To celebrate today’s National Scotch Day, I give you Bill Thomas, owner of the famed Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C. For scotch aficionados – and spirits fans in general – Jack Rose is every bit a DC landmark as the Washington Monument or Smithsonian. With more than 2,400 selections of scotches, whiskies and bourbons from around the world Jack Rose has re-defined the spirits culture in a city whose culture, in many ways, is raising a glass.
Thomas said Jack Rose sells more than 10,000 bottle of scotches, whiskies and bourbons annually. That number, by the way, is counted by the ounce.
“I think we’ve had some influence,’’ in terms of fueling the whisky boom of the past few years, Thomas said. “We really saw it take off like crazy about two years ago. Irish (whisky) is up dramatically. Bourbon is through the roof. I’ve heard Scotch has taken a little bit of a hit, but you wouldn’t know by Jack Rose. In the DC market, (scotch) seems to be up.’’
The whiskies and bourbons selections at Jack Rose range from the standard brands to rare brands, including a rare Black Bowmore single-malt scotch that sells for $600 an ounce.
“All day long I search for whisky. I follow leads, I search at auctions, I travel. That’s all I do know. I feel like I’m never in Jack Rose,’’ Thomas said.
But regardless of where he’s at, Thomas is never a stranger among his fellow whisky purists.
“Whisky people have got to be the most welcoming people on the planet,’’ Thomas said. “I can probably make a call now to any whisky person and someone would probably put me up at their house. People want to show their love of whisky.’’
Nowhere does that love show more than at Jack Rose.