On the 1st of May the PD and marketing team at Shearer Candles visited the Tower of London for the launch of Royal Choice – a Whisky by Spey Whisky Distillers who are owned by Harvey’s of Edinburgh.
Spey’s ROYAL CHOICE single malt whisky has been developed in association with Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity which looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace, it affirms a royal connection when King George III was sent a cask of Spey whisky in 1815 by the poet Lord Byron and continues to be offered and enjoyed today by the select few.
A candle manufacturer and a whisky distiller I hear you ask? Well…while exhibiting at The Scottish Trade Fair in January we were approached by Spey Whisky Distiller’s about a very exciting project – a whisky scented candle. While still in development, we are now at the stage of scent and colour selections and for now that is all I can say.
Back to London – we got the fast train down, checked into our hotel after a spot of shopping in Covent Garden or as Victoria calls it ‘middle earth’ due to the depth of the underground station! Got our glad rags on and strolled down to the tower to be met by a couple of Yeoman Warders or better known as Beefeaters.
We had a very interesting private tour of the Tower of London including the beautiful crown jewels – a perfect sightsee if you don’t count the rain. Below are some of the incredibly interesting facts told by the Yeoman Warder on our tour.
1. There have been more people in space than Beefeaters at The Tower of London.
2. The phrase laughing your head off came about when a Scot executed on Tower Hill literally laughed as his head was chopped off when the nasty crowd who came to see his execution cheered and jumped so hard that the stage beneath them collapsed sending them rolling down the hill into the cesspit (most of them died)
3. There must always be 6 Ravens residing at the Tower or it is legend that it will fall down. Currently they have 8.
4. There are 37 Yeomen Warders and one Chief Warder. All warders are retired from the armed forces of commonwealth realms and must be former senior non commissioned officers or petty officers with at least 22 years of service. They must also hold the long service and good conduct medal. Historically they looked after the prisoners and protected the crown jewels – now they are very important tourist guides still protecting the jewels.
5. Beefeaters get their name as they used to be paid in beef by the King – or could eat as much beef from the King’s table – people outside the tower walls ate dogs, rats and pigeons!
6. Britain was given many exotic gifts from royal families across the world. Statues of monkeys, a polar bear and an elephant stand proud at the Tower – these being the first exotic animals brought to Britain – sadly they didn’t live long due to a diet of rum and buns and allowed to swim in the dirty Thames. With no internet the Yeoman Warders didn’t know how to care for these animals.
After the tour we were shuffled into the Wakefield tower for a drinks and canapés reception. We were delighted to see that the venue was decorated with Shearer beeswax church candles, glow globes and glass lanterns – most likely the type of candles used by the historical kings and queens though the ages. We were served beautiful food (caterers used by Pippa Middleton), wonderful Royal Choice drams, elderflower wine and whisky cocktails. We listened to a couple of lovely speeches from Historic Royal Palaces, Harvey’s and Spey. We were entertained by a piper and a cooper who showed us all what it takes to make a whisky cast. After chatting to him we even found out he was a Glaswegian cab driver – so he knew exactly where we all lived!
We met many interesting people – mostly those in the whisky business and with the warmth of a couple or more drams we left the Tower excited and happy to be involved with such a wonderful company.
Our business is all about heritage, family and history so a trip to a place steeped in the same really made us feel like we are doing something right.