Yeah. Holy smoly. They doing brisket over there? Like, woah. Simon Brooking [00:47:59]: Well, what what style brisket is it? That's the question. Is it Memphis? Is it, Kansas City or is it Carolina? Reginald Ferguson [00:48:08]: I don't know, but I'm glad you know your regions. In your game, you have to know your regions. Holy schmoly. Simon Brooking [00:48:15]: Whoo! It's an acquired taste. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:17]: I like it but it's totally, man! Man, it's crosstown! Simon Brooking [00:48:21]: Yep. It's our it's our crosstown whiskey. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:26]: Totally different taste. Yep. I don't wanna say a flavor profile for the sound, like, ridiculous. But wow. Simon Brooking [00:48:35]: Well, let's let's dive into that maturation influence a little bit further and go to our next whiskey which is 10 year sherry oak. So 8 years in bourbon and then another, 2 years in Olrosa sherry casks. Well, I Reginald Ferguson [00:48:52]: see that I see that it's darker. Simon Brooking [00:48:54]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:48:55]: So that makes sense based on what you just described. Simon Brooking [00:48:58]: So this is a new variation for us, at Laphroaig, because, 99% of our casks at Laphroaig are bourbon barrels. And primarily for Maker's Mark, we have a partnership with them, in the company. So, you get excellent quality bourbon casks from them. But this is using, for the final 2 years, Olaroz or sherry casks from Spain. So the nose on this one Reginald Ferguson [00:49:28]: It was sweet for me. Yeah. Not as much as the smoke. No. No. No. No. No. Reginald Ferguson [00:49:33]: I still got smoke in my mouth from the last taste. Simon Brooking [00:49:36]: Yeah. For real. It'll stick with you. Yeah. Well, because it's raining so much, you wanna be reminded of the fire. So that certainly is, gonna gonna keep keep you warm. That's Scotland wrapping its arms around you. So let's do the toast here, shall we? Certainly. Simon Brooking [00:49:56]: I'm gonna grab this bowl Reginald Ferguson [00:49:58]: here Okay. Simon Brooking [00:49:59]: For the toast. So here's a bottle and an honest man, what would you wish for more? Who knows when his life may end what his share may be of care? Then catch the moments as they fly and use them as you ought. Believe me, happiness is shy and comes not always when soft. Cheers. Reginald Ferguson [00:50:17]: Cheers. Yes. Mhmm. Simon Brooking [00:50:23]: Sweet. Yep. But spice. Yep. No. That those sherry notes really add a nutty spiciness to it. Yeah. Plus the dark, like, raisin Reginald Ferguson [00:50:39]: raisin notes. Yeah. There's definitely some dark. I like it. And Simon Brooking [00:50:44]: again, same spirit off the still. Now you're you've you've tried 3 variations of Laphroaig. All different in their styles, slightly different. The smoke's there. You'll never, you know, that's such a big part of Reginald Ferguson [00:50:59]: No. It's still there, but it balanced out well with the sweetness Simon Brooking [00:51:04]: Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [00:51:05]: In that one. There's no question. Like that first one, the smoke was We Simon Brooking [00:51:09]: got one last one to taste. Alright. And this is Laphroaig quarter cask. This is our 2nd biggest seller. We start off with a spirit aging in 200 liter bourbon barrels for 5 to 11 years. We marry all that whiskey and then we put it another, up to 8 months, in, quarter cask, which is a 125 liter. It's a smaller barrel. It's the kind of size of cask that 2 men back in the day could lift up and put onto a pack horse and take it to market. Simon Brooking [00:51:40]: So by putting it in more, smaller cask, you're getting more of the wood influence, more surface contact, wood to whiskey. So this gives you more of the, the bourbon cask notes, the vanilla, the caramel, the coconut notes. I call this one the wild child. This is a lively little whiskey. