Anacleto and Tina Bleve originate from Cerfignano, in the Otranto province of Puglia in Italy. I am their second-born. Shortly after emigrating to Rome in the late sixties, they became key actors in the city’s food and wine scene. After my studies I was put to work at the then highly successful Punto di Ristoro my parents managed along with Frescobaldi at Rome Fiumicino airport. This training was invaluable, and not just in business terms. From behind the counter I was able to observe the world and the dynamics that made it spin. Ever since I was young – from the word go actually – I was subject to the fascinating attractions of great spirits. It was time to turn passion into profession. The chance came when Casa Bleve merged with Samaroli. Samaroli was the first company to introduce single malt to Italian and international markets, along with the local producers of the Highlands and the North Atlantic Isles. This alliance gave me a first taste of the whisky world and its infinite possibilities. At Samaroli I was the manager, but more importantly, I was a merchant: a much more dynamic and productive role, especially when looking beyond the existing market to explore and create new and ever-more profitable arenas for action and interaction. I consider myself a fortunate individual. Our humble beginnings in Italy and Europe became a global success in only a few short years. Our unique feature is and always will be the ability to identify customers across any geopolitical (dare I say cultural?) context. This tier of individuals are now in a position to access an increasingly select and exclusive product. They possess the language to tell the difference in terms other than cost. And with regards to that, we prioritise the distribution of the best results in qualitative and availability terms, no matter what. Our first step in this direction was entering into agreements with small producers in the Highlands and the Isles, especially those to whom we owe the rarest and most established whiskies. It was no easy feat. We had to overcome a host of issues starting from those which have a direct impact on production, both for our producers and for ourselves. Thus we were never simply going to accept that the progressive reduction in cask numbers means we would have to make do with what we found. Instead, we expect (sometimes demand) that the proper criteria of production are applied throughout all the stages of the process: the right selection of barley and malt, rigour in distilling and then in choosing the barrels for ageing. Other times we were compelled to seek ways to access credit so as not to make finance the driving force behind production. All this was aimed at returning to tradition in its purest form, as without this there can be no craftsmanship. We have harvested the results. I believe that our whiskies are among the best in the world. Each selection, sample, tasting, and therefore each cask and bottle. I am overjoyed with our progress and results. And I can assure you of one thing: the price you are paying reflects the value of the product, not that of the company from which you buy it. From whisky to rum. Not a minor skip since this spirit – despite its ever-present narratives (the Royal Navy, the pirates or privateers of the Caribbean and the Seven Seas, the fifteen men and yo ho ho and all that) had lapsed into a limbo far from any standard of quality. Here as well, no shortcut could be taken. It took time and effort to go from the purest distilled essence to a to a refined and mature spirit. We worked with the smallest batches. All this allows us to rediscover and relaunch original iterations with highly specific qualities. For example, we breathed new life into the spirits of Demerara, named after the river in Guyana along which the fleshiest sugar cane grows; the celebrated Jamaica; the Barbados, smacking of distinctly British glamour; the Nicaragua; the Fiji; and more. Now ready for our devoted customers and careful experts, and therefore ready for the most discerning of markets.