The Power List | Celebrate with… Rebecca Jago, MD, The Last Drop Distillers
Discussing brand DNA, legacy, and inspiring storytelling (as well as the importance of giving and the magic of a Christmas spent at home in Putney), Rebecca Jago, MD of The Last Drop Distillers, is today’s Power List profile -and our first Season of Luxury feature of the 2019 festive season.
How do you use the DNA of your brand to tell new and exciting stories?
I am incredibly fortunate to be the daughter of one of the founders of The Last Drop Distillers, Tom Jago, and to carry not only his actual DNA but also the DNA of the brand, its philosophy and principles with me. James and Tom are real industry legends, and their legacy gives gravitas and authenticity to the incredible discoveries that the next generation at The Last Drop are now uncovering. The principles of what we do – being “rare spirits hunters” – means that our journey can take us almost anywhere in the world looking for hidden treasures. To say that I have one of the best jobs in the world is an understatement, and I think that comes across in my passion and enthusiasm for The Last Drop and our mission. Every spirit we uncover comes with a story of its own, and we see ourselves as the custodians and caretakers of the spirits and the stories: my role is to ensure they receive the spotlight and attention they deserve, and it’s a pleasure to be able to share them.
How do you continue to use storytelling to surprise and delight customers?
It is a wonderful privilege to be able to share the stories of The Last Drop Distillers, our journeys and our discoveries with customers and friends around the world. Every spirit we bottle comes with its own story: where and how it was uncovered, the first taste, the moment we knew it was right for a TLDD bottle. Who could fail to be moved by the story of a single cask of Cognac from 1925 which was hidden from the approaching Germans before WWII, forgotten about and uncovered decades later by the grandson of the original distiller? There are people all around the world whose faces light up when they hear us talk of Tom’s role in the invention of Bailey’s, or James being the mastermind behind the Keepers of the Quaich. As the daughters of the founders, we have a very personal and affectionate take on the company and I think this shines through in all we do and say: I think this is at the heart of the stories we tell and the response we receive.
Season of Luxury
All I want for Christmas is…
Honestly, I’m fortunate enough to want for very little. I will be making a donation to Crisis to enable a number of people without a home to have a proper Christmas lunch and introduce them to the education, training and support to help end homelessness for good.
I will also be supporting the wonderful work of tiny charity The Flying Seagull Project, who work to bring smiles and laughter to children in hospitals, orphanages, deaf/blind schools, marginalised communities, refugee camps and slums around the world. They are a truly inspirational group.
How will you be celebrating Christmas this year?
We will start with midnight mass on Christmas Eve, in the heart of Putney where we live. Surrounded by friends and family, this is a lovely, joyous start to Christmas. This year we’re having Christmas Day at home with the family: both our children are coming home and my eldest brother will also be with us. I’ve told everyone I’ll be in pyjamas all day: I was given a beautiful pair from Desmond & Dempsey for my birthday. However, I may get dressed in time for a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings!
I’m also going to open my precious bottle of The Last Drop 1925 Grande Champagne Cognac after lunch, and drink a toast to both my much-missed parents. 1925 was my father’s year of birth, so it’s a particularly significant release for me, and simply the most delicious cognac I’ve ever tasted!
Your favourite Christmas tradition?
Since our children were tiny, we’ve always opened stockings together in bed. Even though they’re now 27 and 24, and my son is 6 foot 3, we still do this and it’s a wonderful way to start Christmas Day! We also always have a very sharp lemon jelly for pudding on Christmas Day: not your usual Christmas dessert but a much-loved tradition in our family!
Favourite festive film or song?
Too many to choose from, but I can usually be found shedding a tear in front of The Snowman.
Best place to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere?
The Worshipful Company of Distillers holds its annual Carol Service at St Lawrence Jewry in the City of London: this is a joyous occasion full of good cheer, and our honorary chaplain, Canon David Parrott can be relied on to give a wonderful, moving and humorous sermon.
Top tip for surviving the festive season in style?
Eat and drink well, spend time with people you love and get lots of exercise and lots of sleep!