Food & Drinks

A Bar With Old Vibe, But Utterly Romantic

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Global Glenfiddich brand ambassador Struan Grant Ralph speaking during the Glenfiddich Whisky night event held at Sankara Hotel on December 14, 2017. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • This is a night before the launch of the 21-year-old Glenfiddich, a drink of such magnanimous personality, such a sweet soul, such beautiful packaging — orange like the colour of sunset.
  • Struan was quite the character; tall like a pine tree, a great host, passionate about his whisky and about his history in the cold hills of Scotland.
  • The terrace brought memories of his childhood in Kenya in the 70s when his father worked here.

In December last year, I had a boozy lunch with the Glenfiddich global ambassador, Struan Grant Ralph, and his beard at the Lord Erroll in Nairobi.

We sat at the terrace, where a chef brought his “kitchen” right next to our table and fried whatever we wanted to eat.

It was a beautifully excessive spectacle.

This is a night before the launch of the 21-year-old Glenfiddich, a drink of such magnanimous personality, such a sweet soul, such beautiful packaging — orange like the colour of sunset.

Struan was quite the character; tall like a pine tree, a great host, passionate about his whisky and about his history in the cold hills of Scotland.

The terrace brought memories of his childhood in Kenya in the 70s when his father worked here. I had no memories of the terrace other than the fact that I liked how aged it was, the promise of a history preserved and the ghosts of the gone era.

The bar still has that old gentry feel, a place where men drunk cognac and whiskey and told old jokes with snub-nosed punchlines.

The Lord Erroll had that aged vibe, a vibe that makes you not rush your drink.

And so when he cracked open a bottle of Glenfiddich 21-year-old and poured a finger in two glasses, we touched our glasses he said “Slàinte” (Pronounced slanj) To mean, “to your health.” Then we sat there and listened to our palates process the beauty of this 21-year-old.

We sat there and tasted the history dating back to 1959, of the soil and the sea and the commitment in the distilleries faraway.

The sun was just right at the terrace and although I had another meeting scheduled for later, I knew that I was going to cancel it with apology, on text, because I didn’t want to use my tongue too much to speak. I wanted it to remember that moment.