Here’s Everything We Know About Drake’s New Whiskey
Yep, Drizzy is getting into the liquor game. Here's what we know about his new whiskey, including whether or not it's any good.
TORONTO, ONTARIO - APRIL 12: Drake attends the Canadian Pre-Launch of Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey held at LCBO at Yonge & Summerhill on April 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey)
Rappers have long been launching their own lines of booze. Diddy has Cîroc, Pharrell had something called Qream—a peaches-and-cream liqueur he created "to celebrate the beautiful, independent and sophisticated women of today"—and Jay Z backs a Champagne called Armand de Brignac, also known as the Ace of Spades. There are a lot of less-notable rapper-backed booze lines out there, and the majority of them are vodka brands.
Now Drake is about to enter the fray, and he's putting his name behind a whiskey called Virginia Black. That's kind of out of left field for a rapper from Toronto who goes by Champagne Papi, and, let's be fair, Virginia isn't particularly known for its whiskey (at least not since colonial times).
But Drake hopes to change that. Virginia Black's fancy website says it all: "Glamour. Swagger. Soul. Decadence. Redefined. This is Virginia Black." The bottle certainly seems to reflect the mission statement—it resembles a big glass vial of expensive cologne, ready for the VIP booth.
The whiskey was created in collaboration with beverage entrepreneur Brent Hocking, a man with previous experience in the flashy booze industry. Virginia Black's website says Hocking is known for his "unconventional luxury with an edge approach," and he helped to launch DeLeón Tequila, an ultra-premium tequila that runs up to $900 a bottle. He sold that to a joint business venture between Diageo, the world's largest liquor producer, and, incidentally, Diddy. (Diageo also produces Cîroc).
Hocking says Virginia Black is "uniquely positioned to redefine American whiskey, [and] will engage enthusiasts irrespective of spirit preference or experience." He also said the price won't be prohibitively expensive. Virginia Black is positioned to appeal to a new consumer unfamiliar with whiskey. The brand plans to roll out more spirits in the future. Virginia Black is just the "first in a line of decadent expressions."
The Whiskey Wash, a website devoted to all things whiskey, including moves within the industry, isn't impressed. They also pointed out that the whiskey—a blend of two-, three- and four-year old bourbon whiskies, focused on a high-rye profile "finished with a decadent profile"—are sourced from Midwest Grain Products, a large distiller in Indiana that also produces the base for everything from Bulleit Rye and Templeton Rye to High West Rye and Redemption Rye.
Virginia Black says it is smooth, but with such a focus on rye, it should also be a little hot, too. We'll know more when Virginia Black launches on May 1 in New York, California, and Nevada, with an international roll-out to follow.
Then we'll see if Drake has the same magic touch for whiskey as he does for bangers. Started from the bottom, now we're drinking "not prohibitively expensive" whiskey.