Reader, if you have made it onto this website, I will take it as read that you are familiar with Scotland’s single greatest export, nay, its single greatest institution. Truly, there is nothing that has come out of my fair Caledonia that is more divine than the water of life itself.
The chasing pack of that particular race might well include such lesser innovations as penicillin, the television, Harry Potter, that Billy Connolly routine about a dwarf on a bus, and, of course, that ginger-haired mum on YouTube that yells “Disgustehng!”
Personally, I would add to that esteemed list the BBC sitcom ‘Still Game,’ an absolute gem of a show that, despite practically being on the Scottish school curriculum as a cultural icon, remains relatively unknown south of the border, or indeed anywhere else in the world.
‘Still Game’ (which followed the antics of two straight-talking, heavy-drinking Scottish OAPs in their less-than-desirable suburb of Glasgow) ran for six glorious seasons between 2002 and 2007, before returning for three noticeably weaker outings in 2016. Proof positive that, in sitcoms as with whisky, it is often best to quit while you’re ahead.
So popular was the show that for its 20-year anniversary, it has become the latest franchise to join the proud tradition of producing a tie-in whisky. Other honourable mentions on that list must include the ‘Game of Thrones’ range, ‘Kingsman/Statesman’ bourbon from Old Forrester, and the previously reviewed ‘Parks and Recreation’ themed bottles from Lagavulin. Another example is the three-grand-a-bottle ‘James Bond’ edition of The Macallan, which I am open to reviewing on receipt of a free sample if anyone at The Macallan happens to be reading.
It is truly fitting that a Scottish behemoth like ‘Still Game’ should provide the influence to enter this esteemed company. The last two Avengers movies may have made more money than a medium-sized continent, but for this reviewer, a ’Still Game’ whisky constitutes the greatest crossover event of his lifetime.
Named after the show’s two elderly protagonists, ‘Jack and Victor’ is a blended whisky from the Loch Lomond distillery. The show’s creators, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill, promise that it will offer something “to suit whisky newcomers and connoisseurs alike.” Bold words indeed for a blended whisky that doesn’t declare an age. Still, six seasons of laughs are enough for this reviewer to go in with a positive mindset, eager to exclaim “To me!” instead of “That’s Plenty” (if you knew the show you’d be laughing by now).
Jack and Victor Blended Scotch Whisky
ABV – 40%
Price – £35 (jackandvictor.com)
Nose – Clean and fresh woody aromas. Some deeper notes that are earthy and wholesome like a biscuit dipped in tea, rounded out with a nice, bright lift of lemon peel.
Palate – It’s a sweet sip. A bit of orange, a bit of caramel.Rich and red wine-y, with a small amount of smoke. It’s a surprisingly smooth and full flavour for a 40% blend.
Finish – In all honesty, there’s not much there. An enjoyable first taste fades away pretty quickly. A small hint of toasted oats remains, bit it’s in the finish that the limits of this blend are exposed.
Frankly, this is a hard one to review. For starters, I’m going into it with a biassed viewpoint, eager not to sully the legacy of one of the seminal shows of my teenage years any more than its latter three seasons already have.
To give it its due, Jack and Victor’s whisky is good. Really, it is. Good. It’s inoffensive, middle of the road, and probably not one to save for special occasions ‘good’. In the battle of the blends, it wipes the floor with Famous Grouse, Bells, or Mr Johnnie Walker’s Red or Black offerings (as well as it should for the price). In their pledge to appeal to newcomers and connoisseurs alike, the makers of this particular drop have probably done a better job of satisfying the former than the latter.
But fundamentally, there’s only so much one can expect from a £35 blend, and there’s only so much this one delivers. With my positive frame of mind, I’m inclined to be grateful to the creators that they had the good sense to only slap a £35 price tag on it. I’m sure there are many diehard fans like myself who would have been tempted to fork out substantially more for the novelty. That said, I can’t help but feel a little melancholy that the good people at Loch Lomond couldn’t come up with something better to match the quality of the show.