Despite his Scottish heritage, more often than not James Bond eschewed scotch in favor of its American cousin, bourbon. In part three of Bottled in Bond, we'll look at what makes a bourbon and which brands Bond preferred.
When folks in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels were ready to exchange warm, dry handshakes and have a drink, they reached for blended scotch. And while Johnnie Walker may be the best-known blend in the world, it was Black & White or, if you were Bond's best friend Felix Leiter, Haig & Haig.
Although James Bond is forever linked with the Martini, shaken not stirred, in the books by Ian Fleming, 007 is more of a whiskey man. In fact, he's more of a bourbon man. So let's take a look at the history of whiskey, be it scotch or bourbon, and some of the brands that pop up most often in the James Bond novels.
After being sent through the ringer physically during Doctor No, a book which sees Bond abused by everything from hot plates to giant squid, he gets to take things relatively easy this time around, as the bulk of the story involves Bond doing little more than embarrassing eccentric millionaire and suspected SMERSH operative Auric Goldfinger in a series of sporting encounters.
From Russia with Love ends on a cliffhanger. James Bond is down! Poisoned by a crafty Russian agent! What will happen? Proceed to the next book to find out! Unfortunately, the cliffhanger is always better than the resolution, and Dr. No picks up the thread by going, “Boy, that sure was close, but now James is all better,” and away we go to Jamaica without much bother.
Diamonds are Forever was a vacation for 007, an enjoyable breather Ian Fleming took in between more substantial books. From Russia with Love finds Bond and the Bond books back in top form for one of the best-loved stories in the entire franchise. From Russia with Love deserves its lofty ranking, though to be honest, at the end of the adventure, we have another sightseeing excursion for Bond.
The Moneypenny Diaries is presented as excerpts from the secret diary of Jane “Miss” Moneypenny. It's a complex, bittersweet, even realistic alternate point of view of James Bond, as well as a meditation on the politics of the 1960s and the impact of Bond’s lifestyle and attitude on those around him — especially the women. It’s also a damn sight better than most of the official Bond continuation novels.