Bourbon

This page will be updated as we go through the novels)

This Kentucky-based barrel-aged whisky seems to be a Bond staple when abroad.

bourbon-barrelsAn observation can be made about Bond’s drinking preferences and habits. He’ll drink a martini at a bar or restaurant or when in company, while when drinking alone or in his hotel room, he often has bourbon.

He has a few favorite brands that are specifically mentioned throughout the series. These each have their own page:

I.W. Harper’s
Jack Daniels (coming)
Walker’s DeLuxe
Old Grandad
Virginia Gentleman

Here are other references to Bond drinking Bourbon throughout the series.

In Live and Let Die, Bond orders Old Fashions on the Silver Phantom, stipulating Old Grandad Bourbon. Before meeting up with The Robber, he has a quarter of a pint of Old Grandad with his steak dinner, and  later has two double Old Grandads on the rocks while preparing to leave Tampa.

Throughout Diamonds are Forever, Bond consumes Bourbon and Bourbon and Branch water.

The opening chapter of Goldfinger is entitled REFLECTIONS IN A DOUBLE BOURBON and Bond has several before heading out with Mr Dupont.

In Thunderball, after finding the plane, Bond goes back to his room and orders a “club sandwich and double bourbon on the rocks” before phoning Domino.

In The Spy Who Loved Me, Vivienne Michel is consuming the last of her bottle of Virginia Gentleman bourbon as the story gets going.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, while at Piz Gloria, Bond sits next to Ruby at dinner, who is having a Daiquiri, and Bond orders a double Bourbon on the rocks.

After Tracy gives Bond a detailed description of what she had for dinner, Bond tells her over the phone that “I had two ham sandwiches with stacks of mustard and half a pint of Harper’s Bourbon on the rocks.The bourbon was better than the ham.”

When Bond meets Marc-Ange to discuss the commando job on Piz Gloria, he “poured himself a stiff Jack Daniel’s sourmash bourbon on the rocks and added some water.”

In You Only Live Twice, Bond, while at the Miyako hotel in Kyoto, Bond orders “a pint of Jack Daniels and a double portion of eggs Benedict to be brought up to his room.”

Fleming himself preferred bourbon to scotch. He had the notion that it was somehow better for his heart as he explained to Richard Hughes: ‘The muscles expand under bourbon; Dikko, but they contract under scotch. ‘ He also suggested that bourbon counteracted the ill-effects of the nicotine in the many cigarettes that he smoked each day. (Foreign Devil: Thirty Years Of Reporting In The Far East by Richard Hughes)

Sadly, history proves out that Mr Fleming’s theories were perhaps not accurate in this case, at least.

Cadbury milk-chocolate Flakes

At the start of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, James Bond is looking out at the beach, and getting unusually reflective.

It was all there, his own childhood, spread out before him to have another look at. What a long time ago they were, those spade-and-bucket days! How far he had come since the freckles and the Cadbury milk-chocolate Flakes and the fizzy lemonade! Impatiently Bond lit a cigarette, pulled his shoulders out of their slouch and slammed the mawkish memories back into their long-closed file.

Being a Felix Leiter-like American, I didn’t get the reference to the Cadbury Flakes. We know all about Cadbury of course, but I had not come across the Flake. I didn’t know what to think. Flakes of chocolate that came in a bag? What were these Cadbury Flakes that had James Bond recalling his childhood?

Clearly, my loss.

Cadbury Flake is a delicate, crumbly chocolate bar developed first in 1920.

Flake-1959Flake2

 

Brandy

Page will be updated as we go through the novels.

There are times James Bond drinks brandy, or even a (few) brandy and soda(s) or ginger ale.

For the latter, he seems to drink them when flying, or getting ready to fly. Perhaps the ginger ale is for his stomach?

In Casino Royale, when Bond and Vesper have their first dinner at the inn following Bond’s recovery, they finish their meal with coffee and brandy.

In Moonraker, when playing cards at Blades, large balloon glasses of brandy, along with coffee, are served at the tables. After Bond tries the brandy, M says:

“Comes from one of the Rothschild estates at Cognac. About a hundred years ago one of the family bequeathed us a barrel of it every year in perpetuity. During the war they hid a barrel for us every year and then sent us over the whole lot in 1945. Ever since then we’ve been drinking doubles.

