If you’re going to name an artisanal whiskey after a celebrity, it seems fitting to choose one whose last name is an anagram of the word “artisan.”
I recently attended a launch party held at the Clough Club for Jack Daniel’s new high-end hooch created in honour of the late great Frank Sinatra. The limited edition 90 proof Sinatra Select — now available at better B.C. booze stores near you — is aged in oak barrels with extra layers of toasted wood and comes with a more full-bodied, spicier flavour than the traditional Old No. 7 Tennessee bourbon.
Ol’ Blue Eyes’ glory days were well before my time. His weird duet with Bono twenty years ago is the first time I can remember hearing him sing and I wasn’t aware that he and J.D. had any kind of particular shared history. Dean Martin seems a more obvious Rat Packer to have a fancy shmancy brand of whiskey named after him given that pretending to be drunk was a big part of his act.
But it turns out this isn’t just a cheap marketing ploy by the world’s top-selling whiskey manufacturer to cash in on the legacy of a dead pop culture icon as an excuse to drastically jack up their prices. Frank really loved Jack. He loved it so much that he was buried with a bottle of it. He loved it so much that he had special dinner jackets made for a fictional Jack Daniel’s Country Club because, as an Italian-American with well-documented ties to the mob, Sinatra wasn’t always welcome at some of America’s posher private clubs, never mind his dark-skinned Jewish drinking buddy Sammy Davis Jr. Martin even immortalized his friend’s soft spot for the sauce with the line “I love Vegas, like Sinatra loves Jack Daniel’s.” And Dino really loved Las Vegas.
Frankly, it’s surprising Frank never recorded a version of Whiskey in the Jar. If anyone could do the line “musha ring dumma do damma da” justice, it’s the dude who scatted “dooby dooby doo” in Strangers in the Night.
Sinatra Select also comes with the endorsement of his only son in the press release announcing the new whiskey.
“Dad would be very flattered by the association,” said Frank Sinatra Jr., a professional singer in his own right who is best known for being Frank Sinatra’s son. “This fine Tennessee whiskey, or Old No. 7 as he referred to it, was a favourite part of my father’s life and he loved both sharing it with his friends and introducing it to new acquaintances.”
While this is all well and good, I can’t help but think a more deserving musician to get his own patented blend of J.D. is Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. Not only did the guy wield a customized bass guitar shaped like a bottle of it, he was famous for chugging back Jack on stage and then performing epic drunken solos. Anthony could probably use the money too given that he’s been booted out of the band in favour of guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s teenaged son Wolfgang in one of the worst examples of a musician cashing in on his father’s legacy since, well, Frank Sinatra Jr.
(© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier)