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Keeper of the Quaich – and a whole lot of Scotch

Cesar Da Silva, bar manager at London’s The Capital bar in Knightsbridge was recently appointed Keeper of the Quaich. The prestigious title is awarded to those who have been recognised for their work in promoting Scotch.

Da Silva, the youngest Keeper in the UK, has been dedicated to whisky from an early age, and has dedicated much of his professional life to helping other people learn about what Scotch has to offer.

Other than imparting some of his encyclopaedic knowledge of whisky to his customers, Da Silva also encourages people to try new things through his highly innovative cheese and whisky pairings. While seemingly worlds apart, cheese has a lot in common with whisky, Da Silva explains. “They’re both so versatile. A livarot with a peaty, deep flavoured 18 year old Talisker will blow you away.”

One of Da Silva’s main motivations is to make rare and fine whiskies available to a much larger audience. “Most rare and old whiskies are kept locked away in cabinets somewhere, I want more people to be able to experience some of the finest whiskies available.”

Da Silva aims to offer the best value for money whisky in London, offering exceptional, hard-to-find whiskies for reasonable prices (relatively speaking – £175 a shot for 40 year old Macallan is still out of most people’s price range).

“Drinking these amazing whiskies is a life experience. I want people to be able to have that here in this bar. It’s not cheap, but it’s not outrageous, especially as it’s positioned as an experience, rather than just a drink.

“I would pay £175 for a glass of something really exceptional – not everyday, it would be for a special occasion, but it’s certainly something I would love to do.”

And given the high level of loyal customers, it clearly is something that people are doing.

In terms of expanding the traditional whisky audience, Da Silva works hard to get women interested in whisky.

“It’s about starting with something light, possibly sherry casked, a Highland or a Speyside – something that won’t burn too much.”

His current favourite whisky is Ardeg, Single Cask, 1975 sherry cask, going for a cool £125 a 50ml shot – not as horrific as it sounds considering the bottle goes for around £1,200 – if you can find one.

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