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Global Art lovers take notice as Jérôme Peschard Launches Art Exhibition at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City

Jérôme Peschard Launches Art Exhibition at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City

For the past 60 years, Sofitel Hotels & Resorts has epitomised the essence of French art de vivre across the globe. As 2024 heralds its Diamond Jubilee, commemorated with a series of exclusive events at Sofitel properties worldwide, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, the paragon of French hospitality in Ho Chi Minh City, proudly inaugurated an extraordinary celebration of art.

From Left- Betty Qiffe Pallard, Consul General Daniël Stork of the Netherlands to Vietnam, Nykky Do and Milena Padula- Spouse of Consul General of Italy to Vietnam / photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

On the evening of June 21st, the Sofitel Saigon Plaza was the scene of a glittering event, marking the launch of a collaboration with the internationally renowned French Pop Artist, Jérôme Peschard.

French Pop Artist Jérôme Peschard Portrait / photo courtesy of Stephane Thierry

French Pop Artist Jérôme Peschard Portrait / photo courtesy of Stephane Thierry

The hotel’s lobby served as an elegant backdrop for an array of Peschard’s stunning oil paintings on recycled corrugated metal, showcasing his inspiration from French Indochina.

From Left- Tracie May, Milena Padula- Wife of Consul General of Italy to Vietnam, Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel Manager Alistair Minty, Lindsay Nutley, Consul General of Australia to Vietnam Sarah Hooper, Simon Pugh and Michael Hooper // photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

The event attracted an illustrious group of attendees, including Mrs. Sarah Hooper, Consul General of Australia to Vietnam; Mr. Daniël Stork, Consul General of the Netherlands to Vietnam; Mrs. Milena Padula, spouse of Italian Consul General Enrico Padula; and Mrs. Lê Hạnh, CEO of TVHub Vietnam. Distinguished guests also included Michelin Starred Chef/Owner Peter Cong Franklin of Ănăn Saigon, totalling one hundred and thirty of Ho Chi Minh’s leading tastemakers.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

Guests enjoyed a selection of exquisite canapés, fine wines, and champagne while admiring Peschard’s captivating works. Adding to the allure, music by DJ Edge Pamute filled the space, and trendsetters Tracie May and Nykky Domodelled custom-embroidered Áo Dài, the national costume of Vietnam, designed by Peschard and couturière Giao Basson. A pop-up retail store showcasing Peschard’s merchandise collection also opened to the public, featuring a curated selection of home decor, limited edition numbered and artist-signed lacquer replicas of paintings, and an array of gift items. Both the boutique and the art exhibit will grace the Sofitel Saigon Plaza throughout the summer, concluding in early September.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

This premier event highlighted the vibrant intersection of art, culture, and gastronomy, celebrating a unique fusion that will enchant visitors throughout the season, encapsulating Sofitel Hotel and Resort’s world of prestige and luxury.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

“I’m deeply grateful to Sofitel Saigon Plaza for granting me such a fantastic platform to showcase my art. Although I am French, my heart is Vietnamese, and I’m thrilled to share my homage to Vietnam with their guests and visitors during the 60th Anniversary celebration of Sofitel Hotels and Resorts.” – Jérôme Peschard

“Marking 60 years of exceptional hospitality, we take pride in being a part of a legacy that consistently sets the standard for excellence in Asia, providing a unique experience for all modern travellers to explore Ho Chi Minh City through a French-inspired perspective.” – Mario Mendis, GM, Sofitel Saigon Plaza

ABOUT SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA:

Sofitel Saigon Plaza harmonises the sophistication of French art de vivre with the vibrancy of local Vietnamese culture, delivering a luxury hospitality experience enriched by genuine heartfelt service. Conveniently located in a tranquil enclave on Le Duan Boulevard, Sofitel Saigon Plaza places you in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s business, cultural, and shopping district. The hotel boasts 286 rooms and suites adorned with refined décor and deluxe amenities, a fitness centre featuring advanced exercise equipment, and an outdoor swimming pool with breathtaking city views. Sofitel Saigon Plaza also features five dining establishments serving local and French cuisine, seven polished meeting rooms, and an opulent ballroom equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, making it the ideal destination for business, leisure, meetings, and gatherings.

ABOUT JÉRÔME PESCHARD:

Dubbed the “Gauguin of Vietnam,” Jérôme Peschard is a self-taught artist whose work reflects a life richly lived and creatively charged. His art bridges the past with the present, blending East and West, while drawing profound inspiration from his adopted home of Vietnam. Characterised by the use of oil on rusted corrugated iron sheets salvaged from local construction sites, his pieces reflect the very essence of Saigon – its history, development, people, culture, and vibrant spirit. Peschard’s unique fusion of Western pop art with Asian influences, inspired by comic book legend Jack Kirby and modern art icons like Basquiat and Warhol, continues to evolve as he explores new themes in his storytelling. In the dynamic energy of Vietnam, Peschard not only found his place in the world, but also his distinctive artistic identity.

Vegas Loves Darius! 3-Time Grammy Winner Raises $715K for St. Jude at Annual Ryman Concert; Brings All-Time Total to $4.3M+

Darius Rucker Raises $715K for St. Jude at Annual Ryman Concert; Brings All-Time Total to $4.3M+

Nearly two decades after first visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® where he was immediately inspired to pledge his support, CMA Humanitarian of the Year Darius Rucker continues to give back, surpassing the $4.3 million mark with this year’s 15th annual “Darius and Friends” benefit concert on Monday night, June 3, which was paired with a corresponding celebrity golf tournament yesterday, June 4.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


This year’s event alone raised an all-time high of $715,000 for the cause.

Sold out well in advance despite the three-time GRAMMY winner’s famous friends not being revealed until they took the stage, the unofficial kickoff to CMA Fest praised by the Tennessean for offering “multiple servings of the country music industry’s past, present, and future for an essential cause” featured dozens of hit songs and beloved covers by Rucker as well as his surprise guests Ingrid Andress, Dan + Shay, Jamey Johnson, Chase Matthew and Shane Profitt.



Rucker was also joined by his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan fresh off opening weekend of the group’s Summer Camp with Trucks Tour.

After a live auction and donation round which added thousands to the fundraising tally, Rucker kicked off the main event with a trio of hits – “Have A Good Time” off new album Carolyn’s Boy, his 10th and most recent No. 1 hit “Beers and Sunshine” and chart-topping “For The First Time” – before introducing the first friend of the evening as rising star Chase Matthew took the stage to perform Gold-certified “Love You Again,” Platinum-certified “County Line” and a cover of his upcoming tourmate Jason Aldean’s chart topper, “She’s Country,” earning a the newcomer a standing ovation at the Mother Church.

GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house

GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house with their hits “Speechless” and “Tequila,” plus the title track to their latest album, “Bigger Houses,” while Billboard Rookie of the Month Shane Profitt wowed the Ryman audience with top 15 hit “How It Oughta Be” and “Better Off Fishin’.”

As is customary at the annual event, Rucker also returned to the stage between each guest set, treating fans to hits ranging from his Platinum-certified country breakout “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and Double Platinum-certified No. 1 “Alright” to current single “Never Been Over,” with the multi-genre star branching out from his own catalog for rousing versions of  Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” and TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan also joined him for fan-favorites “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand,” offering a taste of what to expect on the road this summer.

Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance

Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance during a hiatus from touring to offer a well-received take on John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” plus her chart-topping hit “More Hearts Than Mine” and a solo version of her Sam Hunt duet, “Wishful Drinking,” while Jamey Johnson offered yet another standout moment with an evocative performance of his emotional hit “In Color” as well as “Give It Away,” the No. 1 hit he penned for George Strait, with Rucker then joining him for a stirring duet of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Closing out the memorable evening, the host of the night owned the stage one final time as the show ended according to tradition, with Rucker joined by the sold-out Ryman crowd for a “Wagon Wheel” singalong, the feel-good energy throughout the auditorium symbolic of the night as a whole.

This year’s milestone fundraising event adds yet another successful page to the decade-plus history of “Darius and Friends.” Prior guests have included Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jelly Roll, Charles Kelley of Lady A, Ashley McBryde, A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Megan Moroney, Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers and Tommy Thayer of KISS, among many others.

The annual fundraising event, made possible with support from generous sponsors AMD, CDW and The Law Office of Jennifer McCoy, helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – so they can focus on helping their child live.

This year’s “Darius and Friends” event adds to an exciting season for the multi-time Diamond-certified superstar, who recently released a reimagined duet version of his Carolyn’s Boy album standout “Never Been Over” featuring Jennifer Nettles. On May 28 he released his first book, a memoir titled “Life’s Too Short” that explores the story of his life through the lens of the music that defined it, and tickets to the Hootie & the Blowfish Summer Camp with Trucks Tour are on sale now HERE.

For more information, visit DariusRucker.com and follow on social media @DariusRucker.

About Darius Rucker
Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Double Diamond-certified (21x Platinum) debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time.

Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart plus 10 No. 1 singles at Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012 and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his Diamond-certified (11x Platinum) version of “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time.

His brand-new album Carolyn’s Boy is available everywhere now along with current single “Never Been Over,” recently re-released as a duet with Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles. His first book, a memoir titled “Learn to Live” available everywhere now via Dey Street Books.

As a lifelong philanthropist, Rucker co-chaired the capital campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. and has raised over $4.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament.

In addition, Rucker has advocated for over 200 charitable causes supporting public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and serves as a National Chair for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tenn. Rucker is also an avid sports fan, with his Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics line of NFL, MLB and NCAA apparel available at Fanatics.com, and he is part of the Music City Baseball investment group working to bring an MLB team to Tennessee in addition to serving as a partner at the MGC Sports & Entertainment agency.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.

It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was largely considered incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and it won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live.

Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Support the St. Jude mission by donating at stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Vegas Flavors

Global Art lovers take notice as Jérôme Peschard Launches Art Exhibition at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City

Jérôme Peschard Launches Art Exhibition at the Sofitel Saigon Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City

For the past 60 years, Sofitel Hotels & Resorts has epitomised the essence of French art de vivre across the globe. As 2024 heralds its Diamond Jubilee, commemorated with a series of exclusive events at Sofitel properties worldwide, Sofitel Saigon Plaza, the paragon of French hospitality in Ho Chi Minh City, proudly inaugurated an extraordinary celebration of art.

From Left- Betty Qiffe Pallard, Consul General Daniël Stork of the Netherlands to Vietnam, Nykky Do and Milena Padula- Spouse of Consul General of Italy to Vietnam / photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

On the evening of June 21st, the Sofitel Saigon Plaza was the scene of a glittering event, marking the launch of a collaboration with the internationally renowned French Pop Artist, Jérôme Peschard.

French Pop Artist Jérôme Peschard Portrait / photo courtesy of Stephane Thierry

French Pop Artist Jérôme Peschard Portrait / photo courtesy of Stephane Thierry

The hotel’s lobby served as an elegant backdrop for an array of Peschard’s stunning oil paintings on recycled corrugated metal, showcasing his inspiration from French Indochina.

From Left- Tracie May, Milena Padula- Wife of Consul General of Italy to Vietnam, Sofitel Saigon Plaza Hotel Manager Alistair Minty, Lindsay Nutley, Consul General of Australia to Vietnam Sarah Hooper, Simon Pugh and Michael Hooper // photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

The event attracted an illustrious group of attendees, including Mrs. Sarah Hooper, Consul General of Australia to Vietnam; Mr. Daniël Stork, Consul General of the Netherlands to Vietnam; Mrs. Milena Padula, spouse of Italian Consul General Enrico Padula; and Mrs. Lê Hạnh, CEO of TVHub Vietnam. Distinguished guests also included Michelin Starred Chef/Owner Peter Cong Franklin of Ănăn Saigon, totalling one hundred and thirty of Ho Chi Minh’s leading tastemakers.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

Guests enjoyed a selection of exquisite canapés, fine wines, and champagne while admiring Peschard’s captivating works. Adding to the allure, music by DJ Edge Pamute filled the space, and trendsetters Tracie May and Nykky Domodelled custom-embroidered Áo Dài, the national costume of Vietnam, designed by Peschard and couturière Giao Basson. A pop-up retail store showcasing Peschard’s merchandise collection also opened to the public, featuring a curated selection of home decor, limited edition numbered and artist-signed lacquer replicas of paintings, and an array of gift items. Both the boutique and the art exhibit will grace the Sofitel Saigon Plaza throughout the summer, concluding in early September.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

This premier event highlighted the vibrant intersection of art, culture, and gastronomy, celebrating a unique fusion that will enchant visitors throughout the season, encapsulating Sofitel Hotel and Resort’s world of prestige and luxury.

photos courtesy of Nick Middleton for the Sofitel Saigon Plaza.

