The grand kick-off of party for International Scotch Day (which happened on February 8, 2018) was held at the Philippines in Manila House. The worldwide festivity (with over 70 countries participating) aims to celebrate “everything that gives the world’s favorite whiskey its unique character, flavor and personality.” Held during the birthday week of the world’s most influential Master Blenders, Alexander Walker (son of John “Johnnie” Walker), alcohol enthusiasts made their way to the private member’s club for a unique, star-studded party.
In attendance this year was Diageo’s Global Scotch Whiskey Ambassador Ervin Trykowski, who led the festivities by hosting several tastings that showcased the flavors of Johnnie Walker Black Label, the sweet honey tasting Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, and the fruity taste of Singleton of Dufftown. Manila’s top bars Yes Please, 12/10, and The Curator were on hand at the event with their own bar set-ups, showcasing the scotch’s versatility through bespoke cocktails. Those in attendance flooded social media drinks in hand, using the hashtag #LoveScotch (the campaign’s official name) to document the evening.
“No other spirit can offer the same range of tastes, textures and flavors such as scotch,” Trykowski shared. “Whether you already love scotch or you just haven’t found the one for you yet, #LoveScotch is all about exploring those tastes and finding the one that suits yours.” Trykowski joined Diageo in 2014 and is now their global spokesperson. The young man’s task: attract young people to discover the magic of scotch. However, Diageo encourages “everyone to discover scotch” but “choose to drink responsibly.”
Hollywood actor James Marsden was also present, declaring his love for scotch to all those in attendance. “Scotch has always been one of my favorite drinks and I’m excited to be in the Philippines to usher in International Scotch day celebrations with my fellow scotch enthusiasts,” said the actor whose filmography includes such hits like X-Men (2000), The Notebook (2004), and Enchanted (2007). Lifestyle Asia was granted exclusive access and asked Marsden several questions, including why he loves scotch, what his first scotch memories are, and his advice to young actors. Read the full interview below:
LIFESTYLE ASIA: Welcome to Manila. When did you arrive?
JAMES MARSDEN: It’s been great! I’ve never been to the Philippines before. I’ve never been to Manila. I arrived yesterday morning to really nice weather. I threw my bags into my room which looks out to the pool, and was welcomed by some of the kindest, most generous people I’ve ever met. It’s been really nice to be greeted with such warmth and smiles.
LA: We love #LoveScotch’s campaign in general. What drew you into doing it?
JM: I have to say that I really do love scotch. It’s my favorite drink, which I’ve drank for many decades now (not to put a date on myself). So when I saw the word “love” and “scotch”, I thought it was a good fit for me. I heard about the campaign, and as one of my favorite drinks I thought it would be a really interesting thing to be a part of.
LA: Do you like drinking it a certain way? You must have a favorite go-to scotch drink.
JM: I think my favorite way to drink it is to pour some in a glass and add a bit of water, just to sort of round the edges a little bit and open up the flavors. Then I just sit back and let it take me where it wants to take me.
LA: Do you remember your first scotch memory?
JM: My first scotch memory? I don’t remember the first time I drank scotch, but the first time it had a significant impact on me was when I had booked the role of Cyclops in X-Men. To celebrate, I had a really nice glass of scotch with my manager at the time.
LA: Do you remember what scotch it was?
JM: I don’t remember which one it was, but it was not cheap! It was from a very special cask. I think it may have been something that ignited my passion for it.
LA: Are you the type of person who would say, “I had a long day of work, I’m gonna have a glass of scotch before I go to bed?”
JM: I feel like I fall under that “after a long day of work” category. It sort of eases you into relaxation.
LA: How often do you drink scotch?
JM: I drink it moderately and when I feel like it. Not so much that I stop enjoying it. Not so little that I forget what it tastes like, you know? I try to make it a special occasion.
LA: What kind of man or woman drinks scotch, especially Diageo scotch?
JM: Well you’re looking at one of them! However, you’d define me. I think it’s the people who value quality over quantity. They are interested in looking for an experience and more than just a drink or a buzz. It also has such a great style to it. So scotch drinkers are also people with great style. Scotch is also topic of conversation. It’s rare that a drink can be a topic even when you’re drinking it. r I think there’s a level of refinement to scotch that might reflect on the people who drink it.
LA: Do you believe it’s an art form?
JM: Yeah, I do! Well, though I don’t know much about the gentlemen and women who actually make the scotch, but I do believe that what they do it an art form for sure.
LA: if you could give advice to a young actor or somebody who wants to come to Hollywood and follow your footsteps, what would you say to them?
I would say that it is all about passion. I think that a lot of times nowadays, people are looking for the quick ascension into fame and nobody really wants to do the work or wants to get behind their passion. For actors and actresses, I would say that they get involved in theater. What’s most important is that your love stays there and that the passion stays ignited. Theater is a good way to do that. Keep doing it and you’ll be seen by the right people. People love to see someone doing what they love.
By Chino R. Hernandez
Photographs courtesy of Diageo