Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme launches whiskey brand in Northern Ireland

Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme launches whiskey brand in Northern Ireland
'The muscles of Brussels' with his new beverage. Credit: Old Oak Irish Whiskey

To mark his 63rd birthday, Belgian Hollywood actor Jean-Claude Van Damme has launched his own brand of (Northern) Irish whiskey, associating his name with the 'Old Oak' brand, Sudinfo reports.

As well as starring in a number of blockbusters including Bloodsport, Kickboxer, and Lionheart, the 'Muscles from Brussels' is known for his incredible martial arts skills and charismatic screen presence. But he is also an entrepreneur – and, apparently, a whiskey lover.

"Van Damme has been a global icon in the film world for decades. But today, the actor is playing a different role as a businessman, becoming a partner in a product he loves," according to the Old Oak website.

The company was launched on 18 October in a traditional distillery on the outskirts of Belfast and the name of his new beverage, sold for between €41.95 and €46.95, is 'Old Oak'.

Having initially considered creating an American bourbon, a friend then suggested an Irish whiskey to Van Damme, and he was quick to embrace the idea. "It was also the perfect opportunity to combine two things with which I feel closely associated, namely whiskey and its rich heritage, and the charisma and warmth of Ireland and its people. As I have discovered over the years, if you want to be in the presence of real people and have fun, be in the company of an Irishman."

After tasting 'Old Oak', he says he realised it was the whiskey for him. "I loved the aroma and the smoothness on the palate compared to the heavier whiskies I had tasted in different parts of the world."

The company declared it was "proud to be associated with the world-renowned actor, whose passion for perfection and attention to detail make him the perfect representative of our brand."

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