We talk to the Haig Club Brand Partner about his favourite tipple, his dream Father's Day, and exactly what he thinks it takes to be truly stylish.
What's your interest in whisky?
I used to see my grandad, sat in his armchair, drinking a nice glass of whisky at Christmas or at New Year, and looking back at memories of my childhood, that's one that stuck with me.
I've always loved the idea of being a whisky drinker – and obviously with the career I had, I never wanted to drink because I was an athlete. But when I retired, it interested me to be a part of something that had so much history and heritage, and the Haig dynasty is one of the most legendary in the whisky world.
But Haig Club was about doing something different and new. The whisky world is sometimes seen more as something for the older generation, but what we've done is brought a younger generation into it. And that's what really interested me.
And what's so special about Haig?
The history: the house of Haig is almost 400 years old, the Haigs are the oldest grain whisky dynasty in Scotland, but this whisky is different because of its versatility – you can make so many great cocktails with it.
When you think about Scotch, most of the time it's straight or on the rocks. If you mention adding something to it to big whisky drinkers, they turn their nose up at it, but what we've done with this single grain is make it into a Scotch whisky that is smooth and easily mixed.
That's what I've noticed over the last two or three years; I've been able to sit with different mixologists and they're excited because they have this new liquid that they're challenged with and they're probably not used to making whisky cocktails [with grain whisky]. Now they can with this Scotch.
How do you drink yours?
I do like drinking it neat – I love the smoothness, and it has that rich kind of feel. I like to drink it many different ways, to be honest. Responsibly, of course…
We were a family from the East End of London, coming up to the West End, and if we were lucky, we would be able to walk through Selfridges - it was a special thing to do.
The big day is coming up, and as a father of four, we'd like to know: what's your perfect Father's Day?
Waking up with the kids, cooking them breakfast – they all have different things: Romeo eats wholegrain toast with avocado crushed on top; Harper likes that as well, and she likes eggs so either she has a boiled egg or scrambled eggs; Cruz: he's more of a banana and Nutella fan – which is him all over; Brooklyn eats toast and avocado but he loves the Nutella, too; Victoria's the same as Romeo – she loves the toast and avocado. I love porridge with blueberries and blackberries and a little bit of honey. I've cut sugar out. So that's how I'd start the morning. I'd then take my dad out for lunch, and then maybe the kids can take me out for dinner – an early, easy dinner, fish and chips somewhere, just because the kids have got school the next day.
What do you think your kids will buy you for Father's Day?
Usually they buy me a pair of socks; something simple, something that you always need – socks and underwear. Maybe a beanie! They'd maybe buy me something for my whisky cabinet – we moved into a new house and I have this amazing whisky room and cabinet, so perhaps they'd buy me a nice decanter or set of glasses.
So what makes a man stylish, in your opinion?
It's always important that a man takes care of himself; in the way he presents himself – but not too much. Not someone that really overdoes it. If you're wearing a nice suit, it's how you hold yourself, without overthinking what you're going to wear. I always get whatever I'm wearing the next day out the night before – but that's because I'm organised, not because I'm thinking how I want to look.
Someone that's polite, who has good manners, who opens doors for ladies and anyone in general, and who's not afraid of being that person – I think that's a nice quality to have. I was brought up that way by my parents, and I've done the same with my kids.
Remarkably, when we're at a table, if Victoria gets up to go to the toilet, the kids will stand up for her – when I give them a little bit of an elbow! I was brought up like that, so it's important that they are.
What's your first memory of Selfridges?
My mum and my gran used to take me to Selfridges; it was always one of those treats on a Saturday morning. We were a family from the East End of London, coming up to the West End, and if we were lucky, we would be able to walk through Selfridges, and I always saw it as a special thing to do. We couldn't afford to go in and buy a lot of the things, and that's what makes it special. Those moments really stick in my memory.
Selfridges is about an experience: when you are going to buy a suit or a pair of shoes, or have a coffee, or an ice cream, or have your make-up done, it's all about an experience – and that's what Selfridges has always been about, even more so now. Even if you don't want to buy anything, even if you just want to experience being in there, it's a great place.