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:01]: Really? Wild Simon Brooking [00:52:02]: child. It kinda dances around in the mouth. Nice nose on it. Reginald Ferguson [00:52:07]: Yeah. So he says it's the wild child, so I'm concerned because it seems very innocent. Simon Brooking [00:52:13]: Well again, if you find that it's too hot add some water to it. Find find the flavor that you enjoy. When we're sampling the warehouses, we're nosing a couple of 100 a day. Now we wouldn't make it to lunch if we were actually tasting. But when we narrow down our selection and it comes to actually tasting the whiskey, we'll add water and bring it down to 20 percent alcohol. 20% that's a lot of water added to it. But you find the depth of the spirit that way. You find all these other flavors that are deep within that whiskey. Simon Brooking [00:52:47]: So again, you add as much water as you need to find the flavor that you enjoy. So here's the toast to the wild child. Here's to fighting, cheating, stealing, and drinking. If you fight, may you fight alongside my brother. If you cheat, may you cheat death. If you steal, may you steal another's heart. And if you drink, may you drink with me. Cheers. Simon Brooking [00:53:06]: Oh, man. This guy. I'm not sure how exciting it is for your viewers to be watching us drinking whiskey. I hope they are joining us along with a drum in hand. Reginald Ferguson [00:53:18]: Well, I agree. But unbeknownst to you, these notes are here for a reason. I have questions. Excellent. That I know you can answer because I found out so much about you in my research. I wanna know. Alright. Now that was incredible. Reginald Ferguson [00:53:37]: But I did a lot of research so I've got a stack of questions for you Simon Brooking [00:53:41]: bring it on. Reginald Ferguson [00:53:42]: I know you have all the answers I'm sure so Laphroaig, it's the only whiskey to carry a royal warrant. Why is that? I mean, I know what happened. I heard King Charles, but Simon Brooking [00:53:59]: Yeah. The royal warrant recognizes, contributions to community in the United Kingdom. Familiar. From it was, originally Prince Charles Reginald Ferguson [00:54:08]: Yes. Simon Brooking [00:54:08]: But it is now King Charles. And, each, royal warrant receiver has to reapply after a period of time. So we're still waiting for the next, Royal Warrant Reception. Mhmm. But, it recognizes sustainability in the community as well as contributions. We are the only distillery in Skollin currently that receives the a Royal Warrant. Reginald Ferguson [00:54:39]: I know! Simon Brooking [00:54:41]: And it's the ostrich feathers on the bottle. That is the royal warrant there. Yep. With with the phrase Ichdiem, which means I serve. Reginald Ferguson [00:54:57]: Why do you think that's the only whiskey that has it? Just because Prince Charles at that time came on a tour Simon Brooking [00:55:04]: and said It was, it was his it is his favorite whiskey, the That's what you said. Laphroaig 15 year. And so as a result, he endorsed Laphroaig. We see it as a great honor because it is, it is not given out easily. Reginald Ferguson [00:55:23]: He made a, he made a visit recently. Correct? Simon Brooking [00:55:26]: Yes. He did. He came, it was, last year. He came to visit his square foot of land. He is a land Reginald Ferguson [00:55:34]: I wanna talk about that. Friends of LaFrost. That is a wonderful segue. I read it, but I want you to share it. Whom are the friends of Laphroaig? Simon Brooking [00:55:44]: So the friends of Laphroaig is a program that was developed by our distillery manager 30 years ago. We are celebrating 30 years of the Friends of Laphroaig program. Ian Henderson, really an iconic figure in the whiskey pantheon that was so hospitable to guests coming over to the distillery. A lot of times you ended up having supper with with Ian and his wife. He just would welcome you in. What? And then he would also write letters to you thanking you and sending out letters. He was just so hospitable that they decided to create a program called Friends of Laphroaig which entitles you to a square foot of land Reginald Ferguson [00:56:27]: Yeah. On Simon Brooking [00:56:27]: the island of Ireland. So you come to visit your plot, we put you in a pair of welly boots like those there, give you a flag