“I’m deeply grateful to Sofitel Saigon Plaza for granting me such a fantastic platform to showcase my art. Although I am French, my heart is Vietnamese, and I’m thrilled to share my homage to Vietnam with their guests and visitors during the 60th Anniversary celebration of Sofitel Hotels and Resorts.” – Jérôme Peschard

“Marking 60 years of exceptional hospitality, we take pride in being a part of a legacy that consistently sets the standard for excellence in Asia, providing a unique experience for all modern travellers to explore Ho Chi Minh City through a French-inspired perspective.” – Mario Mendis, GM, Sofitel Saigon Plaza

ABOUT SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA:

Sofitel Saigon Plaza harmonises the sophistication of French art de vivre with the vibrancy of local Vietnamese culture, delivering a luxury hospitality experience enriched by genuine heartfelt service. Conveniently located in a tranquil enclave on Le Duan Boulevard, Sofitel Saigon Plaza places you in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s business, cultural, and shopping district. The hotel boasts 286 rooms and suites adorned with refined décor and deluxe amenities, a fitness centre featuring advanced exercise equipment, and an outdoor swimming pool with breathtaking city views. Sofitel Saigon Plaza also features five dining establishments serving local and French cuisine, seven polished meeting rooms, and an opulent ballroom equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, making it the ideal destination for business, leisure, meetings, and gatherings.

ABOUT JÉRÔME PESCHARD:

Dubbed the “Gauguin of Vietnam,” Jérôme Peschard is a self-taught artist whose work reflects a life richly lived and creatively charged. His art bridges the past with the present, blending East and West, while drawing profound inspiration from his adopted home of Vietnam. Characterised by the use of oil on rusted corrugated iron sheets salvaged from local construction sites, his pieces reflect the very essence of Saigon – its history, development, people, culture, and vibrant spirit. Peschard’s unique fusion of Western pop art with Asian influences, inspired by comic book legend Jack Kirby and modern art icons like Basquiat and Warhol, continues to evolve as he explores new themes in his storytelling. In the dynamic energy of Vietnam, Peschard not only found his place in the world, but also his distinctive artistic identity.

Vegas Loves Darius! 3-Time Grammy Winner Raises $715K for St. Jude at Annual Ryman Concert; Brings All-Time Total to $4.3M+

Darius Rucker Raises $715K for St. Jude at Annual Ryman Concert; Brings All-Time Total to $4.3M+

Nearly two decades after first visiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® where he was immediately inspired to pledge his support, CMA Humanitarian of the Year Darius Rucker continues to give back, surpassing the $4.3 million mark with this year’s 15th annual “Darius and Friends” benefit concert on Monday night, June 3, which was paired with a corresponding celebrity golf tournament yesterday, June 4.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


This year’s event alone raised an all-time high of $715,000 for the cause.

Sold out well in advance despite the three-time GRAMMY winner’s famous friends not being revealed until they took the stage, the unofficial kickoff to CMA Fest praised by the Tennessean for offering “multiple servings of the country music industry’s past, present, and future for an essential cause” featured dozens of hit songs and beloved covers by Rucker as well as his surprise guests Ingrid Andress, Dan + Shay, Jamey Johnson, Chase Matthew and Shane Profitt.



Rucker was also joined by his Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan fresh off opening weekend of the group’s Summer Camp with Trucks Tour.

After a live auction and donation round which added thousands to the fundraising tally, Rucker kicked off the main event with a trio of hits – “Have A Good Time” off new album Carolyn’s Boy, his 10th and most recent No. 1 hit “Beers and Sunshine” and chart-topping “For The First Time” – before introducing the first friend of the evening as rising star Chase Matthew took the stage to perform Gold-certified “Love You Again,” Platinum-certified “County Line” and a cover of his upcoming tourmate Jason Aldean’s chart topper, “She’s Country,” earning a the newcomer a standing ovation at the Mother Church.

GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house

GRAMMY Award-winning duo Dan + Shay also thrilled the packed house with their hits “Speechless” and “Tequila,” plus the title track to their latest album, “Bigger Houses,” while Billboard Rookie of the Month Shane Profitt wowed the Ryman audience with top 15 hit “How It Oughta Be” and “Better Off Fishin’.”

As is customary at the annual event, Rucker also returned to the stage between each guest set, treating fans to hits ranging from his Platinum-certified country breakout “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and Double Platinum-certified No. 1 “Alright” to current single “Never Been Over,” with the multi-genre star branching out from his own catalog for rousing versions of  Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” and TLC’s “Waterfalls.”

Hootie & the Blowfish bandmate Mark Bryan also joined him for fan-favorites “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand,” offering a taste of what to expect on the road this summer.

Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance

Ingrid Andress made a rare live appearance during a hiatus from touring to offer a well-received take on John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” plus her chart-topping hit “More Hearts Than Mine” and a solo version of her Sam Hunt duet, “Wishful Drinking,” while Jamey Johnson offered yet another standout moment with an evocative performance of his emotional hit “In Color” as well as “Give It Away,” the No. 1 hit he penned for George Strait, with Rucker then joining him for a stirring duet of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Closing out the memorable evening, the host of the night owned the stage one final time as the show ended according to tradition, with Rucker joined by the sold-out Ryman crowd for a “Wagon Wheel” singalong, the feel-good energy throughout the auditorium symbolic of the night as a whole.

This year’s milestone fundraising event adds yet another successful page to the decade-plus history of “Darius and Friends.” Prior guests have included Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jelly Roll, Charles Kelley of Lady A, Ashley McBryde, A.J. McLean of the Backstreet Boys, Megan Moroney, Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers and Tommy Thayer of KISS, among many others.

The annual fundraising event, made possible with support from generous sponsors AMD, CDW and The Law Office of Jennifer McCoy, helps ensure families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food – so they can focus on helping their child live.

This year’s “Darius and Friends” event adds to an exciting season for the multi-time Diamond-certified superstar, who recently released a reimagined duet version of his Carolyn’s Boy album standout “Never Been Over” featuring Jennifer Nettles. On May 28 he released his first book, a memoir titled “Life’s Too Short” that explores the story of his life through the lens of the music that defined it, and tickets to the Hootie & the Blowfish Summer Camp with Trucks Tour are on sale now HERE.

For more information, visit DariusRucker.com and follow on social media @DariusRucker.

About Darius Rucker
Rucker first achieved multi-Platinum status in the music industry as lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the GRAMMY Award-winning band Hootie & the Blowfish, who have sold more than 25 million albums worldwide including their Double Diamond-certified (21x Platinum) debut Cracked Rear View, which remains among the top 10 best-selling studio albums of all time.

Since releasing his first Country album in 2008, Rucker has earned a whole new legion of fans with four No. 1 albums on the Billboard Country chart plus 10 No. 1 singles at Country radio and 11 Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum certified hits. Rucker was inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member in 2012 and in 2014 he won his third career GRAMMY Award for Best Solo Country Performance with his Diamond-certified (11x Platinum) version of “Wagon Wheel,” one of the top five best-selling Country songs of all time.

