Skip to main content

We tasted The Last of Us Part II’s apocalyptic new whisky

Just before this year’s Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, The Last of Us Part II developer Naughty Dog brought a group of fans, press, and staff to a small bar for a special event to celebrate the franchise’s latest release. This wasn’t The Last of Us Part I, which came out the next day; instead, they were there to debut a new whisky inspired by Part II called Moth & Wolf.

The event was held at Quinn’s Pub in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Its schedule featured a guided tasting of the new whisky, an appearance by Naughty Dog co-president and TLOU co-writer Neil Druckmann, and an acoustic set of six original songs by Troy Baker, the actor who voices Joel. While the whisky was the star of the show, the event itself also served as a somber goodbye for Baker, who officially closed out his time with TLOU.

Related Videos

Taste the apocalypse

Moth & Wolf is the latest product from the Digital Spirits project by Chivas Brothers, which is arguably best-known for its eponymous blended whisky Chivas Regal. Digital Spirits’ aim, according to Chivas’ Kevin Balmforth, is to “get closer to what fans are passionate about,” by making spirits that are influenced by modern forms of entertainment like video games. Balmforth is the master brewer at the distillery that created Moth & Wolf, and describes himself as having been a “big gamer” even before coming aboard the collaboration, which has been nearly two years in the making.

“I played The Last of Us all the way through,” Balmforth tells Digital Trends. “I’m a big fan. This was a real collaboration between us and Naughty Dog. We worked on a lot of concepts, to see what would work for the [whisky’s] packaging and the liquid itself, how the flavors would work.”

A bottle of whiskey inspired by The Last of Us sits on a table.

Moth & Wolf is a nine-year-old blended Scotch whisky, 48% ABV, made by Balmforth and his team at their distillery in Scotland. It features high notes of honey, fruit, and vanilla, with a slow, smoky aftertaste. According to Balmforth, the relative subtlety of the smoky flavors in Moth & Wolf is meant to mimic the feeling he had when he first saw Haven burn in The Last of Us Part 2. The design of Moth & Wolf’s bottle is meant to be similarly reminiscent of the game, with several subtle shout-outs to TLOU2‘s ruined Seattle hinted at in the fine details of the label.

Drinking songs

After the tasting, guided by Balmforth, Neil Druckmann took the stage to introduce Troy Baker, which also marked the point at which the mood of the event shifted downward, from upbeat to somber.

“During the pandemic,” Baker said onstage, “I found myself with an abundance of time and a deficiency of places in which to spend it.” He reacted by writing a number of songs, some of which he felt were more Joel’s than his, due to the “10 years and 10 million stories” he’d spent with Druckmann working on the character.

He proceeded to perform six of those songs, as a “good way to say goodbye” to Joel, joking that he was officially turning over the reins of the character to Pedro Pascal.

Troy Baker and Neil Druckmann signing posters at the Moth & Wolf tasting event.

Naughty Dog didn’t allow visitors to photograph or record Baker during the concert, which may or may not be aired via some official channel or another at a later date. Of Baker’s songs, the second was specifically about who Baker imagined Joel was before TLOU‘s fungal outbreak, in the days when he was simply a father and a construction worker. The third was faster-paced, about a man who discovers the Devil himself, “an old drinkin’ buddy of mine,” is scared to death of Joel. The sixth song, and the shortest, was a lullaby that Baker imagines Joel sang to his daughter Sarah when she was young.

The way the overall event left off, it’s hard not to describe its final vibe as a sort of metafictional wake for Baker’s time playing Joel.  If that’s the case, at least we got a good round of drinks to help see the voice actor off.

Moth & Wolf will be made available for pre-order via the official Digital Spirits website at an unspecified future date. Its price has not been announced, but Digital Spirits’ previous whisky, Topher Brophy’s Barrelhound, is listed on its website at $45 per bottle.

Editors' Recommendations

The Last of Us Part I is exciting, but not for the reason you think
Ellie and Riley look at each other in The Last of Us Part 1's version of Left Behind.