from your country and shove you out to the field and you go find your plot and stake your claim and you claim your rent which is a miniature of Laphroaig and you can visit as many times as you like. And, if the economy tanks here, you know, you got a place to live in Scotland. Plus you get invitations to come to different events that we do around the world for Friends of Laphroaig. We have over 600,000 Friends of Laphroaig in the United States alone. Reginald Ferguson [00:56:58]: What? Simon Brooking [00:56:59]: Yep. We have a lot of ardent followers of of Laphroaig. Reginald Ferguson [00:57:04]: So I heard upon the visit you're given something? Simon Brooking [00:57:09]: For the Yeah. That's your you get the miniature of Laphroaig. Yeah. That's good. And and a certificate of officially stating your your owner your leased your Reginald Ferguson [00:57:23]: your lease ship. So the Dram is kinda my rent? Simon Brooking [00:57:26]: Yes. It's a Reginald Ferguson [00:57:28]: pretty good deal. I may have to inquire about that. Simon Brooking [00:57:32]: Well, the information is in the package. In the tubes, there's a brochure that's got the code on it. We're moving to new packaging, soon, which, the information will be on the bottle itself about how to make it go. What? Reginald Ferguson [00:57:48]: Oh, that's smart. That's good marketing. Yeah. Way to go, team. Way to go. Way to go. Can you, you know, I've been hearing about this for so long. Can you explain to me all of this about barrels? Meaning this, what's the oldest barrel that's still being used at your distillery? How did this all come about in terms of hey, we'd like to use your barrels and let's take your barrels and but like, how has this happened? How long has this been happening? Yes, I understand that since, you know, the 18th 19th century you've had barrels. Reginald Ferguson [00:58:23]: But can you just explain to me this phenomenon via trade and spirits? Simon Brooking [00:58:27]: We've had barrels for 1000 of years. But, it's historical, it's economic and cultural influences. It was because the sherry casks were coming up from Spain that we would empty up cask and here's a perfect container for us to bring it to market. And, really aged whiskey didn't become a phenomenon until the 19 fifties, 19 sixties. It was just, just primarily being used for blended Scotch, and the single malt category really didn't become prominent until, a couple of distilleries started promoting single malt as category in the 19 sixties. Oh. But the bourbon barrels really came into play. That's 90% of the casks in Scotland today are bourbon barrels. Simon Brooking [00:59:19]: Post prohibition, there was a law went into effect. You can only use a bourbon barrel once here in America. Perfect for us in Scotland because we don't wanna use a brand new barrel, too many tannins in the wood. So send them over to us. We can reuse them, because we don't want to use a brand new because of those tannins. So, also economically, the cost of for us to buy a used bourbon barrel is about $175. Mhmm. And also sherry butt is upwards of 900 to a $1,000. Simon Brooking [00:59:50]: So Reginald Ferguson [00:59:50]: What? Simon Brooking [00:59:51]: Yeah. And, the consistency of the sherry cask is not as, as as solid as the bourbon industry. The bourbon industry is doing so well these days. So the quality of the casks are really at the best they've ever been. Reginald Ferguson [01:00:07]: What's the oldest barrel you have in the distillery? Like, do you guys Simon Brooking [01:00:12]: do that? Currently, at Laphroaig, we have a 37 year old. Woah. And we have just, at Bamour, released a 52 year old, Bamour, from the 19 sixties. Wow. That's neat. They're very extremely limited, but, incredibly exclusive. And there's a series known as the Black Bow Moors from 1964, which are much sought after and, really, pull a a great price at the auction houses. Why are they Reginald Ferguson [01:00:50]: called the Black Belt Moors? Simon Brooking [01:00:53]: Because of the rock, the volcanic rock Yeah. That is, around the harbor where the the the distillery is located. Reginald Ferguson [01:01:06]: