The thing I remember most about Crows Craft as an alcohol brand is their legendary, albeit crass sounding, beer label called De Puta Madre, named so because the expression (despite it seeming to call someone’s mother a whore, it’s typically used amongst the Spanish speaking folk in Manila to mean something is so cool, it’s “the sh*t”) is something I would imagine myself saying after tasting the rich, flavourful, heavily aromatic double IPA craft ale. I’m also familiar with their Crows Pale Ale (an easy drinking pale ale), Carte Blanche (their craft take on a white beer), and Mala Hierba (“Bad Weed” is a wonderfully balanced India Pale Ale).
The brand has since diversified into launching one of my favourite local craft gins, Crows Gin, which makes use of the Philippine “flora and fauna” as botanicals. An added romanticism to it is its very limited quantity, because the brand only makes 300 bottles per batch, each numbered by hand.
In the spirit of keeping quality over quantity in mind (with a touch of rock n’ roll vibe, as is the brand’s image), on March 13, 2019 in Elbert’s Upstairs Bar, Crows launched the very first craft Philippine single malt whiskey, Crows Whiskey.
One might wonder where this seemingly irreverent spirit comes from. Former lead vocalist of the rock group Razorback, Jose Mari Cuervo, founded the label after messing around with a “How To Brew Your Own Beer Kit” during his time in the USA. To Cuervo, making whiskey is a “natural progression” from beer, having had to use similar agricultural products to produce both alcoholic beverages: Barley.
To find that perfect whiskey, he went on the route of conducting experimentations (it helps to have friends who helped him sample different iterations of the drink), eventually coming up with the blend: A cask strength (65% ABV, phew!) whiskey reminiscent of candied oranges, ginger, and bread.
While it’s tempting to dilute it with a little water or have it on the rocks (personally, I splash a little water on my whiskey to get the little nuances out… Else, I typically get stuck with a nose full of alcohol), Cuervo insists, in true rocker fashion, that there is no right way of enjoying whiskey.
My recommendation on how to drink Crows Whiskey is with fellow whisky-philes, listening to awesome rock music, while munching on some truly pinoy pulutan. I’m personally penciling in a drinking session with my family (all of us are whisky-philes, of course), while listening to a 90s rock playlist I just made.
How would you enjoy Crows Whiskey? Leave a comment below and let us know. Cheers!
All photos courtesy of Jean Park from Enderun Colleges