His brand-new album Carolyn’s Boy is available everywhere now along with current single “Never Been Over,” recently re-released as a duet with Sugarland vocalist Jennifer Nettles. His first book, a memoir titled “Learn to Live” available everywhere now via Dey Street Books.

As a lifelong philanthropist, Rucker co-chaired the capital campaign that generated $150 million to help build the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital in his hometown of Charleston, S.C. and has raised over $4.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through his annual Darius & Friends benefit concert and golf tournament.

In addition, Rucker has advocated for over 200 charitable causes supporting public education and junior golf programs in South Carolina through the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation and serves as a National Chair for the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville, Tenn. Rucker is also an avid sports fan, with his Darius Rucker Collection by Fanatics line of NFL, MLB and NCAA apparel available at Fanatics.com, and he is part of the Music City Baseball investment group working to bring an MLB team to Tennessee in addition to serving as a partner at the MGC Sports & Entertainment agency.

About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Its purpose is clear: Finding cures. Saving children.

It is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was largely considered incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and it won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

St. Jude shares the breakthroughs it makes to help doctors and researchers at local hospitals and cancer centers around the world improve the quality of treatment and care for even more children. Because of generous donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, so they can focus on helping their child live.

Visit St. Jude Inspire to discover powerful St. Jude stories of hope, strength, love and kindness. Support the St. Jude mission by donating at stjude.org, liking St. Jude on Facebook, following St. Jude on TwitterInstagram, LinkedIn and TikTok, and subscribing to its YouTube channel.

Bourbon-lover Ultimate Weekend Trip? Fredericksburg Virginia Bed & Breakfast with a Twist, Owen King from Ironclad Distillery shares Delicious Details

Love Tasting Bourbons? This Fredericksburg Virginia Bed & Breakfast Might Be Your Dream Visit, Owen King from Ironclad Distillery shares Delicious Details

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room.

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room

Ironclad Inn is the first B & B & B – Bed & Breakfast & Bourbon Tasting Room

Today’s conversation with Distiller Owen King from Ironclad Distillery has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

 

Owen King, Ironclad Distillery

Owen King, Ironclad Distillery

Joe Winger: 

A lot of really cool things are happening right now. I want to jump into your tasting room, the distillery, we’ll get into bourbon tastings in a few minutes.

But first and foremost, what’s the most important thing with Ironclad right now for you?

Owen King: 

The most important thing about Ironclad for me right now is the same thing it’s always been, trying to make the best bourbon we can

The other thing is spreading the word about our bed and breakfast; and bourbon. It’s a bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg that when you’re there, you can drink bourbon.

Ironclad's famous Old Fashioned cocktail

Ironclad’s famous Old Fashioned cocktail

We make a lot of old fashions there and we always have all these leftover oranges. Now the perfect thing is in the morning you have fresh squeezed orange juice from our [leftover] old fashions.

It’s really working double duty now.

Besides that I just love the fact that we can now expand our distillery up to Fredericksburg. So we can have more people try our bourbon and enjoy our bourbon, which is the goal.

Joe Winger: 

Getting to know you before you jump into Ironclad, I want to use the word “were”, you were a football player and cooking changed your life.

Tell us more about your cooking. Was there a special dish that enhanced your life?

Owen King: 

I’m Italian. So obviously with the Italian genes, we share our love through food. Growing up I cooked a lot.

When I went to college [I cooked] for my teammates.  I’d make dinner for everyone. So when we decided to open the bourbon distillery, I figured, I know how to cook. I think I could probably figure out how to make bourbon. 

I know flavors. I know how things go well together. I think I have a pretty decent palette. 

So putting all those things together to make a great bourbon was the goal. 

Food is one of those things where you never stop improving. I feel the same about bourbon.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


 

Joe Winger: 

Is there a favorite dish?

Owen King: 

Breaded chicken cutlets and spaghetti.

That is how it started. Then I was like “I really like cheese.”  Maybe I could put cheese in with the breadcrumbs and then do that. Then I started expanding.  Chicken Parm.  Making my own sauce.  Thinking I could add something here to make that better.

It’s the same way I look at bourbon.

Thinking, “I like what this person’s doing. Let me see what they’re doing. I can build off that to make it work on my own.”

Creating my own recipes, going from there, just continually tweaking little things here and there.

We’ll make a 5% difference, maybe a 10% difference.

Joe Winger: 

Ironclad Distillery is in Newport News, Virginia. The bed and breakfast Ironclad Inn is in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

For most people when we think of bourbon, we don’t always think of Virginia as the first choice. What would surprise us most about coming down to Virginia for a bourbon tasting and staying the night?

Ironclad Distillery

Ironclad Distillery

Owen King: 

If you’re coming down to Virginia, you have to remember Virginia is the birthplace of American spirits. The first place spirits were made in the new colonies, in the new world, was here in Virginia. 

The first corn liquor which would eventually become bourbon, was made in Virginia.

You can also talk about Elijah Craig, who was from Fairfax County, Virginia, before he moved out to Kentucky. 

On top of that, Kentucky wasn’t a state until 1793. Evan Williams was doing distillation in 1783, and at that point Kentucky was still Virginia. 

The birthplace of bourbon is right here in Virginia.

I’ve been to Kentucky a lot. They talk about the birthplace of bourbon being there in Kentucky.

Maybe the territory it’s in was Kentucky, but it was still Virginia at the time.

Whenever someone comes by, I can tell them the history of actual bourbon, where you’re gonna get the whole story, not just the fantasized story that you get in Kentucky.

Joe Winger: 

I’m incredibly glad you just shared that.

Let’s talk about The Ironclad Bed and Breakfast now. The bourbon tasting room, the event space.

Owen King: 

We wanted to spread our bourbon out around the state. We’ve always really liked Fredericksburg. It’s a beautiful town. It’s got a ton of history to it.

Nothing goes better with bourbon than a good story.

So we can always tell our history while drinking. So with our bed and breakfast, we looked at what the bigger guys were doing. A lot of them were starting to have these places where you could stay [the night] and get an experience to go along with it.

We really wanted to spread our Ironclad experience. 

We have a tasting room. It’s beautifully decorated by my sister. We’ve got a bottle shop where you can pick up pretty much every one of our bourbons that are available. We’ve got a bar so you can try it from our seasonal cocktail menus where we change it five times a year.

We have a winter, a fall, a spring, summer [menu].Then a holiday menu as well. 

No matter what time of year you’re there, you’re trying something that’s going to go well seasonally.  

Everyone likes seasonal drinks.  You don’t want to drink in the fall, what you’d drink in the summer.

We always have an old fashioned and it’s a damn good old fashioned. 

Then we also have an event space. We have weddings. We’ve had 50th birthday parties. 

Ironclad Inn wedding and special events

Ironclad Inn wedding and special events

We’ve had any event that you want to tie into with our bourbon or just if you want a beautiful event space in a building that was built in 1793 we have that as a great option. 

It’s a really cool spot that you can go and see and experience.

It’s something we want to share, our love for bourbon with everyone.

Whether you’re here in Newport News or in Fredericksburg, you’ll get a King family member there to tell you our story and tell you all about our bourbon and show you around.

Ironclad Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Ironclad Bottled-in-Bond Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Joe Winger: 

Outstanding.  Let’s get to the tasty part now.  You have several amazing bottles.  When someone comes to your tasting room this weekend, what should they be looking forward to? 

Owen King: 

We do a few bottle releases that are once a year for us. One of my favorites. 

A five year, three barrel blend of three 30 gallon barrels. Bottle of Bond.

The history alone is one of my favorite things to talk about.  In 1897 the federal government stepped in because there was people dying from drinking bad whiskey.

They stepped in to “certify” everything in there.

“If you bottle it at four years old and at 100 proof, we will claim that this is a bottle and bond bourbon certified” by the federal government that it is safe to drink.

That story alone is one of my favorites of bourbon lore. 

We just want to make sure that we do that every year that we can.

It’s absolutely one of my favorite bourbons. It’s our four grain mash bill. 70% corn 10% wheat, 10% rye, 10% malted barley. 

So with the corn and the wheat, it adds a nice sweetness to it. But then the rye is there to kind of balance that whole thing out.  Before it gets [to be] a very sweet bourbon, it balances out, a little baking spice, maybe even some clove, maybe a little black pepper.

It balances it out to be a nice, rounded bourbon.

Ironclad Sweeter Creations Maple Syrup Cask

Ironclad Sweeter Creations Maple Syrup Cask

Joe Winger:

Let’s move on to your Maple Syrup Cask

Owen King: 

Absolutely delicious. But this is a cast finish, not a flavored bourbon.  So we’re not adding maple syrup to it. People who drink it might think it’s going to be super sweet and not going to like it. Because they don’t like maple syrup.

This is my version of drinking maple syrup responsibly and not getting diabetes. 

After we empty our barrels, we give them to a maple syrup producer in upstate New York.  He’ll age his maple syrup using our bourbon barrels. 

By doing that through transference, there’s about a gallon of bourbon stuck in the staves of the wood. So when he puts a new liquid in there, that maple syrup is going to absorb into the wood and that bourbon is going to come back out.

Now his maple syrup is picking up that beautiful bourbon flavor and we are picking up all that maple syrup flavor into the wood. 

When he brings those barrels back down to us, we put our aged bourbon back in there and we let him finish in there for about three to six months. 

After we take the bourbon out, it’s now got this beautiful, mild sweetness, but it’s got that hint of maple syrup at the end.

I always say, I don’t want it to be maple syrup with a hint of bourbon. I want it to be bourbon with a hint of maple syrup, which I think it absolutely is.

Ironclad Missouri Toasted Oak Cask

Ironclad Missouri Toasted Oak Cask

Joe Winger: 

The maple syrup is so subtle, almost a tertiary flavor to it. 

Moving on to the Missouri Toasted Oak Cask.

Owen King: 

This is a double oak bourbon.  With double oaking, what you’re going to do is exactly how it sounds. 

You’re going to go from one new charred oak barrel. But instead of a second new charred oak barrel, we’re going to go to a lightly toasted barrel.

So my analogy for this is you’re sitting at a campfire and you’ve got a marshmallow. You’re roasting your marshmallow over the flame and it gets burnt. It catches on fire. So now you’ve got that roasted marshmallow where you’re still gonna eat it because it’s a roasted marshmallow.

So you eat it and it’s still sweet. But it’s got that sort of maybe a bitter acrid note just cause you burnt those sugars. You haven’t toasted them. 

Now you take another marshmallow.  You’re a little more patient this time.  You’re going to stick it down in the coals and you’ll slowly rotate it until you’ve got that perfectly golden brown marshmallow. 

When you taste it, it’s now twice as sweet because you just caramelize those sugars as opposed to burning them. 

It’s the same with a charred oak barrel to a toasted oak barrel.  With that charring of those oaks, you’re gonna you’re still gonna have that sweetness.  We’re amplifying that sweetness with the toasting of the oak. 

With this one you get those softer vanilla flavors like toasted marshmallow. You get a cookie dough flavor,  maybe it’s raw cookie dough without the chocolate chips.

Joe Winger: 

That’s amazing. mmIs there an extra bottle when I come down there, I’m in the tasting room, another good bottle we should ask for?

Owen King: 

Another one that we have right now that is a very limited run.   Very small release is our blueberry mead cask finish

We give our barrels to a meadery in Williamsburg, Virginia and they make this blueberry honey mead.  So now they have this bourbon barrel aged blueberry mead. And when they’re done with them, they give them back to us. 

You’re not necessarily overwhelmed with [a] heavy blueberry flavor but it opens up to this really nice fruitiness and then like a fermented honey flavor on the front end. 

It’s so unique, but it’s great neat on the rocks.

Joe Winger: 

If we come down for the weekend, we visit the distillery in Newport News. What’s a tour like? 

Owen King: 

If people aren’t the biggest bourbon drinker, I want you to walk away saying, “Okay, I found something that is made with bourbon that I like.”

We are a distillery that only makes bourbon. 

I want to make sure that everyone who comes here has something they can enjoy.  This isn’t an uppity bourbon bar.

I want someone to come and be able to say,  I’m not the biggest bourbon fan. What kind of cocktails do you have?” We always have a cocktail on every single menu that’s open for everyone. 

Everyone’s going to love it and whether you’re a big bourbon fan or not.  We just really want to be accommodating. We want to be a fun place for everyone to hang out. 

We want to tell our story, the history of the Ironclad ships.  Go through our distillery tour, we’ll show you that. If you want to know the history of Fredericksburg, or the history of What the bed and breakfast is we’ll tell you that.

Nothing pairs better with bourbon than a good story. And we really care about spreading that word.

Joe Winger: 

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a weekend getaway, why choose your bed and breakfast instead of a hotel?

Owen King: 

While we’ve only had it a short time.  But we’ve been adding things here and there. You’re going to get a fresh orange juice in the morning, made with the oranges that we used for our old fashions [last night]. 