Okay. Bowmore. Alright. Let's see. Oh, you get okay. We talked about water when we first met. Talk to me about the Kilbride stream. Simon Brooking [01:01:26]: Well, the Kilbride dam and stream is the water source for Laphroaig. Reginald Ferguson [01:01:30]: Yes. Simon Brooking [01:01:31]: It is as we mentioned earlier, during the summer, I'll take people up there on on the tour and there are some summers where there'll be a mud flat just because there's the water is the rain has been, scarce. So, that's why we would historically shut down the distillery for those 6 to 8 weeks. But, it provides water it comes from up in the hills, it comes from the rains so if you come and visit us and it's raining that's a good thing. That's just whiskey waiting to be made And because water is really the biggest, ingredient for whiskey making, so Yeah. Every distillery has its own water source and the Kilbride dam and stream is, ours that is much protected because, at one point, our neighbors to the, to the west, at Lagavulin Mhmm. At one point in the turn of the century, rerouted the water source, the stream, so that they could use our water. What? And we had to take them to court, to get to get our water back. So there's a bit of water wars because it's it is can be so rare. Reginald Ferguson [01:02:50]: It's a dirty game. Well, I think that's enough questions for today. I was gonna ask you. I kinda understand it now. I saw one of your patches on one of your bags. Protectors of the Pete. Simon Brooking [01:03:06]: Yeah. Protectors of the Pete is a group within the Beam Suntory company that, are specialists for us around the country. They have been trained, on the Scotch portfolio for us at Beam Suntory and activate various events for us for our Beam Suntory Scotches. So they've been to the distillery. They've, they've cut peat. They've turned the barley. They've helped make with the whiskey. Woah. Simon Brooking [01:03:35]: And they understand it, little from from the top down, and so they're ready and willing to to talk about the stories of Laphroaig and Beaumont and Aukentosh and Reginald Ferguson [01:03:48]: I've heard, rumor has it, that you do the training. Simon Brooking [01:03:53]: Well, I've been in the industry for 27 years now and representing Laphroaig for 17 years. So, I've been around I've been around for a wee bit. Reginald Ferguson [01:04:04]: What he means to try to say ladies and gentlemen is yes. The answer is yes. Well, that's all I really have. I gotta tell you. Simon Brooking [01:04:16]: Well Yeah? I got a surprise for you. Reginald Ferguson [01:04:19]: What? Well, Simon Brooking [01:04:21]: you were admiring my kilt before and I just thought that perhaps maybe, we should put you in a kilt. What do you think? Are you in for it? Reginald Ferguson [01:04:31]: I mean, well, you have to get into it to be in for it. Simon Brooking [01:04:34]: Well, I just, just happened to bring all the accoutrements for for setting you up for, wearing a kilt. Would you be into it? Reginald Ferguson [01:04:44]: Yeah. Of course. I'm a Ferguson. Absolutely. I'm supposed to be living in a kilt. Simon Brooking [01:04:51]: Live it proud. Reginald Ferguson [01:04:52]: Alright let's yeah let's do it. Excellent. Oh my god. You had enough whiskey? Help. Yeah. Simon Brooking [01:05:05]: Of course, there's the question is what do you wear under the kilt? Reginald Ferguson [01:05:09]: Well, I read the I did the research. If it's a rental you don't go commando. That's what it read. That's what it read. Don't give me any, don't give me any brook in there. That's what I read. No commando if it's a rental. Reginald Ferguson [01:05:48]: Alright, dear. Oh, that's perfect. That's perfect. Thank you. Simon Brooking [01:05:54]: Alright, Reggie. How do you feel now? A true Ferguson now that you are dressed in the Scottish Highland Regalia. Reginald Ferguson [01:06:03]: I feel I feel great Simon Brooking [01:06:04]: to really be honest. There can be only 1. Reginald Ferguson [01:06:08]: I yeah. I I know. It's it's Simon Brooking [01:06:12]: a it's a warm day but even on the cold days don't worry about it hot air rises. So this is