Updated June. 10, 2014 01:38
"Scent more charming than fragrance, taste softer than silk"
Imperial, Koreas first premium whiskey that appeared with this advertisement copy, marks the 20th anniversary this year. Up until 1994, ordinary people had few chances to access premium whiskies that are produced by fermenting malt for 12 years or longer.
Until 1984, other spirits including Gilbert Royal (Jinro), and Very Nine Gold (Baekhwa), which only contain up to 30 percent of whiskey concentrate, were consumed as alternatives to whiskies. In 1984, ahead of the 1986 Asian Games in Korea, five to seven-year-old standard whiskies including VIP (Jinro), Passport (OB Seagram), and Something Special (Very Nine) made debut thanks to the policy "Korea should also make genuine whiskies."
The general publics desire for high-end whiskey surfaced in earnest following the emergence of Imperial produced by Jinro. The explosive growth of whiskey consumption in Korea was an issue of global interest. In 1995, Imperial ranked the fourth best-selling whiskey brand in the world after Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker, and Glenfiddich. Following the success of Imperial, Dimple (Chosun Brewery), Scotch Blue (Lotte Chilsung), Windsor (OB Seagram) and Ambassador (Bohae) made debut in succession.
In order to gain the upper hand in the whiskey market, which grows by 30 percent every year, whiskey salespeople used to volunteer to serve as chauffer for female bar owners on their way home after the closure of business. Whiskey companies had provided loans to "Room Salons" amid fierce competition in a turf war.