Monday, September 15, 2014

Clan MacGregor Scotch Whisky Ad From The New York Times September 14, 1965

As with my posts Wolfschmidt Vodka Ad from The New York Times September 2, 1964 and Liquor Ads From The New York Times September 2, 1964, the inspiration for this post came while doing research for one of my other blogpages. I was looking for a boxscore in the September 14, 1965 edition of the New York Times for my post Willie Mays Reaches The 500 Home Run Plateau September 13, 1965 (from my Baseball Sisco blogpage) when I noticed that that day's New York Times had a whole bunch of liquor ads. The paper was printed on a Tuesday. Man, I guess Mondays in 1965 were so stressful that you would need so many liquor ads in the paper. LOL. One of the ads that caught my eye was for a scotch whisky by the name of Clan MacGregor. I had never heard about the Clan MacGregor brand of scotch whisky. It piqued my curiosity in this period that I am not drinking. I decided to dig a little deeper to see what this whisky is all about.

According to the Clan MacGregor website:
Clan MacGregor whisky honours the MacGregors, one of Scotland’s oldest clans and the decendents of ancient Celtic royalty as proclaimed in the motto ‘Royal is my Race’. The renowned history of the Clan dates back to the 14th century and Clan MacGregor whisky proudly displays the lion’s head crest, the symbol of the clan chief. The story of Clan MacGregor is perhaps the most stirring and fascinating of all the Scottish clans.

The Clan takes its name from Gregor, third son of Alpin, King of the Scots in the last part of the eighth century. This royal lineage gave rise to the clan motto, ‘Royal is my Race’. The MacGregor Clan underwent centuries of persecution and turmoil, with their land being confiscated and the very name MacGregor being outlawed. It is those who bravely defied their enemies in order to continue the Clan’s name who embody the spirit of Clan MacGregor. They were brave and resilient, and eventually all of their rights and privileges were restored. The fact that the Clan remained intact despite two centuries of oppression earned the MacGregors a reputation for unwavering courage and unbeatable unity.

The Clan badge, a crowned lion’s head on a wreath encircled with a belt and buckle, signifies the unity and loyalty of the Clan. Today, by using the badge on both bottle and label, Clan MacGregor proudly honours the heritage of the ancient Clan with a unique and distinctive style and signature.
I love looking into the history of these liquor brands that I come across either online or in person. But what about the scotch itself. The website states the following:
Fifteen of the finest malt and grain whiskies from the heart of Scotland have been skilfully blended to create a whisky of exceptional quality. Clan Macgregor Scotch whisky has a delicate, sweet aroma and a smooth, mellow taste – which has won many awards over the years.

Explore the flavours and aromas of one of the world’s finest blended Scotch whiskies.

COLOUR: Straw gold

NOSE: Distinctive sweetness, vanilla, malted, drying, hints of smoke

TASTE: Rich, grainy sweetness, hints of dry smoke, baked apple, biscuity, smooth, malty, lingering

FINISH: Long, clean, delicate sweetness
Now I have yet to come across Clan MacGregor scotch in my travels so I decided to look around online for some reviews.

Sláinte's post from September 6, 2011 entitled Whisky review: Clan MacGregor had the following review:
Clan MacGregor, 40% ABV
Blended Scotch whisky

Nose: Light and fruity, kind of like the standard Jameson. We're off to a decent start. Oh wait. After a bit more nosing, I really start to smell just ethanol and not much else.

Palate: The crap is beginning to really shine through here. Fruity crap, a bit of woody crap, and something in the back of my throat like charred crap.

Finish: Light fruits turning into crap.

Rating (of 100): 53. It would do in a pinch, like if the only other potential drinks you had were Drano and a full spittoon. I might still go for the spittoon, though, hoping one of its contributors had consumed a different whisky prior to use.

In the end, the remainder of my dram met the same fate a bottle of Drano would expect to meet.
Ouch!!! Not a good start. Off on the information highway I went to see if I could find another review.

I came across a website called We Love Scotch. For scotch lovers, I was curious to see what they thought about the Clan MacGregor scotch. Here is their review of Clan MacGregor scotch:
Name – Clan MacGregor

Price – $ (13 Bucks)

Region – Unknown

Blend/Single Malt – Blend

Promo Language – Combines the qualities of exceptional taste and fine flavor.