We have our barrel aged maple syrup for your pancakes.  So you’re going to have that maple syrup with a hint of bourbon. 

Ironclad Inn

Ironclad Inn

We really drive home that it’s a bed breakfast and bourbon experience. Get immersed in the bourbon culture.  That’s our goal.

Joe Winger: 

Any favorite bourbon and food pairings?

Owen King: 

Bourbon’s wonderful for food pairings.  

We’ve gone from pasta pairings to pizza pairings.  Anything that’s fatty is a perfect pairing.  Pork belly with a cherry reduction over top of it with one of our bourbons straight 

We have this bourbon cream, Buzz’s Bourbon Cream, where it’s made with our small batch bourbon that’s infused with coffee beans, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans. That one over vanilla ice cream is perfection. 

You’re adding a little booze, some coffee, a little bit of chocolate.

You take a bite and all of a sudden you had three scoops and it’s gone 30 seconds later.

Joe Winger: 

What’s the best way to learn more about Ironclad Distillery and Ironclad Inn?

Owen King: 

We have our website at ironcladdistillery.com. All of our social media Facebook and Instagram

Vegas Begs for Blackberry; Jackie Aina from FORVR Mood Partners with Crown Royal Blackberry Flavored Whisky

Crown Royal and FORVR Mood Co-Founder, Jackie Aina, Partner to Release Limited-Edition Candle Inspired by Popular New Flavor Crown Royal Blackberry Flavored Whisky

Jackie Aina, from FORVR Mood, Partners with Crown Royal Blackberry Flavored Whisky

With bottles flying off the shelves nationwide, Crown Royal Blackberry Flavored Whisky has proven to be one of the brand’s most popular flavor offerings.


 

FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


This is an innovative whisky blend deserving of a partner just as creative to kick off the summer. Jackie Aina, a well-respected creator and entrepreneur, whose brand, FORVR Mood, garnered a wait list of over 45,000 customers prior to its launch in 2020, was a natural choice for the brand.

Aina’s love for the new flavor inspired her curation of the limited-edition Crown Royal Blackberry x FORVR Mood candle.

Appropriately titled, Berry On Top, this delicious scent is crafted with notes of blackberry, complemented with whisky accord and vanilla.


 


Limited quantities of the candle will be available online at Forvrmood.com *while supplies last

This exclusive new scent will be unveiled at the Crown Royal Blackberry Stand!

The Crown Royal Blackberry Stand is an adult twist on your traditional lemonade stand , where creativity meets cocktails and spotlights business owners, via the collaboration with Jackie Aina and FORVR Mood.

With the entrepreneurial spirit of a traditional lemonade stand at its core, the Crown Royal Blackberry Stand will provide a platform for rising founders via the brand’s partnership with 501(c)(3) organization, Black Girl Ventures Foundation.

Attendees that visit the stand are invited to sip signature cocktails and shop the exclusive Berry on Top candle as they learn more about Crown Royal charity partner Black Girl Ventures Foundation.

Black Girl Ventures Foundation is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing underrepresented founders with access to community, capital, and capacity building to meet business milestones that lead to economic advancement through entrepreneurship.

Crown Royal’s partnership with FORVR Mood and Jackie Aina is rooted in the support of Black Girl Ventures Foundation.

To further their efforts, Crown Royal will be donating $50,000 to Black Girl Ventures Foundation from the Crown Royal Generosity Fund*, where half of the donation will support the BGV Pitch Program.

More information on the organization’s mission, programming, and ways to support the Black Girl Ventures community will be found at The Crown Royal Blackberry Stand.

“Our new Blackberry Flavored Whisky is one of our most flavorful yet!”

Hadley Schafer

VP of Crown Royal

“…It was important that we found the perfect partner to not only celebrate this exciting new release but also one whose passion for creativity and entrepreneurship aligned with our vision for The Crown Royal Blackberry Stand,” said Hadley Schafer, VP of Crown Royal. “This collaboration with Jackie Aina and FORVR Mood not only highlights this flavor profile in such a fun and unexpected way but also makes a meaningful impact by supporting the next generation of 21+ business owners.”

For more information about The Crown Royal Blackberry Stand featuring Crown Blackberry x FORVR Mood By Jackie Aina in Los Angeles on June 14th and 15th, and more juicy Crown Royal news visit @crownroyal on Instagram to sign up for the Crown Royal newsletter.

“Finding new ways to flex my creativity to craft something that I know my supporters will love is exciting for me,”

Jackie Aina

“So, when I was approached by Crown Royal for this partnership it was a no-brainer for me, especially after seeing all the hype for their new Blackberry Flavored Whisky and learning they’re supporting a cause close to my heart with Black Girl Ventures. I’m excited to partner with a brand that shares my values!”

Crown Royal Blackberry Whisky has an ABV of 35% and is available nationwide for a limited time at a suggested retail price of $26.99 for a 750mL bottle.

*Crown Royal Generosity Fund is a donor-advised fund, administered by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, a nonprofit entity organized under IRC §501c3.

Las Vegas Discovers Aphrodise Sparkling Wine, Taste it Before Your next Party, Frank Schilling Reveals

Discover Aphrodise Sparkling Wine, You should taste Before Your next Party, Frank Schilling Reveals

Whether it’s a wedding, party, or just drinks with dinner.  We want taste.  Maybe we want a few drinks.  We also want to protect ourselves from tomorrow’s hangover.

It’s hard to find a drink that can take day to night quite like a Greek rosé and Aphrodise wants to prove it to you.

Frank Schilling, Co-Founder of Aphrodise

Frank Schilling, Co-Founder of Aphrodise

Today’s conversation with Frank Schilling from Aphrodise has been edited for length and clarity.  For the full, un-edited conversation, visit our YouTube channel here.

Joe Winger: 

Our audience is foodies. We’re wine lovers. What’s the most important message today you want to share with an audience of foodies and wine lovers?

Frank Schilling: 

I’m an Epicurean myself. I don’t have a lot of pretense around my love of food and wine, I just love great food and wine and I’ve tasted so many great things. 

I’m a character who hasn’t had a meal at home in 22 years. As an internet entrepreneur, I used to work, literally seven days a week for many years and eating out was my escape from my work because it’s the one place my laptop and phone couldn’t rule the day, or the moment.

For me, eating out was that escape and that vacation of the moment. 

I created a life around dining out probably like many of your listeners or viewers. And I have a deep well of respect for great food and wine and also for the people who admire it and chase it, it’s a, it’s one of the great things in life.

I’m always stunned by people who don’t truly love food. I feel like they’re missing something and leaving part of life on the table.

