Our latest Friday Tastings installment is as much about the packaging as the contents — a special edition of Chivas Regal 12 blended Scotch Whisky encased in a tin designed by dapper Savile Row fixture Patrick Grant. If it’s been a while since you’ve had a Chivas, rest assured the stuff is as rich, smooth, and tasty as ever. We thought the occasion of the new limited edition packaging was a fine excuse to lob a few mostly temperate questions Mr. Grant’s way. Here goes…
Brown liquor is having a moment in the States. Is the same thing happening across the pond?
I don’t know… It seems like it is, if the number of whisky cocktails that we get served at parties in the fashion world is any indication, then I think it probably is.
Is a beard a whisky-drinking requirement?
Well I’ve now got a moustache. It’s halfway between the two. I’m toying with the idea — though my girlfriend says she’ll kill me if I go for a moustache on its own — but we’ve had a run on beards in the last few years, so I think a few of us are heading towards a slightly less beardy facial hair situation. Possibly just out of boredom.
Well it was laziness that got us there in the first place. This is why I can’t really have a moustache because it still requires shaving every day. So what I’ve got is a moustache with stubble which looks like a weird hybrid but it still allows for not shaving every day. It allows for weekly trimming which is all I can be bothered with.
And as long as the girlfriend is happy then that’s the most important thing.
That’s exactly right.
I’m sure you get asked to do collaborations left and right. What drew you to this one in particular?
All sorts of reasons. Firstly I’m a Scot, and this being our national beverage, it was something I love to support — I love to support anything that comes out of Scotland that has resonance with what we do. And you know whisky making like tweed making and all of the rest of it have huge resonance with what we do on Savile Row — it’s all about artisanal skills, it’s about tradition, it’s about family heritage, it’s about passing on skills from one generation of craftsperson to another, there’s something very lovely about how there’s no manual for what these guys do. It’s years of training and then it’s natural flair that comes to the fore; you know the master blender, you can’t make a master blender you have to be born with it inside you somewhere to be able to pull all these notes together to be able to create something as magical as a beautiful blended whisky. Which is just what it’s like here — you learn the skills of a cutter or a tailor, but to be a really greater cutter on Savile Row you have to bring your own flair and passion for it.
Tell me about the design of the box.
The idea essentially is to celebrate the great elements of menswear. Menswear’s all about precision and detail so we wanted to tell the story of those great elements of upscale men’s dressing — the perfect amount of cuff showing below the sleeve mirrored by the identical amount of shirt collar showing above the jacket collar. Those little details. We’ve used classic silhouettes which all have their origins on Savile Row, and they’re drawn from very famous personalities — great iconic men of style over the last century. Colorwise it obviously draws its inspiration from the colors of the Chivas crest.
Who are some of these iconic male figures?
I probably shouldn’t say. Go search the image libraries and have a look you’ll see them somewhere. I don’t want to give the game away — try and guess. One of them may… or may not be me.
Obviously! How do you take your whisky?
I take it at room temperature, with a little bit of water. Preferably Scottish water.
At the risk of sounding pervy, what are you wearing right now?
I’m wearing a pair of black captoe oxford calfskin leather shoes by John Lobb, burgundy E. Tautz socks, an E. Tautz grey flannel two piece suit, a pale blue bespoke Norton & Sons shirt, and a navy and red bowtie, weirdly, which is very unusual for me these days, but that’s it.
You might have to send us a picture of that outfit.
You know, a selfie or something.
A selfie! I don’t think I’ve ever done a selfie in my life. I probably have a pathological objection to the selfie.
You need to get more American in you.
Really? I’m staunchly campaigning for people maintaining their national identity, especially in their dress.
Right you are. Now how should we be wearing our suits this winter?
However you want them. The winter is a brilliant time for clothing because you get to wear about 500 different garments all at once, especially if you live somewhere cold like New York. Wear great thick textures like tweeds and flannels and layers with brilliant overcoats, a nice Doctor Who scarf or something like that. I think the whole point of men’s dressing is that it needs to be personal to you so the only advice I ever give people is to wear what they feel comfortable wearing — the colors they like, the shapes they like — don’t worry about fashion, just wear your own thing.
Couldn’t agree more. So final question — what’s your favorite suit to wear while you’re enjoying a glass of Chivas?
Presumably I’d have to be wearing something in tweed, it would feel wrong to be enjoying a glass of Scotch whisky if one wasn’t wearing a Scotch fabric, so how about a beautiful Johnstons of Elgin Estate tweed suit in something suitably nutty brown.