The Whiskies in the world of cinema
If, like me, you had a little luck during the holidays, you may have been able to rest. Among other things, I took the time to watch some series and some films. But even in “relaxation mode”, my passion for whiskey resurfaced quickly.
We are going to start the year with more of a light subject: whiskey and cinema. Take out your popcorn bag and sit comfortably, you will even be able to watch some video clips in the process.
Before getting to the heart of the subject, answer this simple question: Have you ever tasted Glencallan? And if so, when approximately? Take note of your answers, we will talk about it towards the end of the text.
There are several films in which known whiskeys appear and, in some cases, it is just for realism. On the other hand, it is mostly for product placement: a whiskey put forward in a film or series in exchange for compensation. Whiskeys may only appear in the background in a bar, but we especially notice those that are manipulated by the actors. There are also closer collaborations between the world of film and whiskey to create specific products for a film or series.
Let’s start with some examples of whiskey highlighted in known movies or series. Were they product placements made for money? You would have to talk to the production or the distilleries to get confirmation.
In the 1992 movie, The Bodyguard, starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston, Springbank is clearly visible on the table, and Kevin Costner takes the bottle to cork it and put it back on a shelf. According to the rumors, it seems that the presence of this product comes from the fact that the director spent a few days vacation in the region of Campbeltown, where the distillery is located, just before making the film.
The 10-year-old Ardbeg spends a lot of time on the screen of the 2005 film “Constantine” starring Keanu Reeves.
Video : https://vimeo.com/270452204
In the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, a bottle of Macallan appears in four different scenes, including one time in which it is an integral part of the scene. The villain “Silva” pours a glass of a 50-year-old Macallan to James Bond, who takes it all at once. The second glass ends on the floor. What a waste! But that’s another story.
Video : https://vimeo.com/56865709
The Wolverine, a Marvel’s 2013 movie, was a great advertisement for a Hibiki Japanese whiskey. We can see it for several seconds on the screen when Logan and Yukio are on the plane.
Video : https://vimeo.com/110506047
In the television show Suits, we were able to see some whiskeys since one of the main characters, Harvey Specter, likes a glass of Scotch from time to time. In the following example, we can see the product so much that we could bet that it is a case of product placement in exchange for remuneration. Harvey and Jessica open a bottle of Macallan 25.
Video : https://vimeo.com/291938577
In the category of close collaborations between distillery and film producers, we can easily identify these few examples:
In the 2017 movie: Kingsman – The Golden Circle, part of the action takes place under a bourbon distillery that serves as a cover for a secret organization, the American counterpart of the Kingsman. Fox has agreed with the Old Forester bourbon company to launch an Old Forester Statesman version. It is still possible to find that product in the United-States at retail prices between 70 $ and 90 $ CAD. They also did the same thing with GlenDronach and released a Glendronach Kingsman 25 years, the age of the main character of the film. They are available on the secondary market, mostly on European auction websites, at prices varying between 1200$ and 1800$ CAD.
Also in 2017, following the first experience in 1982 with the original film, we had a collaboration between the producers and Diageo for the Blade Runner 2049 film starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling. The Johnnie Walker Black Label was released in a futuristic bottle with a package clearly indicating Blade Runner 2049.
Here you have all the details about this bottle, pictures of the production line and even a video highlighting the bottle. This bottle can still be found between $ 300 to $ 500 CAD on the secondary market.
The relationship between Diageo and world of cinema must be appealing to its managers considering the fact that they brought it back this year with eight bottles for the Games of Thrones series. Fans are already snapping up the bottles, so it’s safe to say that we will be entitled to other marketing stunts like this in the future.
For those interested, some of these Games of Thrones products will be in SAQ stores soon. They have been or are still available for some versions at the LCBO stores or in Western Canada.
We are now returning to our initial question: have you already tasted Glencallan? When was it: 5 years ago, 10 years ago? With friends? Do you remember what it was like? Well, your memory is lacking!
This Scottish whiskey was invented from scratch by Independent Studio Services, a company supplying movie props.
HPR Graphics and Independent Studio Services are responsible for a lot of fake whiskey that we see on the screen. Check out their website and have fun finding out what real labels these fakes look like.
On the HPR Graphics website, you can see the Clyburn label, seen in the television series “How I met your mother” (S05E21) and the MacCutcheon, seen in “Lost” (S03E08).
But the award for fake whiskeys goes to Glencallan from Independent Studio Services. You can see it on the ISS website along with other labels.
Glencallan appears in the series: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S01E05), Burn Notice (S03E12), Castle (SO7e11), Chicago P.D. (S02E17), Gray’s Anatomy (S06E12), Pretty Little Liars (S04E14 and S05E03), Sons of Anarchy (S05E02 and S05E05) and many others.
The name is probably a reference to Glenfiddich or Glenmorangie and Macallan. In fact, if we look closer into the details, the label shows that the address is “Dipton, Ross-Shire”. Ross-Shire is the Scottish county where is located the Glenmorangie Distillery, and the AB55 4BB is in the Scottish town of Dufftown, the location of the Glenfiddich distillery.
Also, the font used on the bottle is the same as Glencallan and Macallan.
So, was your popcorn good? I hope I gave you the itch to watch or rewatch these movies and series while paying attention to the whiskeys that can be seen on screen. Feel free to send me your finds on the Passion Whiskey Québec Facebook page.
Ah! I almost forgot: Happy New Year 2019 filled with beautiful tastings and discoveries!