Discovering Aphrodise sparkling wine

Joe Winger: 

You have this new discovery. Let’s talk a little bit about Aphrodise. Tell me about how you discovered the grape varietal?

Frank Schilling: 

I’m a wine lover. I tasted my way through Bordeaux and Burgundy.

All the way through, I could never really tell a Merlot from a Cab.  I’d be lying to you if I said I knew what a Nebbiolo or a Valpolicella was and how all those grapes differed from each other.

I do enjoy great brands of wine. I do understand the difference between years and what impacts a year. 

But when I was building [my restaurant] it was COVID. I was doing some fingertip math and I realized we’re gonna have to start bringing over a lot of sparkling [wine] for mimosas and for brunch. It was 300 seat restaurant, two seatings, 600 seats on a brunch [shift].


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


You start to do the math and you realize, “Wow, 52 weekends a year, bottomless mimosas. I’m going to need about 3,000 bottles of wine per quarter of champagne. So let’s go out and get some.  We live on an island and supply chain management wasn’t really an option.

So we started to taste through different varieties of champagne

I came to discover what Tom Cruise did in [the movie] “Cocktail”, which is, champagne is like perfume going down, but like sewage on the way back.

It comes from a well meant place, not mean spirited towards the great region of Champagne.

Joining the Aphrodise sparkling wine party

Joining the Aphrodise sparkling wine party

It’s just the nature of Champenois produced wine and that Chardonnay grape that makes a beautiful champagne is such that you just can’t consume a lot of it in the heat or humidity in the sun.

Traditional Champagne vs Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

It just isn’t the type of forgiving libation that lets you function afterwards and you don’t feel good. 

The yeast isn’t good for a lot of people. Not everybody’s impacted the same way but, a large portion of the population doesn’t do well with champagne and heat in sunlight  as a day drink.

The recovery profile isn’t something that people look forward to.

Aphrodise from the grape varietal called Xenomavro

Aphrodise from the grape varietal called Xenomavro

I discovered that I’d had that problem myself for years. The yeast wasn’t working for me. 

So when I discovered Aphrodise, it was a grape varietal called Xenomavro. 

A high altitude grape, Greece’s most noble grape.

It’s a very forgiving drink.  In a sparkling format, it’s something you can drink in the heat, it’s something you can drink in larger quantities, I can tell you that the recovery profile, for me and for many others, is exceptionally good.

Meaning you can drink a lot of it and bounce back and go again. 

As a wine producer, that’s music to your ears. But it’s also nice knowing I’m making people feel better. I’m not putting something in the market that’s going to make you feel sick after overconsumption.

At a party enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

At a party enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Joe Winger: 

Just to give a little backstory.  Frank, I hope you’ll talk to us a little bit about one of your first adventures.  You mentioned you’re an internet entrepreneur, you had some success with website domains. 

Can you explain a little bit about that and maybe a lesson you learned from that journey?

Frank Schilling: 

It’s a lesson that some of your listeners and viewers probably have some experience with.

I registered a domain name back in the dot com era. Then I registered 2 [dot com names], then 10 and I got some generic names like wine.com , cars.com.  Names like those.

I started to realize, wow, these names have value.

I wound up registering a lot of generic names and then I had difficulty managing them because in those early days of the Internet, it was all very unwieldy. The infrastructure for managing those names. 

So I created a lot of that management infrastructure.  Then in the process, grew that business over a 20 year horizon and wound up selling the 3 companies that comprised that enterprise to a company called GoDaddy, which we’ve probably all heard of.

So some of their infrastructure was my infrastructure and is now their infrastructure. 

To the extent you like the new GoDaddy offering for managing domain names, you’re welcome, for the small part I played in helping that become a reality.

In the old days, I was traveling a lot. I had an office in Manchester in the United Kingdom, one in Newport beach in California and my main office here in the Cayman Islands.  I would travel between the offices, New York, Miami and many other cities, just for work all around the world. 

Enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Enjoying Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

At the beginning of COVID that all came to a grinding halt.  I sold those businesses and decided that with my love of food, if I was going to stay in the Cayman Islands, I realized I’m gonna have to eat at home more and I realized, the offerings of restaurants wasn’t the depth was hoping for.

So I built the restaurant, as a result of that that then led to Aphrodise.

Joe Winger: 

I love the full circle of it. 

Since we’ve mentioned the restaurant once or twice. Can we hear more about your restaurant Mykonos Cayman?

Frank Schilling: 

Sure.  During COVID lockdowns, there was a new plaza going in on the beach and I had mentally designed a restaurant years ago, but sold the real estate for it.

So when I saw the plaza going up, I was crestfallen. These guys built my dream on their land.  My fantasy of what a place would look like. But then I was happy to learn that the plaza was a strata titled affair. It wasn’t owned by one conglomerate.

So I bought into that plaza so I could control the real estate. Then once I had the real estate I did a sort of “money no object” fit out that left a very residential-looking restaurant really quite beautiful. 

I love the culture of Greece and I love the idea of the long lunch and the lack of pretense in the party and [being] all welcoming, with children, grownups will dance on the table and get really carried away.

The kids are running around. It’s all very loving and family oriented.

Whereas, Ibiza is a little more drug fueled and party, ragey and a little more intense.

I loved the soulful day party of Greece. We’re on an island and the Greeks are on islands. So I thought how nice it would be to bring some of that to my reserved island here in Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman is more of a place you quietly go to escape and enjoy the beach and family.

It’s not really a St. Bart’s where you go to seek out a great party. I always hoped that there’d be room for at least one place like they have in St. Bart’s here. 

So I built a really big place, 320 seats, super residential, relaxed, welcoming, But completely devoid of pretense.  You can come in, flip flops and shorts, or you can come in a beautiful gown as we’d hope in the evening. 

But we don’t have a lot of structure and posture around it. We want you to feel free when you come. So that, I built that venue here, and you can see it online.

It’s called Mykonos Cayman. We have an Instagram where people can learn about the restaurant.

When you come, please come for a glass of Aphrodise on me. Mention Frank said I could have a glass of Aphrodise

Joe Winger: 

You introduced Aphrodise at the Las Vegas Wedding Show.  How did it go?   Why do you think Aphrodise is the best drink to have at a wedding?

Frank Schilling:

It’s the color of love. It’s a beautiful color of red. 

We took it to the wedding show because I thought that wedding planners would share the same pain point that I discovered as a restaurateur.  Which is, if you want to buy a bottle of great champagne, easy, you go to the liquor store.

But when you start getting up there and you need 100 cases for an event or a series of events, getting that quantity consistently and getting a good product is actually quite difficult. And expensive.

So we thought we’d introduce Aphrodise.

