When Gabriel Urrutia pours out a few fingers of Aberfeldy scotch whisky, he figures an original whisky deserves a fittingly individual cigar. So he flames up a Davidoff Millennium.
Or if he’s got a taste for an old fashioned, that smoke might be Davidoff Nicaragua, a milder flavor that lends itself to summer and the warm weather tenor of the bitters and Aberfeldy.
Either way, Urrutia, Aberfeldy’s brand ambassador and a man about Miami, lets his palate do the heavy lifting when it comes to refreshment.
“Aberfeldy has an unusually long fermentation time, and I love that rarity,” says Urrutia, national brand ambassador for the scotch whisky that traces its roots to 1898 and the Scottish Highlands. “We treat our scotch whisky the same way Davidoff treats its cigars, with a uniqueness of flavor.”
The aging of both tobacco and whiskey is a memory-inducing process, he adds.
“You always go back and see what you were doing that many years ago. This is something that has been in a barrel for 12, 16 or 21 years, and it takes you to a special place in time. There’s nothing like a cigar and whisky, neat or on the rocks, to take me back.”
Urrutia’s latest crusade for Aberfeldy, known as the golden dram for its signature notes of sweetness, is a partnership with Bee Informed Partnership, a national group that helps beekeepers keep their production healthy.
The partnership is called the Gardening Giveback Project, and becomes part of Aberfeldy’s loyalty to the beekeeping industry. Gardening Giveback is an extension of Aberfeldy’s own Barrels and Bees program, which works with local beekeepers to feature their honey as a primary ingredient in select cocktails.
“We created the Barrels and Bees program to help support local beekeepers and protect these tiny creatures who do so much for our environment, “ Aleco Azqueta, brand director of single malts at Bacardi, which owns Aberfeldy, said in a statement.
Through Gardening Giveback, bartenders and beekeepers in eight U.S. cities are encouraged to foster community garden-style bee sanctuaries, growing flowers, herbs and vegetables in dual purpose: to foster a healthy environment for bees and cultivating ingredients that can be used in cocktails.
Aberfeldy has donated $10,000 to the Bee Informed Partnership as part of the effort.
“In tradition, Scottish honey is a big deal,” Urrutia said. “We are a honey styled whisky but we are not allowed to add anything like a sweetener after distillation. We realize how important honey bees are to the earth; They pollinate a good amount of the food we eat.”
Now, he said, through the partnership with BIP, the local beekeeper communities and encouraging the use of honey in a crafted Aberfeldy cocktail, “we’re spreading the love of the bee.”