Above: Stephanie Jordan explores Athens
Call it nosey, (we’re sticking with curiosity as it makes us feel better) who doesn’t like getting a sneaky peek inside what makes a person or brand tick? Joanne McKercher, Gins Historian at Diageo is with us on this one. “To understand the history of a brand, for me, it’s vital to understand the person behind it,” she says matter-of-factly. She’s talking generally of course but right now she’s referring specifically to Tanqueray Gin and the bright, very brilliant mind of its creator, Charles Tanqueray.
Talk about a pioneering spirit, here was a man who in the very wise words of Frank Sinatra, did things his way. Where most people zigged, he zagged, best exemplified in his decision not to follow the family into the clergy and going it alone as an entrepreneur, chemist and traveller instead. Pretty bold at any time but particularly rad given the fact this was in the 1830s…
There’s more too, all of which can be found in his meticulous recipe books and travel diary. “I’m incredibly lucky that these documents exist as they provide me with a rare glimpse in to the man behind the gin,” adds Joanne. She calls the diary ‘the twinkle in his eye’, we call it a true inspiration. “We know from his recipe books that Charles was a driven, passionate and creative man but the diary tells me so much more.” Like what? “He loved to socialise, he enjoyed a brandy or Champagne, he liked to swim at dawn and he also had an eye for a pretty lady. The diary is one of the most treasured items in the Tanqueray collection and I often refer back to it to remind me of the man who founded a gin legacy over 180 years ago.”
Stephanie Jordan, Tanqueray Global Brand Ambassador agrees. “Charles was an incredible man who had a lust for life and a real sense for adventure yet his story has never really been told,” she says. She’s made it her mission to put that right by embarking on a journey inspired by the great man himself. “I’m dusting off the original travel diary where he documented his amazing trips including one in 1844 where he travelled from Dover to Germany and detailed everything he ate and drank. He was an extraordinary man, a real bon vivant. What better way to combine his and my thirst for travel than to source the best botanicals in his case and the best gin joints in mine?”
Tanqueray bottles throughout the ages; above: Charles Tanqueray, the original hipster
Over the next 12 months Stephanie will be showing off her global credentials by documenting her travels in Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Mexico, USA and South Africa. In true Charles Tanqueray style, expect fascinating insights into the places as well as its people and products. “I’ll be bringing them all to light in a series of video diaries where I’ll be highlighting the top three bars in each territory and asking local bartenders to create a unique serve using indigenous ingredients.” It’s guaranteed to be one helluva journey. See the launch video and keep up to date at #TanquerayTravelLog.