Knowing that we could go directly to the wedding planners and help their fulfillment and execution and deliver a better product.  

Something that people could really lavish in the heat or at an after party where you’re really enjoying the bubbly and then feel better in the morning.  That was really the goal. 

My first champagne experience was at a wedding and I drank a little too much.  For the next day or two, I was laid up.

So we try to bring something to market that is good for people or at least makes them feel good in the moment and helps them recover.

We had a line all day.  I poured a 5,000 servings of Aphrodise that day. People loved it.

Let me tell you, that’s a lot of work, opening bottles. It looks very glamorous. But when you’re really going at velocity, my hands hurt at the end of the day.

We got a lot of upstart business out of that. People were like, “Wow, this stuff is actually quite good.’ 

Joe Winger: 

Let’s talk about flavor profile.

Pouring out 5,000 samples, what’s the most common feedback we get about the flavor, aroma, the mouthfeel, what are we experiencing?

Frank Schilling: 

So when you sip a drink and you talk about mouthfeel or we have a glass of wine or champagne and you have a sip and there’s a little bit of a yeasty, gamey after taste.

For some people in red wine, it can be somewhat desirable. 

In champagne, unfortunately it stays with it as well. 

When you’re having champagne, which is more of a celebratory libation, that’s not a desirable quality. You want to have something that finishes clean in your mouth. 

If you have lots of sips, you’re going to get a good buzz. You want to be able to recover quickly and elegantly without that headache that comes from the yeast and all those elements that bring its flavor.

So the taste of Aphrodise is a very clean mouthfeel and it finishes with a light crisp apple or cherry. Some people taste strawberry. 

It’s a small bubble. Very light charmat, produced in small vats, a naturally produced bubbly effect. It lives in tanks for 3 months and it gains its bubbly in a natural way. 

A little more expensive to produce that way.  Prosecco, for example, will carbonate.  They’ll add carbonation just like you would to a can of soda.

We don’t carbonate. We allow the bubbly to form naturally through the fermentation process, which is how it should be. 

Co-Founders of Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Co-Founders of Aphrodise Sparkling Wine

Joe Winger:

When it comes to food and wine pairing.  What would be your favorite dish to pair with a glass of Aphrodise?

Frank Schilling: 

Aphrodise is literally the only thing that I drink, and I’m crestfallen when I can’t find it. 

It’s a dark rosé so it goes nicely with meat – a burger or a steak.  Chicken or fish. It’s also a great dessert drink.

I like Aphrodise as a warmup libation and as an after dinner, like celebratory drink if you’re having a party, there’s an after party.

Joe Winger: 

You’ve done a lot in your life. You’ve had a lot of adventures, a lot of successes.

Any inspiration or lessons you can share with the audience?

Frank Schilling: 

The answer is love for people and love for living your best life, love for conviviality. I have a lot of love for the people that I encountered that have helped me in my journey. Those who’ve just been a part of my life, there for a season or there for a reason, as the saying goes, I try to embrace everybody.

See the good in everybody. There are people you click with more than other people. I say yes to everything unless it hurts me. I have a real lust for life and a good energy level.

Joe Winger: 

If you’re loving Frank’s energy and his positivity, you wrote an amazing book. Would you mind giving us a summary of the book and what it was like writing it?

Frank Schilling: 

It’s called Omnia Vincent: the universe wants you to win. 

I wrote the book as I’d sold my businesses. It was during COVID lockdowns and everybody was [going through a] “The end of the world” mood type thing at that time.

You write a book like this for your grandchildren. If one day they want to know more about grandpa and did our success come from or where did our financial wealth come from?

It’s nice for them to know a little about the person who tried hard and maybe you can see something in yourself.  So I really wrote it for my future ancestors.

I want to be the guy who left something for the grandkids and great grandkids to understand a little about my brain. And it’s really just written in short micro chapters. 

Joe Winger:

Because you’re an epicurean, if you’re going to have any plate for dinner tonight, what would it be and why? 

Frank Schilling: 

Tonight I’m actually feeling a Pittsburgh style steak, seared on the outside. I haven’t had good red meat in about a week, and we just got some A5 Wagyu at the restaurant Our chef is a butcher and he’s also a certified Angus ambassador. So he gets great cuts. 

We do a beautiful short rib burger, which is really lean short rib again on the outside with a bit of a char finish.  We have a charcoal grill inside the restaurant, which is beautiful. 

Joe Winger: 

Thank you so much for your time.  If someone wants to learn more, what are the best ways to find and follow websites, social media for Aphrodise?

Frank Schilling: 

DrinkAphrodise on Instagram and the website DrinkAphrodise.com

 

Vegas Loves Rum! Renowned premium rum brand Flor de Caña Rum honored with “Environmental Initiatives Award” at the 2024 SEAL Awards

Vegas Loves Rum! Renowned premium rum brand Flor de Caña Rum honored with “Environmental Initiatives Award” at the 2024 SEAL Awards

Flor de Caña, the renowned premium rum brand celebrated for its exceptional quality and unwavering commitment to sustainability, is proud to announce that it has been honored with the “Environmental Initiatives Award” from the prestigious SEAL Awards in the United States.


FlavRReport.com on YouTube

FlavRReport.com on YouTube


This recognition highlights Flor de Caña’s leadership in championing environmental stewardship and fostering a greener and more sustainable future.

The SEAL Awards is a global, multi-industry platform that showcases trailblazing companies that demonstrate measurable contributions to sustainability and spearhead innovative initiatives with positive environmental impacts.

Flor de Caña’s carbon neutral certification, the planting of one million trees since 2005, and its use of 100% renewable energy to distill its rum have been pivotal in earning this esteemed accolade.

Flor de Caña is a fifth-generation, family-owned brand and the world’s first carbon neutral and Fair Trade certified spirit.

It has garnered international acclaim for its award-winning portfolio of premium rums from Nicaragua, aged naturally in bourbon barrels without the addition of sugar or artificial ingredients.

Notably, Flor de Caña’s 12 year-old, 18 year-old, and 25 year-old rums stand out for their distinctive flavor profiles and exceptionally smooth finish, exemplifying the brand’s commitment to excellence.

About Flor de Caña
Flor de Caña is a premium rum brand and the world’s first Carbon Neutral and Fair Trade certified spirit.

From an 1890 family-owned estate, it’s distilled with 100% renewable energy and naturally aged at the base of an active volcano without sugar or artificial ingredients.

The brand is recognized as a global leader in sustainability, receiving distinctions such as “World’s Most Sustainable Rum Brand” (USA), “Ethical Award” (UK) and “Sustainable Spirits Producer” (France). www.flordecana.com