The Last of Us Part I, Naughty Dog's from-the-ground-up rebuild of the PS3 classic, might initially sound like one of the most unnecessary remakes ever because a fairly modern remaster of the game is available for PS4 and backward compatible with the PS5. But this remake does have some important merits that go far beyond its noticeable, but not overwhelmingly impressive visual upgrade. Namely, The Last of Us Part 1 is shaping up to be more approachable and accessible to all types of players. 
A PlayStation Blog post that followed the game's Summer Game Fest debut proclaimed that Naughty Dog "modernized gameplay, improved controls, and expanded accessibility options." Although the remake might seem unnecessary for a lot of players, those improvements will help ensure that more people than ever can experience an all-time classic for the first time. 
Approachable and accessible 
As the accessibility focused website Can I Play That? pointed out in an editorial when the remake's existence first leaked, one of the best potential aspects of a The Last of Us remake is that it would make the classic accessible to more people than ever before. 
"But I’m thinking that this could be an incredible opportunity for Naughty Dog to remake the original game while carrying the accessibility features in The Last of Us Part 2 over," Ben Bayliss wrote. "That way, disabled players who were excluded from enjoying the original game, due to it being inaccessible, will be able to experience it without those concerns of it being unplayable."
The Last of Us is a truly fantastic experience, and we agree that it's only a good thing if more people than ever can play and connect with one of the best games of the last decade. The Last of Us Part I can expand upon the great visual, auditory, and gameplay-focused accessibility options from The Last of Us Part II, enabling disabled people to enjoy its predecessor in a way that was simply impossible with the 2013 original. 
For example, a high-contrast display mode renders the game in a way that makes it easier for people with visual impairments to make out what objects are. Traversal and combat audio cues and highly customizable subtitles ensure that Deaf people can still have a clear idea of everything that's happening in the game. Players could even customize how much damage they take, how aware enemies are during stealth, how scarce or common resources are, and more to make the game as easy or as tough as they needed it to be. 
Giving players the tools to make these tweaks means the whole experience will be easier to digest for players of all skill levels. These changes will redefine The Last of Us' experience more than any story and narrative changes will. If The Last Us Part I follows through with these changes, then it can show developers that accessibility options are just as, if not even more, important than vast visual changes in remakes of more modern games.
The most important changes
The Last of Us' story is so well done that the remake doesn't really need to change or expand upon it much to still be amazing. The visuals were also already great on PS3 and PS4, so the remake's glow-up isn't as impressive as something like Final Fantasy VII Remake. Because of that, The Last of Us is an odd game to remake, but will also make it a great case study that shows how adding accessibility options benefits remakes. 
Normally, remasters and remakes are judged on how significant the visual improvements are. But we're now at the point that PS3 and PS4 games that already looked great are being remade, and visual changes aren't as awe-inspiring as they once were when leaps in power between console generations were more significant. As such, more focus will be put on their gameplay tweaks.

This isn't a completely foreign concept for video game remasters and remakes. Many difficult retro games get rewind or save state features when rereleased on modern systems. These are accessibility options that ensure more people can experience the classics. The more in-depth visual, auditory, and difficulty-focused The Last of Us Part II accessibility options that we want to see in The Last of Us Part I are simply a more thorough version of this. 
Many games from the PS3 and PS4 generations lack helpful accessibility options. It's an extremely beneficial area to improve in, so it's something developers should be paying attention to as they remake games from those generations.  Accessibility options will always be something that expand the reach of a video game's audience and enable more people to enjoy fantastic games. As such, The Last of Us Part I provides the game industry with a moment to rethink what remaking games really means.
The Last of Us Part I will be released for PS5 on September 2.

Read more
Last of Us Part I coming in September, multiplayer spinoff in development
the last of us part 1 tlou1

Sony has officially announced The Last of Us Part I, a remake of 2013's The Last of Us for PS3. The game launches on September 2 for PlayStation 5 and it is in development for PC. The game's existence was leaked via the PlayStation Direct store earlier today, though the listing didn't spoil that a new standalone Last of Us multiplayer game is in the works.

According to the Naughty Dog's blog post, The Last of Us Part I is a complete overhaul of the original game that has modernized gameplay mechanics, including controls and combat as well as accessibility options. The remake uses the PS3's original performances but with improved graphical details and effects.

Read more
The Last of Us Part 2’s free PS5 upgrade is available right now
The Last of Us 2 Ellie Gun

A free performance patch for The Last of Us Part 2 that upgrades the game for the PlayStation 5 is available now. The update primarily brings frame rate enhancements to the game.

The Last of Us Part 2 launched just a few months before the PS5's release. Considering it was 2020's biggest release, a next-gen patch seemed imminent. Sony has now surprise launched the anticipated update, Patch 1.08, wand it is available right now.

Read more