Also, when Bond and Gala Brand are returning from having a cliff face dropped on them, they head off to a local inn where Gala has two, and Bond has three brandy and sodas.

In Thunderball, after his experience on “the rack,” Patricia Fearing sneaks Bond some Brandy as a “stimulant.” Bond drinks two glasses, over ice.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, while in character as Sir Hilary Bray, as he is waiting to depart for Switzerland,

Bond had a double brandy and ginger ale and stood aloof from the handful of other privileged passengers in the gracious lounge, trying to feel like a baronet. 

Bond then has another just prior to takeoff.

When Bond has escaped and has gotten back to London, he instructs Mary Goodnight to have May brew him “plenty of black coffee and to pour two jiggers of our best brandy into the pot.”

After the assault on Piz Gloria, Bond finds himself in the hands of the Red Cross, being treated for his injuries, and the Red Cross man “produced a flask of brandy out of his box and offered it to Bond. Bond gratefully took a long swig.”

In You Only Live Twice, on his way to Japan via J.A.L., Bond “ordered the first in a chain of brandies and ginger ales that was to sustain him over the Channel, a leg of the North Sea, the Kattegat , the Arctic Ocean, the Beaufort Sea, the Bering sea, and the North Pacific Ocean…

In Octopussy, the brandy and ginger ale “the drunkard’s drink” is the drink of choice for Major Dexter Smythe, who has them invariably “stiff” – “almost fifty-fifty” beginning at 10:30 am.

Brandy-and-Soda

Haig and Haig Pinchbottle

Haig and Haig Pinchbottle is a blended scotch whisky in a unique three-sided bottle. The bottle was actually trademarked in the United States in 1958.

In Live and Let Die at Sugar Ray’s, Bond and Leiter have scotch-and-soda with Haig and Haig Pinchbottle.

When Bond returns to his hotel room after his “meeting” with Mr Big, “He put a handful of wilted ice cubes into a tall glass, poured in three inches of Haig and Haig and swilled the mixture round in the glass to  cool and dilute it. Then he drank down half the glass in one long swallow.”

When Bond shows up at The Everglades, Leiter grabs a bottle of Haig and Haig and some soda water and they both have a long drink.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, during Bond’s initial encounter with Marc-Ange Draco, the head of the Union Corse produces bourbon for Bond, and a bottle of Pinchbottle Haig for himself.

haig&haig

Dont'_be_Vague_ask_for_Haig_advertisement

 

Gauloises (Cigarettes)

This brand of cigarettes, found in France, makes a few appearances in the Fleming novels.

In Casino Royale, Le Chiffre lights one up as he gets ready to torture Bond.

In From A View To A Kill, Wing Commander Rattray, Head of Station F (France) “chain-smoked Gauloises and his office stank of them.” Bond moves his chair closer to the window “to keep away from the fog of Gauloises.”

Chapter 23 of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is entitled Gauloises and Garlic. Marc-Ange “reached for a blue packet of Gauloises”.

 

gauloises

 

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I.W. Harper Bourbon

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when Bond is in his first meeting with Marc-Ange Draco, they bond over a little whisky.

With efficient, housekeeperly movements, he (Draco) took out a bottle of pinchbottle Haig, another of I. W. Harper’s Bourbon, two pint glasses that looked like Waterford, a bucket of ice cubes, a siphon of soda, and a flagon of iced water.

Bond pours himself a “stiff Bourbon and water with plenty of ice.” Draco goes for the Haig, which is a blended scotch.

draco-drinks

 

I.W. Harper is another brand that has largely gone by the wayside. Very hard to find in the states, it is said to be hugely popular in Japan. The brand is now owned by Diageo brands. (The Pinch is also a Diageo product now.)

Update: I.W. Harper bourbon is being rebranded and relaunched in the United States – Review: I.W. Harper Bourbon and 15 Year Old Bourbon

I.W._HARPER_15_YEAR

Suntory

SuntoryThis Japanese whisky has a surprisingly long heritage, even when it was mentioned in You Only Live Twice.

While Bond tells Dikko Henderson :”I can’t believe Japanese whisky makes a good foundation for anything“, both Dikko and Tiger consume it in the novel.

