In the week before Christmas, I met my pal Michael “Jerry” Lutz, whom some of you might know under his alias Herr Lutz, for a chat over a couple of drams. A few weeks before, he had taken a new job at Grupo Osborne. During our conversation, he told me that he will be representing the company’s flagship brandy Carlos I at Hanse Spirit in Hamburg from January 30 to February 1. Curious to learn more about Jerry’s plans for the fair as well as his general work for Grupo Osborne, I asked him for an interview. He gladly agreed. So here we go with a fun read about out-of-the-box thinking, no-rules dramming and the magic that happens when a beautiful distillate gets touched by the “best of the best sherry casks”.
BarleyMania: In October 2019, you joined Grupo Osborne as Brand Ambassador. In that capacity you represent Carlos I Brandy as well as Nordes Gin and Montecillo Wine in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. What have the first couple of months been like for you?
Michael Lutz: Busy! But I think that is absolutely normal when “you” are the new guy in town and everybody wants to help you get into the new job, company and system as quick and smooth as possible. My first weeks were basically all about training and meeting the staff. For the latter, I went to Madrid and El Puerto de Santa María as well as Bremen, where our general distributor in Germany – Reidemeister & Ulrichs – is located.
BarleyMania: Before you took over the gig at Grupo Osborne, you did a similar job – albeit for whisky rather than brandy. Are there any noteworthy differences between being a Brand Ambassador for as Brandy de Jerez as compared to being a Brand Ambassador for a Scotch Whisky?
Michael Lutz: The job itself is more or less completely the same. The biggest difference is the company behind the brand. It might either give you strict rules and a loooong to-do list. Or – as in my case – it might grant you a lot of space to play around with ideas. When dealing with business partners such as bars, restaurants and specialist retailers, I have the freedom to try new approaches and “think out of the box”. That is great fun and a bit tricky at the same time – but hey, if it would be easy, where would be the challenge?
BarleyMania: Knowing you, I am certain that you would not have taken the job if you were not 100 per cent convinced by the product and the company. What is it to you that makes Carlos I Brandy unique and sets it apart from other spirits?
Michael Lutz: I won’t bother you with all the key facts and marketing stuff. Instead, I will make it very easy and clear: Carlos I is an outstanding brand. Full stop. Our history reaches back more than 130 years now. In that time, we have gained an unmatched knowledge of how to make the finest Brandy de Jerez.
Furthermore, we have the privilege of owning simply the best of the best sherry casks. Taking advantage of the solera system in our storage houses called “cathedrales”, we mature our brandy to perfection under sublime conditions. Without exaggeration: Our casks are so outstanding and special that I struggle to explain it in simple words. So I suggest you find out for yourself: Take a sip of Carlos I and concentrate on the sweet spices brought forth by the sherry-ish wood. You will find yourselves in brandy heaven!
BarleyMania: On the last weekend in January (Jan 30 to Feb 1), you will man the Carlos I Brandy stand at Northern Germany’s biggest spirits fair Hanse Spirit in Hamburg. What do you have in store for the visitors? What can they expect when they visit your booth?
Michael Lutz: First, you will get proof of the aforementioned “heavenly part” of Carlos I by smelling and tasting the sherry-ish wooden sweet notes I will never get tired to tell you about. We will show – and of course sample – for you the full core range of Carlos I Brandy. It consists of Carlos I Gran Reserva, Carlos I Amontillado, Carlos I PX and Carlos I Imperial XO. On top, we have Carlos I “1520” for you, a limited edition of 4,281 bottles. And hey: I am there, too, for a chat and to share a dram! Come by and say hi, muchachas y muchachos!
BarleyMania: I can imagine that some BarleyMania readers will now be curious to check out Carlos I Brandy. If they have mostly focused on whisky so far, how would you recommend them to get their Brandy de Jerez adventures started?
Michael Lutz: Simply give it a try! If you are not yet familiar with something, you should at least test it once, sometimes twice. The best thing: There are no rules! With or without ice – nobody will ever be judging you! Even a pour within your beloved coffee is just fine!
But if you are asking for all your “semper fi” BarleyMania readers that are blessed with wide-ranged whisky experiences, I would say that they could simply give the Carlos I standard bottling a chance the next time they purchase something at their favorite liquor store. Especially for all the lovers of sherry cask finished whiskies it will be an amazing discovery. Carlos I Brandy de Jerez combines a lot of flavors that your readers might often search for in whiskies, or even rums.
Hopefully, your die-hard BarleyMania readers will take advantage of the comment section for telling us their tasting experiences or even tasting notes here on your blog… I am looking forward to that already.
Carlos I Brandy @ Web: https://carlosbrandy.com/
Carlos I Brandy @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carlosbrandy.int/
Michael Lutz @ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/herr.lutz/
Michael Lutz @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michael.lutz.ambassador
Michael Lutz @ Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelLutz1982