“The Glenlivet has released an original whisky drinking experience, a collection of edible cocktail capsules made from seaweed” is the pitch. If that doesn’t make you want to immediately smush a pod with a pal and chomp into “the original Speyside single malt,” what will?
“In what may either be a creative bid to win millennial drinkers or just a ridiculous publicity stunt, famed single-malt Scotch whisky maker The Glenlivet last week unveiled its ‘Capsule Collection,’ a new way of imbibing for those too lazy to pour liquid into a glass,” Mike Murphy reports for MarketWatch.
“The unholy offering was presented to the world in a tweet, timed to coincide with London’s Cocktail Week. ‘No ice. No stirrer. No glass. We’re redefining how whisky can be enjoyed,’ the venerable Scottish distillery said,” Murphy adds.
It’s “sort of a Jell-o shot and Tide Pods hybrid,” Marisa Dellatto writes for the New York Post. “They come in three flavors: citrus, wood and spice. The elixirs were crafted by legendary cocktail connoisseur Alex Kratena, of the London bar Tayer. Each capsule contains 23 milliliters of liquid and measures just under an inch.”
The seaweed casing comes from a sustainable packaging start-up called Notpla. “They bill it as ‘one of nature’s most renewable resources,'” Dellatto adds.
“It’s a legitimate first for hooch, allowing customers to, among other things, get soused anywhere, on the DL, undetected by strangers who may not approve of public drunkenness. And yet social media was by and large left confused and perhaps alarmed by this game-changing invention,” writes Matt Prigge for Uproxx, before reproducing a few of the passionate reactions to #noglassrequired in the Twitterverse.
“These capsule are VERY BAD for the image of scotch. In particular, you are cheapening Glenlivet. Scotch is meant to be sipped, its complex flavors enjoyed in micro sips. As soon as you treat it like tequila or cheap hooch, your brand is dead,” tweets @DrJohnDLove. “END THIS CAMPAIGN NOW!”
“I can’t decide if this is kinda awesome or downright horrific. A Tide pod for the soul -- full of single malt, if it were April 1st I’d assume #Glenlivet was having us on,” writes @Ben_oharabyrne, staking out the middle ground.
On Vice, River Donaghey is not so indecisive.
“If you've always wanted to bite into a giant Gusher and have scotch angrily explode into your mouth, the Glenlivet's got you covered. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the boozy Tide Pods are not available in the U.S. yet, but if you're in the U.K., please -- enjoy your seaweed-wrapped boil of booze responsibly and without any semblance of enjoyment, because the future is now and pleasure is an archaic construct that we have successfully conquered and replaced with terrifying pouches of liquid,” Donaghey writes.
Boing Boing isn’t buying “Glenlivet's marketing stunt.” After listing three obvious reasons why the capsules are “pretty stupid,” it points out that “Glenlivet is a division of the booze monopolist Pernod Ricard, a faceless multinational conglomerate that also owns Chivas, Wiser's, Lamb's, Hiram Walker, Absolut, Dubonnet, Fuel, Ballantine's, Kahlua, Beefeater, Malibu, Tia Maria, Jacob's Creek, Jameson, Stolichnaya, Mumm, Pernod, Redbreast, Bushmills, and many others.”
Ouch. That’s not how The Glenlivet sees it, of course.
“As a brand that celebrates originality, we are always looking to break the conventions that have determined how single malt Scotch has historically been enjoyed,” says Miriam Eceolaza, director of The Glenlivet, Mike Pomranz tells us in Food & Wine. “The Glenlivet Capsule Collection does exactly that, and we’re excited to see how people react when they try our glassless cocktails. Our founder, George Smith, always went against the grain, bucking tradition and doing things differently. The Glenlivet Capsule Collection continues his pioneering spirit today.”
Indeed, Smith was one of the first of Scotland’s bootleggers to go legit after the passage of the 1823 Excise Act, according to the distillery’s history page. And, “by the 1860s, The Glenlivet was noted for producing a spirit with a ‘pineapple’ note, evidence that the floral, estery character seen today has a long history -- and one which broke with the heavy, dense, rich styles prevalent at that time.”
And now it has broken with the glass bottles and tumblers prevalent in our time. Or, probably not. But it has caused a stir.