Dikko defends the brand, “But you’re wrong about Suntory. It’s good enough brew. Stick to the cheapest, the White Label, at around fifteen bob a bottle. There are two smarter brands, but the cheap one’s the best.

Tiger has his with a splash of soda. Bond, meanwhile continues his prejudice against the Japanese whisky, preferring Sake throughout the novel.

 

Schnapps

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when James Bond is planning his escape from Piz Gloria, he requests a flask of schnapps under the guise of not being able to sleep at night. He explains that he always has a nightcap at home, usually whisky, but here he says “When in Gloria, do as the Glorians do!” Skiers have been known to consume schnapps to keep warm.

He receives the flat glass flask of schnapps and puts it into his side pocket as he makes his escape. Part way down, after nearly being buried by a deliberate avalanche, Bond “tilted the little flask down his throat, emptied it, and threw the bottle away.”

We’re given one more specific about the drink: “He got to his feet, and rather light-headed but with the wonderful glow of the Enzian in his stomach…

grassl_enzian

This helps us understand the drink that Bond actually consumes here. For some reason, I had been under the assumption that Bond consumed peppermint schnapps. When I read some about what schnapps are in Europe, it was a little surprising to me.

It is here that Fischer gave us an explanation of what schnapps really is. In Europe, more specifically in the German speaking countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland; alcohol that is made from fermented fruits by the distillation process is called schnapps. These pure fruit brandies are usually made out of apples, pears, plums, and cherries, though in Austria, apricots and even raspberries are used as well.

So it’s form of Brandy. Bond has Brandy several other times in OHMSS. But that one word Enzian gives us the specific type, it is from the root of the Alpine gentian flower. The drink is also known as Gentian.

Later in the book, when Bond is to talk with Marc-Ange about marrying Tracy, Bond, “after careful consideration, decided that schnapps would go with his beer, and ordered a double Steinhäger.”

Steinhäger is a German gin, made only in Steinhagen. The fruit which makes it a schnapps is the Juniper Berries.

schlichte_steinhager

Mouton Rothschild ’53

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, when Bond goes out to dinner prior to his night at the Casino where he rescues Tracy from the “Gambit of Shame,” Bond enjoys a turbot poche (poached turbot fish) with sauce mousseline (made of egg yolks, butter, lemon juice, and whipped cream) and “half the best roast partridge he had eaten in his life,” Bond was feeling stimulated, helped by a half-bottle of Mouton Rothschild ’53. (and a glass of ten-year-old Calvados – apple brandy)

1953 marked the 100th anniversary of Château Mouton Rothschild.This vintage is still drawing rave reviews when tasted.

Wine guru Robert Parker gave the following review:

95 points Robert Parker: “I remember a friend of mine decanting a magnum of the 1953 and sticking it under my nose to share with me the incredible bouquet. In addition to the exotic aromas of soy sauce, new saddle leather, cassis, herbs, and spices, the 1953 offers a deep ruby color with some amber at the edge. Sweet and fat, with voluptuously-textured fruit, this low acid wine has no noticeable tannin. While it may be living dangerously, it is a decadent treat if it is drunk immediately after decanting.”

mouton-rothschild-53

 

Taittinger Blanc de Blanc

In Casino Royale, James Bond and Vesper are having champagne, and Bond originally requests a Taittinger ’45. The wine waiter replies:

‘A fine wine, monsieur,’ said the sommelier. ‘But if the monsieur will permit,’ he pointed with his pencil, ‘the Blanc de Blanc Brut 1943 of the same marque is without equal.’

Bond accepts the suggestion, noting to Vesper that while this is not a well-known brand, “it is probably the finest champagne in the world.”

In seems that Bond has spent time extolling the virtues of Taittinger to others, including his boss, M. From Moonraker:

We’ve got some good champagnes, haven’t we, Grimley? None of that stuff you’re always telling me about, I’m afraid, James. Don’t often see it in England. Taittinger, wasn’t it?”

Bond tries to play it down, saying it was only a “fad” of his, but we know better. Following Grimley’s suggestion however, Bond ends up with a Dom Perignon ‘46.

In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond has checked into the Hotel Splendide, he “ordered from Room Service a bottle of the Taittinger Blanc de Blanc that he had made his traditional drink at Royale.” 

So, that tradition appears to have begun in Casino Royale.

This ad is from just a couple of years after OHMSS was written:

taittinger