Prince of Wales: Tom Jones gets our vote
Prince of Wales: Tom Jones gets our vote
Credit: Tom Jones

Neat Stuff 15: Tom Jones needs his own whiskey, Scotch makes the rich list and bartenders’ top bargain bourbons

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Hey, Tiger: Why Tom Jones should be a national drink

We’ve never been to Wales, but one of its annual traditions sounds refreshing. Every March, Penderyn releases a new bottle in its Icons of Wales single malt series, WalesOnline reports. Now at No. 6, the distiller is aiming for 50.

So far, the series, dedicated to a person, milestone or event from Welsh history, has honored the likes of opera star Bryn Terfel and poet and author Dylan Thomas. “It begins with the aroma of sugar bonbons, rich with the smell of creamy toffee and vanilla,” Penderyn says of the nose on sherrywood-finished Dylan.

The short-lived Thomas (“An alcoholic is someone you don’t like who drinks as much as you do”) was a true genius. But as sure as we like some whiskey in our water, we hope there are plans to add his fellow Welshman Tom Jones to the roster, too.

Still rocking it in his late 70s with the baritone that helped earn him the nickname Tiger from the ladies, Sir Tom counts Elvis among his fans. Penderyn, what are you waiting for?

Take a walk with me

Then there’s the other Tom Jones, aka @whiskyexplorer, Johnnie Walker’s global ambassador. Nice work if you can get it. Here, the younger Tom leads the first leg of a JW-heavy tour of Scotland. Pop down to Wales while you’re at it.

Money in the bank Credit: Christies
Money in the bank
Credit: Christie's

Lap of luxury: Whiskey strikes it rich

Well done, whiskey: you’ve topped the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) in your debut. As Nicola Carruthers of The Spirits Business relates, the KFLII is part of U.K. real estate consulting firm Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report, a tally of all things moneybags. The 2019 edition features the Rare Whisky 100 Index, which tracks, you guessed it, 100 of the world’s hardest-to-get Scotches.

Living the dram

The rare stuff eclipsed coins, wine and art in 2018, gaining 40% in value. The index, compiled by Rare Whisky 101, has surged 582% over the past decade. That, plus new direct flights between Edinburgh and Beijing, 40% annual growth in Scotch sales to India and China, and last year’s record $1.5-million* auction of a bottle of 1926 Macallan, “should have Scotland’s distillers raising a dram or two,” Knight Frank says.

*All prices in U.S. dollars

Join us for a bourbon in Miami
Credit: The ScapeGoat, Joe Turman, Blue Steel Media

Barkeep, another round! Drink slingers dish on their fave bottom-shelf bourbons

Bartenders know whiskey, including the best bargain brands. Christopher Osburn of Uproxx got some good intel when he hit up North American watering holes and dining rooms for budget winter bourbon suggestions.

Ice cubes optional

In Huntington Beach, California, Pacific Hideaway bartender Casey Lyons prefers Old Grand-Dad, calling the Beam Suntory issue spicy and bright. “Throw it between two expensive eyes during a tasting and watch your friends lose their minds.”

For Felipe Ojeda, beverage director at Miami Beach’s The ScapeGoat, make it an Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage from Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Distillery. “It’s both nutty and smooth, and at 43.3% ABV it’s not too alcoholic but still has a kick,” he says. “It’s a single barrel expression, so it has a lot of character worth enjoying with a good cigar.”

At Brasserie by Niche in St. Louis, Kentucky stalwart Old Forester keeps bartender Melinda Cooper happy: “Ice cubes optional—Old Fo doesn’t need anything at all to be delicious.”

Credit: Pabst Brewing
What’ll we have? Maybe not a PBR
Credit: Pabst Brewing Co.

Make mine a PBR. Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

We don’t know about you, but bearded young dudes clutching cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon abound in our town, even though it’s awash in craft beer. Looks like L.A.-based Pabst Brewing Co.  hopes to wring more cash from them by dropping its own whiskey.

So says Crain’s Detroit Business, which reveals that Michigan brewer and distiller New Holland Brewing Co.has won federal approval for a Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey label. The devil is in the details—namely, the little note that this new hipster bait will be “aged 5 seconds.” That’s barely enough time to knock back a PBR.

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