First Glass – Before we get started here, let us take a moment, on our first glass, as a chance to say everything we like about this scotch, First, the name is awesome! I mean, you can't even say “Clan MacGregor” without a proper 18th century Scot-Irish accent, circa Sean Connery. Second…uh…moving on.

Second Glass - Even for the “angel's share” the angels likely said, “meh, we'll pass.” I would use this scotch to clean my kid's paint brushes but I am afraid it would ruin her paint brushes.
The House that Scotch Built 

Reaching the Roof – This is a real service we are providing. Come on. We should have stopped at one glass. This is just awful. Just awful.

Mowing the Yard – We decided we had to find out more about this scotch. We scoured the web only to find some ancient blog review (back when this was going for 4 bucks a bottle) and this Facebook page. Founded by college drunks that hold Clan MacGregor with the same reverence as Old English Malt Liquor, Four Loco, Hookah's and Vivarin. Ah, to be young again.

Digging the Ditch – I am certain that I have had better scotch off a gun. It tastes like anti-freeze and melted bottle caps.

Draining the Well – Come on. We can't be expected to finish this.
Day After Thoughts: My hangover has a hangover.

Epilogue: We are out of scotch and forced to revisit the Mac Gregor. In our best Braveheart voice: You can take away our sobriety, but you'll never take our taste buds!
Damn!!! Wow. Can this scotch be that bad? Along the way I found a review by my good buddy Will Gordon who can be reached on Twitter @WillGordonAgain and you can read his articles on the Will Gordon Kinja page. Now this review by Will dates back to April 21, 2011 when he was doing the Drinking the Bottom Shelf column in the Drinks section of Serious Eats. Here is Will's review Drinking the Bottom Shelf: Clan MacGregor Scotch Whisky:
There is one part of life in which I'm just as patriotic as the next guy in a truck commercial, though, and that's booze. My favorite beer is Coniston Bluebird Bitter, which is English, but the next 20 on the list are big overhopped American tough-guy brews. And it seems like I never shut up about Old Crow and Eagle Rare, which is why it was disconcerting to discover that I like Scotch a lot more than I'd ever admitted to myself, and quite possibly more than I like bourbon. It will take months of rigorous research in other people's liquor cabinets to know for sure, but if the $12.99 liter of Clan MacGregor I picked up last week is any indication, the Scots might win this war.

I've always been vaguely aware that Scotch can be good for you in the same way Nantucket and cosmetic dentistry can be—when someone else is doing the planning and the paying—but I worried that it was too expensive and complicated to mess with here on the Bottom Shelf. My mistake.

Clan MacGregor tastes exceedingly Scotchy to me, so I was surprised that most reviewers call it simple and bland. It's a cheap blend and therefore more grainy than malty, but it's still got those weird fetid tobacco notes and maybe even a little maple syrup (though, full disclosure, I may be smelling that off my shirt).

I've had some excellent Scotch cocktails lately, but I've yet to make one myself. I've only tried once: MacGregor and grapefruit juice isn't as good as plain MacGregor or plain grapefruit juice, but I look forward to my next trip to the drawing board.

For now, cheap bourbon's still the preferred brown water in my parts because its charms are easier to harness; I like MacGregor but I haven't figured out what to do with it other than drink it neat or with soda, and there's a chance I just got lucky with my first bottle and all the other budget Clans are undrinkable.
Well there you go. That's a review I can back from someone whose pedigree I'm familiar with. Now will I run out to find a bottle of Clan MacGregor scotch? Probably not since I am not particularly drinking at the moment. But if I find that I come across one of those little bottles of Clan MacGregor that they serve on airplanes, then I'll cue up Highlander on the Blu-Ray player and give Clan MacGregor a go.

What do you all think of this particular blended scotch. Yea? Nay? Let me know what you think.

Until Then Happy Drinking,

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Liquor Ads From The New York Times September 2, 1964

Hmm, I forgot to post these images for Booze ads from the September 2, 1964 issue of the New York Times that I started with my prior post Wolfschmidt Vodka Ad from The New York Times September 2, 1964. Enjoy the images of the Mad Men era of yesteryear when alcohol ads could advertise in the newspapers.

