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Old Monk in a new bottle: 50 shades of disappointment

The colourful Connoisseur Collection is giving a purist the blues

By Sriparna Ray

  • Published 30.10.18, 1:44 PM
  • Updated 30.10.18, 4:32 PM
Illustration by Rahul Awasthi

Old Monk is adding some flavours to its life, and I get a feeling that it’s just going to complicate our relationship. Yes, I’ve been in a stable relationship with the dude with the dulcet dark brown skin ever since I reached legal drinking age, stable here being the key word. With Orange, Lemon, Apple, Cranberry and Mojito, that stability is under threat, and I’m feeling a bit dizzy. Call me racist, but I’m not dealing well with the shades.

The new flavours have hit the stores in all their colourful ‘glory’. Oh the horror of seeing Old Monk written on a pink bottle!

Is he trying to be metrosexual? The dictionary definition of metrosexual is “a heterosexual urban man who enjoys shopping, fashion, and similar interests traditionally associated with women or homosexual men”. Plainly put, it would mean a man who dares to wear pink and flaunt his manicured hands. But it would also refer to a man who is sensitive to women’s interests and concerns. And, boy, does Old Monk score on that count. Without dressing in pink or green.

And what would happen if the monk-shaped bottle goes orange? It would look like Donald Trump. Now who would want a sip out of that? How I wish this would be #FakeNews.

I drink Old Monk when I’m happy, the portly, sturdy bottle sending my emotions on a high without the threat of a hangover. I drink Old Monk when I’m down — down with flu or with heartache. And its sweet, warm, robust hug tells me everything is fine, and the world is not such a cruel place, because the spirited old man lives in it.

Now, there are several Monks to choose from, and it’s like your partner’s personality has been split into pieces. Should you turn to his pink personality when your boss has shouted at you for no reason, or will his green side offer you a shoulder when you are battling cramps on your periods? (Yes, Smriti Irani, Old Monk is a bloody cool friend). And what about when you want to dance like no one’s watching? Will Mr Orange Monk step up and lead you to the floor? The thing is, I want Old Monk and I want him whole, not diluted with candy-coloured frivolousness. 

Old Monk is now available in a range of flavours, including Orange, Lemon, Apple, Cranberry and Mojito
Old Monk is now available in a range of flavours, including Orange, Lemon, Apple, Cranberry and Mojito Instagram

Yes, I get it that Mohan Meakin Ltd, the manufacturers of Old Monk, probably wants to give competition to Bacardi Breezer, which has been committed to help closet drinkers come out and dump their unfashionable steel tumblers. But Old Monk and closet drinkers don’t mix. It’s a relationship to flaunt, which gives us a reason to stand up and be counted as serious drinkers.

And our old man has never needed publicity or advertisements. Only insecure men need pouting selfies for social approval. So, what is the reason for this status update? Is nothing sacred anymore?

Perfection cannot be improved, and Bacchus knows he is flawless. Yes, I admit, rum lends itself to some wonderful cocktails. But old Monk is no ordinary rum. It’s, well, Old Monk. Would you mess with a single malt? Imagine Glenfiddich selling a Manhattan version. I can already hear the cries of horror, from Manhattan to Mumbai.

Smooth as Old Monk might be, our ride has seen a bump or two. In 2015, social media was abuzz with whispers about the brand being pulled off the market because sales had apparently dipped. But Mohan Meakin Ltd steadied our beating hearts by putting a lid on those rumours and promising to keep the blessed brown river flowing.

Has another sales dip prompted the decision to branch out and reach drinkers with different tastes? If that’s the case, they could have given the new flavours a different name. Why can’t they leave Old Monk alone?

They’re calling the new range The Connoisseur Collection, but any Old Monk connoisseur will tell you that Old Monk, just with water or cola, is the real deal.

Now, pass me an unsullied Old Monk while I try and quieten the rumbles of discontent.

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