Juba (South Sudan), March 21: Two months ago, megastar George Clooney uncorked a signature tequila whose money will fund his pet project for South Sudan. "Casamigos" is the name he and co-investor Rande Gerber gave it, before launching a risque advert where Clooney was caught sleeping with Gerber's wife, the former supermodel Cindy Crawford.
As the advert rolled, Crawford was found sleeping with Clooney's then girlfriend Stacy Keibler, then Keibler with Gerber, and finally, the two good men in the same bed! "Drink responsibly, this could happen to you," was the cheeky message!
But even as the tequila made waves on Clooney's celebration win of an Oscar for "Argo" at Los Angeles eatery Craig's last month, with his gold statue in one hand and the statuesque Keibler on the other, and Ben Affleck and Cindy Crawford for company, even the first bottle of the Mexican knockout hasn't made it to the country it aims to serve.
Casamigos sales are directed to Clooney's "sentinels in the sky" project where he's hired expensive satellite time and imagery to capture war crimes and mass graves unleashed by Khartoum over its southern territories. Once co-funded by Google, evidence has been used in hearings on Capitol Hill, and Clooney's deep involvement has brought international censure to the Al Bashir regime.
"No bottles yet, but who knows when we'll need to? " says D.K. Goyal, Juba's largest distributor of liquor and spirits. Goyal, a former air force man, made it in the world's newest country importing cases from neighbouring nations, straddling South Sudan's uncertain customs and excise environment.
Casamigos is named after Clooney's and Gerber's houses in Mexico and roughly translates into "House of Friends." It is bright gold in colour with a nose that features caramel, fresh agave, and a slight vegetal note along with soft and subtle white pepper and oak.
The pepper and oak spice linger along with the caramel and agave for a slightly sweet and spicy, positioned at those who want to be able to sip tequila neat without feeling the burn.
Like Clooney, Casamigos is positioned as understated and refined, but Keibler's exit from his life four days back is a definite setback to the cheeky advertising featuring her. Casamigos not being in South Sudan is the other one!
(21-03-2013 - Rohit Bansal is chief executive and co-founder, India Strategy Group, Hammurabi and Solomon Consulting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter@therohitbansal)