Last week I was in Dar es Salaam in the continuation of my East African round trip. The first and most important event I attended was the launch of Virginia Black American Whiskey by Drake. The event hosted (26th of October) by QWAY INTERNATIONAL—the official importers and distributors of Virginia Black, among other premium wines and spirits, was held at Hyatt Regency’s splendid Rooftop. I still can’t get over the beauty of Indian Ocean’s view overlooking Dar es Salaam city. That, and the gold and black themed set up redefined class and decadence.
It’s a star-studded party with only a handful of celebs, artistes, media and professionals in the industry of premium wines and spirits –all drawn from East Africa. I am so honoured to be here. It’s a publicist’s field day! From Uganda, I bump into my good friends – the legendary rapper off Klear Kut, The Mith, the events and promotions guru, Aly and former Big Brother Africa contestant and media personality, Denzel (I correspond for his Friday radio show on X FM). From Tanzania, I bump into Tanzanian power vocalist, Lady Jaydee, a former client. She is here with her tall boo. Remember the one on her recent Instagram pictures? The ones that went viral.
Talking of Instagram, all the Wasafi Boys are here, except for Diamond. The celebrity photographer responsible for Navy Kenzo’s album cover and Vee Money’s Niroge press pictures, Osse, is here too. I also meet Chinasa Udeala – the regional director East Africa Mobile Apps (Boomplay Music) at TECNO Mobile. Such a pleasure! He’s one of those people I have always wanted to meet 🙂 We discuss work and life and he ends up promising me the Phantom 8. Early Christmas gift, yipeee!
There are East African and international media well represented, and it’s good to bump into my friends: Edwin and Cleo from Millard Ayo and Trace Mziki, respectively. The Kenyan team also has fast rising eclectic DJ Mixmasterlenny, Devna and Michelle from Eat Out Kenya, legendary showbiz master, Prezzo, and Homeboyz Radio hip hop Queen Corine. It’s such a lifestyle of an event and a good mix of industry people. Conversations I am privy to fly around business, collaborations and partnerships. The launch embodies Virginia Black’s representation of lifestyle, culture, appeal and street credibility.
A few days later, I am sitting in Nairobi discussing Virginia Black, and the launch event with some curious friends. They say: “Only time you were so lit and we weren’t with you! From your Instastories, it was rather obvious that you let loose and had a great time!” I mean, isn’t that what life is about? Letting go of all worries and taking time to celebrate our achievements and everything that makes us who we are.
The taste of Virginia Black and its eight-sided silhouette shaped bottle will make you cling on it forever. The bottle has got 2 parts: a black bottom and a glass top. There is a gold front plaque which is hand applied on every bottle to capture the decadence of the brand. There is only 1 bottle autographed by Drake, which Corine wins after a short-lived competition that required guests to either sing Drake lyrics or down a couple of shots. Kenya team, represented by Corine and I, obviously take on the shots. Corine says she will keep the bottle unopened forever. Ahhh! Such a deserving win!
The Grammy Award-winning Canadian Rapper, Drake, is one of the most influential personalities of our time with an unparalleled cross over and cross-cultural appeal. Virginia Black is his first shot at the liquor game. One of the greatest VB memories so far was in May this year at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, where Drake and his entire team celebrated winning Top Artist at the awards (which was his 13th for the night), by drinking shots of Virginia Black.
Anyone who knows me knows too well knows that I am not big on drinking and at the same time I can be the biggest whore to drinks. I drink just about anything as long as I am thirsty, and its taste satisfies me at the moment. However, my kind of drink shouldn’t be too strong and if too strong – it has to be bearable once accompanied with a chaser. It has dawned to me that I might easily be a whiskey fanatic because there are a few times that I have woken up needing just a shot or two 🙂 At the launch event, I have Virginia Black neat and then sample all the cocktails– and it’s bearable. Alas! A whiskey made just for me.
BONUS: Virginia Black is a High Rye bourbon, 40% abv, in Indiana (and not Virginia), with the theme of the spirit being Rich, Decadent Flavours. The product embodies the vision of what a premium whiskey should look, feel and taste like. Virginia Black is now available in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Ghana, Ireland, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, UK and Canada.