“The first rule of Dram Club is: you DO NOT talk about Dram Club.”
It’s kind of ironic that I’m putting this article here on the website. But I got permission from Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, one of the club’s organisers. So it’s all good. Besides, the concept is too refreshingly brilliant to be kept to a select group of people.
What exactly is Dram Club?
Some of you may have recognized the Fight Club reference immediately and similarly, Dram Club pits two whisky brands, or rather, brand ambassadors against each other.
True to the spirit and feel of its muse, the first Dram Club “bout” was held at an industrial warehouse in Tuas.
In the red corner is Matthew, regional brand ambassador for Glenfiddich. And in the blue corner, Neil Strachan, regional brand ambassador for The Balvenie. Indeed, it was a fight between two flagship products from William Grant and Sons – Glenfiddich versus The Balvenie.
Obviously, they don’t get into a physical altercation. Instead of trading punches, both gentlemen hurled insults at each other while exemplifying the virtues of the distilleries that they represent.
There were no holds barred and at times, the banter was amusingly vulgar. Neil played the lineage card, ridiculing Matthew’s purported convict heritage (Matthew’s a fifth generation Western Australian, by the way). Matthew came prepared with a print-out from a scene from The Hobbit, with Neil’s face superimposed onto Samwise Gamgee. Come to think of it, the resemblance is uncanny. They also talked about their distillery’s history and what makes their whiskies special.
Expressions from Glenfiddich and The Balvenie were served in between rounds. The respective supporters cheered, jeered and got appropriately inebriated. It was definitely not your usual whisky tasting event.
After all the verbal back-and-forth, Neil’s The Balvenie edged out Matthew’s Glenfiddich. Probably nobody in the audience really knew what the winning criteria was, but it didn’t matter at all.
The next Dram Club will be scheduled in the first quarter of 2017. Want entry to the club? All you have to do is ask.
All photos courtesy of Patrick Sng