a classic kilt here, the Highland kilt. This is a 9 yard, 8 and a half yard kilt. Historically, what they were were the, the what they call the great kilts were 4 to 5 meters, 14 feet of material which you would lie down on the ground. You would first pleat them and then lie down on the ground and roll it up like a skirt around your waist and then you would take the extra over your shoulder. Woah. And that was your sleeping bag at night. That's what you slept in. Simon Brooking [01:06:56]: What? And you would use it tight and, during the winters you would soak it so that it would freeze and that would keep you warmer, from the cutting winds, the cold winds. That's so cold. It's, it's called a breakeven, in the Gaelic, which means checkered in the Gaelic. And every clan has its own tartan. Yes. Right? Ferguson has their own tartan. Technically, I'm wearing the Laphroaig tartan, but I'm a Robertson, from clan, Duncan, Clan Donahue. And the the, the colors represent, different aspects of the culture of the clan. Simon Brooking [01:07:42]: This Laphroaig tartan, the green is the green of Islay, the black is the black of the peat, the, gold is the, amber is the grain of the barley, the white is the whitewash of the distillery, and the blue is the blue of the sea. So, it all represents the culture of the family. Wow. Reginald Ferguson [01:08:02]: Well, mine, as far as I know, is is green and blue with an orange overcheck. Simon Brooking [01:08:09]: So this is, this is a proximity. Reginald Ferguson [01:08:11]: I know. Simon Brooking [01:08:12]: Yes. It's not exactly I know. Ferguson. Correct. But it's a kilt, and it's not a dress. If somebody says nice dress, you say that's why it's called a kilt because if you call it a dress again, I'm gonna have to kilt you. Which, you have now are, provisioned in case if you wanna show them your Yeah. This is, you've got that's called a Ski and Dew. Simon Brooking [01:08:36]: It's Gallic. It means black knife. It's your last line of defense. Reginald Ferguson [01:08:39]: Oh. Simon Brooking [01:08:40]: You lose it, all your other weapons in battle, this is what's gonna keep you alive. And you also got a kilt pin there, on the outside, and, that was historically used to keep you closed up. Uh-huh. And, of course, no pockets. Reginald Ferguson [01:08:57]: No pockets. Simon Brooking [01:08:58]: So, that's what the sporen is for. That's your your wee bag. Reginald Ferguson [01:09:03]: It's a wee bag. Simon Brooking [01:09:05]: And, historically what you would do is keep your your oatmeal, your oats in there Reginald Ferguson [01:09:10]: Oh, hi. And, Simon Brooking [01:09:12]: if you, needed to, Rob Roy was famous for keeping his oats and his whiskey, in in the spore, and they called it, Whiskey Chucks. Whiskey Chucks. Reginald Ferguson [01:09:25]: What was the Chucks? Simon Brooking [01:09:26]: That was just the the combination of the whiskey and the oatmeal together. They're like, whiskey balls. Reginald Ferguson [01:09:36]: Oh my gosh. I'm just only here can a black eye have a black knife, and it's alright. Sorry that I did that. Well what more do you have to tell me? I have stuff to share with you, but you probably know a heck of a lot more. Simon Brooking [01:09:53]: Well, the the kilts, you know, there's long been a tradition with the kilts. Each family has its own family kilt. As I mentioned, I'm a Robertson. Right. Whole 9 yards but, young Angus is set to be married. He goes to local killmaker to have a killmate. Killmakers, oh, yes. I've got your family tard and I make a nice 9 yard kill for you. Simon Brooking [01:10:15]: But, oh, I got 10 yards. We Scots are rather thrifty. We're born with deep pockets and short arms. So killmakers says, I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll make a nice lovely scarf for your lovely Fiona, your bride to be. Keep her warm during those long cold winter months. Perfect. So the day before the wedding he goes to pick the kilt and it's a bonnie kilt. Simon Brooking [01:10:32]: He's so excited. He decides he wants to show the lovely Fiona. So he puts his kilt on, puts his coat on, goes running through the fields