“When it comes to spirits, whiskey is my spirit of choice,” professed Ludo Ducrocq, Grant‘s tour guide-turned-global ambassador (pictured at left). He was just finishing up a tasting at the Dead Rabbit in New York City for Stand Fast, a 100-bottle (not-for-sale) recreation of a 1912 recipe from the family archives. “Bearing in mind that I was brought up in France, the biggest market in the world for scotch whiskey—quite simply, pretty much everybody drinks scotch whiskey.”
It’s safe to say the stars aligned for Ducrocq when, as a university student in Glasglow looking for a summer job, he took a distillery tour guide position in Dufftown for William Grant & Sons. “What was supposed to be two months eventually turned into 13 years now—and a career.”
We asked the Scotland-based enthusiast about the surprising challenges his career entails, his personal whiskey collection and his favorite spring cocktail, below.
What’s something unexpected about the day-to-day life of a whiskey brand ambassador?
The challenge for me is customs issues. Try explaining to a Taiwanese customs officer what peat is. It looks like something illegal that you shouldn’t bring into the country. So that, and also my job takes me to pretty exotic places, from Cameron to Lebanon to Siberia. It’s remarkable the different cultures I encounter.
Do you remember your first whiskey?
I don’t know [laughs], but I don’t think it was anything extraordinary. I think it was with my father or with friends when we shouldn’t have been drinking whiskey and mixing it like we all do at that age. My father [drank] scotch whiskey, so I was introduced to it at quite a young age; I probably shouldn’t tell you how young I was, but my dad was always very generous with his whiskey and tried to educate me. I suppose he did a very good job.
What about a memorable cocktail?
I did have a Manhattan here [laughs] at the Brandy Library. In fact, it was a Rob Roy. That was pretty special.
A go-to drink?
Scotch whiskey for sure, and never the same one. I have a bar at home that keeps changing all the time. I’m in a fortunate position where I keep getting all these bottles of whiskey, so I rarely keep the same whiskey at home.
How big is your selection?
It’s not that big because my wife isn’t too keen on having hundreds of bottles of whiskey taking over the house. I would say I have about 20 bottles at the moment, more than that and my wife gets annoyed.
What’s happening this weekend?
I’m just in New York for two nights, then two nights in Dallas, then back home this weekend. Saturday night I’ll be back home, and Sunday I’ll play soccer with the other guys from the distillery.
How to make a Blood & Sand:
1 part Grant’s Family Reserve
1 part Cherry Herring Liqueur
1 part Lillet Rouge (or other Sweet Vermouth)
1 part fresh orange juice
Orange half-moon slice for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Pour over fresh ice in a rocks glass, and garnish with an orange half-moon slice.