Old Grand-Dad Bourbon

J&B Scotch Whisky 

White Horse Scotch Whisky
I wrote about both J&B and White Horse Scotch Whiskys in my post on the movie Crimson The Color of Blood (1973). I had a number of samples of Old Grand-Dad Bourbon a couple of months ago but I didn't really take detailed notes so I will have to wait for a future tasting to let you all know what I think of the Old Grand-Dad.

I have a couple of more ads from a later date from the New York Times that I will post on in due time. Things have been pretty hectic personally, so I apologize for my sparse posts as of late. I'll try to post regularly from now on.

Until Then Happy Drinking,

Monday, September 1, 2014

Wolfschmidt Vodka Ad from The New York Times September 2, 1964

I was on the New York Times archive website known as the TimesMachine for a blogpost I did for my Baseball Sisco Kid Style blogpage. I was looking for a boxscore to include in my post Masanori Murakami becomes the first Japanese player in MLB September 1, 1964, when I noticed a number of liquor ads on a number of pages of the September 2, 1964 issue of the New York Times. I found them curious so I copied them and will post them here in the next few posts for your viewing pleasure. The first one I decided to showcase was an ad for Wolfschmidt Vodka.

Wolfschmidt Genuine Vodka
I'm trying to find something significant about the Wolfschmidt Vodka brand. I can't say that I have found anything significant about its origins. The Best Brands Incorporated website's listing for Wolfschmidt Vodka states:
Vodka made in the U.S. since 1847. The first vodka introduced to the USA around the turn of the century. Originally made in Latvia then Holland. It has won 37 medals in international competitions. Now owned by Jim Beam brands and produced in the U.S.
Well that was rather brief. I found that Wolfschmidt has a connection with the Seagrams company. For an interesting article on the history of Seagram, I suggest reading the following article: “From Shirtsleeves to Shirtless”: The Bronfman Dynasty and the Seagram Empire by Graham D. Taylor from the Business and Economic Online Journal Volume 4, 2006. Taylor states
Seagram also entered the rum business during World War II and established partnerships with Mumm (champagne), Noilly Prat (vermouth), and Wolfschmidt (vodka) in the early 1950s.
In more recent news, the article Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc. History from the Finding Universe website states:
Beam's acquisitions continued into the 1990s, with the $272 million purchase of the United Kingdom-based Whyte & Mackay Distillers, bringing that company's best-selling scotch whiskeys into its product line. In 1990, Beam's volume topped 15 million cases. The following year, Beam Brands paid Seagram $372.5 million for seven of its brand trademarks, including the strong sellers Ronrico rum and Wolfschmidt vodka.
As of 2012, it looked like the Wolfschmidt Vodka brand was being rebranded as a wine-cooler? The Wine and Spirtis Daily website in their post Spirits Post Strong Sales in March from April 18, 2012 states:
WSD has learned that Beam Global is switching Wolfschmidt and Kamchatka vodkas to "Vodka Liqueurs." Using 10% sugar and 49% wine, this allows the products to sell at a lower price and may bring a new level of competition to the already competitive vodka category. The new products are reportedly launching May 1.
"Beam's value-for-money vodkas are benefiting from updated packaging, as well as a new liquid formulation that delivers the same value and taste profile consumers of these products already love. Vodka is still the base, blended with a high-proof liqueur. Beam is the market leader in liqueurs, and this vodka with premium liqueur formulation simply extends our leadership and expertise to enhance our value vodka brands, Kamchatka and Wolfschmidt. Testing indicates consumers of these brands will respond favorably to the refreshed packaging. Given the high quality of the liquid in these brands, we do not expect the selling price of these products to materially change," Clarkson Hine, svp of corporate communications, told WSD.
Have any of you out there tasted any of the new Wolfschmidt vodka liqueur blends? Now I can't say that I've seen any version of Wolfschmidt Vodka in recent years. Maybe I don't want to. I leave you with a couple of classic Wolfschmidt Vodka ads from the 1960's with the bottle of Vodka sounding like Don Draper of Mad Men fame.

Until Then Happy Drinking,