not realizing that he loses his kilt a long way. Gets to her door, knocks on the door, opens his jacket wide open, she opens the door wide open and says, well what do you think? She says, oh my god. It's more beautiful than I ever thought it would be. He's like, oh, no. No. But wait. Simon Brooking [01:10:52]: That's not the best part. The best part is I've got an extra yard you can wrap around your neck. True story. Reginald Ferguson [01:11:01]: Wow. Yipes. So so my clan often was in, Argyle Shire. Simon Brooking [01:11:11]: Argyle. Yeah. Argyle. Yeah. Yep. That's on the west coast of Scotland. Okay. Very close. Simon Brooking [01:11:17]: You go through Argyle to, to get to the island of Islay. Reginald Ferguson [01:11:22]: I know. Simon Brooking [01:11:23]: Yeah. Yeah. Reginald Ferguson [01:11:24]: Yeah. Alright. I got that down. And, this is probably in Gaelic, but I'm the descendant of the ancient King of Scots. You are Fergus Mor Mokirk. Simon Brooking [01:11:38]: I don't know. Reginald Ferguson [01:11:38]: Man, I didn't speak English. Simon Brooking [01:11:40]: No, but you are royalty. Reginald Ferguson [01:11:41]: I know. I know. I knew that. And, the current chief of the Klan is, sir Adam Ferguson, or Kirkcoring. Simon Brooking [01:11:53]: Kirkcaring? Kirkcaring. Sorry. Reginald Ferguson [01:11:55]: New York City accent. Simon Brooking [01:11:57]: That's, yeah. That's in Argyle, and it's a village in Argyle. You have to come visit your clan's seat one day. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:07]: Uh-huh. I'd like to. I don't know if they have a seat for me. Simon Brooking [01:12:12]: We've always got a seat for a Ferguson. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:14]: Oh, well that's very kind. So, Gaelic, you clearly speak Gaelic. So, Ferguson is a descendant Gaelic wise from Macfergus. Simon Brooking [01:12:25]: Mac means son. Right. Son of son of Son of. Yeah. Mac Macfigus. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:30]: So, son of the angry. That's definitely me. Or son of the bold and proud. That's it. Also me. Simon Brooking [01:12:38]: Bold and prouder now that you're in the guild. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:42]: Well, should we take it for a test drive? Simon Brooking [01:12:44]: Absolutely. Let's do it. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:45]: Alright. Oh, my god. Wish me luck. Simon Brooking [01:12:47]: We're out of here. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:50]: Oh, my toes. Logan, please tell me when to stop walking when we do this. Reginald Ferguson [01:12:57]: Out the door chintz. Out the door? Reminds me of the song Scott's maneuvering at the end. He says, lad, I don't know where to get in, but it seems you're winning for a surprise. Yeah. Simon Brooking [01:13:09]: Ready? Yep. Reginald Ferguson [01:13:12]: Let's go. Well, I learned a heck of a lot about whiskey, and I hope you did too. Also hope you learned a little more about kilts. Surprised you, didn't I? I surprised myself. Now, thanks to Simon Brooking, senior scotch ambassador for Beam Suntory, for being so patient with me and my education. You can find him on Instagram at Simon Brookin. Big shout out to Copper and Oak for their Say hi to Tom. He's the man. Reginald Ferguson [01:13:52]: Say hi to Tom. He's the man. Well, that's a wrap. Thank you so much for listening. We hope you had fun and are down for another one. Please tell a friend who could use some fashion help about the podcast or share an episode with them directly. If you enjoy the show, please give us a rating and review on Apple Podcast. Lastly, if you constantly struggle putting an outfit together and are looking to turn that confusion into confidence, I'd love to talk about how we can improve your weight. Reginald Ferguson [01:14:24]: Check me out at and email me at for a consultation. A special shout goes to our producer, Serge, and everyone down with the Fashion Geek podcast. If you have a story suggestion, you can email me at or hit me up on the insta@newyorkfashiongeek. And remember, always be fly.
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