JONAS TÅHLIN IS LITERALLY LIVING THE BRAND
Jonas has really made a name for himself in the vodka world in recent years. He lives together with his wife in a wonderful home in Los Angeles called Elyx House, named after the super premium vodka brand he has successfully built since its release in 2011. But not only has he built the brand from scratch, he is also making sure the term 'living the brand' is taken quite literally.
WHAT DOES ABSOLUT ELYX MEAN TO YOU?
It means everything for me – both professionally and personally. Because ever since I started working for Absolut in 2006, I wanted to make a more exclusive and artisanal vodka. I pitched the idea to the management and got the go ahead we needed. After a while Krister Asplund – the Master Distiller at the time – started exploring a few ideas he had in mind. He finally decided to dust off our old copper still that hadn’t been used in decades, just to see what it could bring in terms of taste and quality. As it turned out, Krister was right. That old copper still was just what we needed to make a vodka with a smooth taste and with a quality that outshined the competition. The only problem was that nobody knew anything about it yet.
THEN YOU DECIDED TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY?
Yes we did. Firstly, instead of seeing it as just a regular new addition to our portfolio, we set up an entirely new company for Absolut Elyx, based in New York. I volunteered to become the company’s CEO and left my job in Stockholm to see if I could make it as an entrepreneur.
Another idea we had was that the first apartment I had in New York would not only act as my home. It also became a place where we would have parties for the most important people in the city – all in Absolut Elyx’s name. The media described it as a playground for celebrities, influencers and the elite, which was exactly what we wanted it to feel like. Our goal was to make Elyx really became part of the culture in New York City. Once that was achieved, we moved to Los Angeles to continue the journey and – long story short – that’s why me and my wife lives in The Elyx House in Hollywood Hills today.
SO YOU’RE LITERALLY LIVING THE BRAND?
Yes! But the house is divided into three separate areas. One is for parties and representation of course, another one is for our office and the third one is where we live.
I know some people might think it’s hard to find a work-life balance with that setup, but for me it’s not so much about balance. I’ve always been very social and love meeting new and interesting people, so it’s more of an overlap than two separate attitudes or roles that I need to find a balance between. And the bartenders know that a ‘wink-wink martini’ means I want a glass of water!
DO YOU FEEL AT HOME IN THE ELYX HOUSE?
Overall, I do. But living so close to work makes it difficult sometimes to really feel at home. I can’t complain though – it’s a wonderful home and we’re so lucky to be able to enjoy this lifestyle. And most importantly, our guests feel at home there. Even Jay Z and Beyoncé, who was dancing on our sofa when they visited a while ago!
Haha, maybe that’s confidential, but my point is that in a house like the Elyx House, people get really comfortable. They let their shoulders down and act like they would at a friend’s home – which is often completely different from what they would do in a night club – and exactly what we wanted to achieve.
WHAT’S YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT SINCE STARTING ABSOLUT ELYX?
Well, this is the hardest job I’ve ever had. I took a huge risk in leaving Stockholm and starting something entirely new in an entirely different continent. So, the fact that I managed to build something from scratch makes me very proud.
But it’s also really special when all that hard work manifest itself in a concrete way. Just to give you an idea: A while ago, I was in a very famous hotel called Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. I was standing in the bar waiting to order drinks and right in front of me was this very tall and elegant woman who’s already speaking to the bartender. I happened to hear that she was asking for an Elyx Martini. Naturally, that made me very proud, but when I realized that the woman in front of me was Cate Blanchet, I got goose bumps. That really told me we must be doing something right here.
Jonas’ work and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2018, he was appointed Chief Marketing Officer Sprits for Pernod Ricard USA, while continuing his role as the CEO of Absolut Elyx.
Please visit the Absolut Elyx homepage for more information about the super premium vodka.
For the sough-after Elyx copper collection of bar tools, drinking vessels and even clothing, please visit the Elyx Boutique.