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Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley

Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley

The Brother's Bond Bourbon Diaries

The Brother's Bond Bourbon Diaries

When speaking about friends, it’s typical for us to say, “This guy’s my buddy,” or “He’s my close friend.” It’s even better when you can say, “He’s like my brother. Our bond is bigger than both of us.”

To that point, we spent the better part of a day with beyond besties Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley in gorgeous Malibu, Calif. There was no shortage of snarky banter and hijinks as we traipsed through the rustic landscape and rocky creeks in Malibu Canyon, scaling terrain in the hopes of creating a memorable pictorial diary of the day.

Ian and Paul are a few years removed from working side-by-side for eight seasons on the television phenomena that was The Vampire Diaries. The series ended its run in 2017. They’ve since moved on individually to other entertainment projects, but the impact they made on each other has kept them together. Both are family-oriented men and activists with a similar world view.

Ian and Paul have established or worked for philanthropic groups for a number of years, and their efforts (individually and collectively) have impacted causes ranging from animal welfare, LGBT youth and climate change, to name a few.

Ian and Paul are as fun loving as any dynamic duo could be. Both have big hearts that inform their portfolio as award-winning actors, as well as their philanthropic endeavors.

They’ve stayed connected through it all, and have shared experiences beyond their Hollywood lives. Recently, they decided to showcase their friendship to the world with Brother’s Bond Bourbon.

It was a great excuse for all of us to talk cigars and bourbon.

By Randy Mastronicola

Portraits by John Russo

Give us a snapshot on how the brand was born from working together on The Vampire Diaries.

Paul: Yes. It was eight years. Too long. Way too long together.

Ian: We were together eight years on the show, then the last three years… We’ve been together 11 years. It’s my longest relationship.

Paul: That’s right. The only way to get through that is to drink a lot of bourbon. So we’re connoisseurs now.

Ian: Actually, tremendous amounts of bourbon. We were stars of this very successful show. What’s great about it was we bonded with bourbon on-screen. And off-screen, too. It was the only way we could…

Paul: Tolerate each other.

Ian: We felt like a natural fit.

Paul: We had been talking about doing a bourbon forever. Since the very existence of the show, and we just decided to make it come to fruition.

Ian: We knew it was going to take a lot of time. Honestly man, we’d spend 60 to 80 hours on the set, and then we flew home every weekend. My wife and I were going to be having a baby soon, so we said, “Let’s just do this because we need to put everything into it.” Lo and behold, we put everything into it. This is an all-day, everyday thing for us.

You guys know how to have your fun. What’s your most memorable drinking moment when you were going through the development process?

Paul: Ian, do you remember? We were in England, and we were in that crazy old haunted manor. We were smoking cigars and just hanging out. This was like a decade ago. Do you remember that, man?

Ian: Yes.

Paul: I remember that moment so vividly.

Ian: That was pretty special.

Paul: I think we were drinking bourbon.

Ian: We were.

Paul: Or some sort of a dark spirit.

Ian: That whole trip for us was something. Do you remember the time we went to that restaurant?

Paul: Yes. [laughs]

Ian: We drank literally 50-year cognac and smoked cigars, but we were drinking bourbon when we were walking around. It’s one of the oldest castles left in the UK that’s functioning. It was built in 1307, and there is some real energy there. It’s like you feel stuff. Paul and I had a bottle of bourbon, we had cigars and we walked around. It was really cold and misty. We were just talking and connecting, and we drank this bottle and we smoked, and it was one of the most memorable times in my life. I remember thinking, “This is our life. This is my brother. We’re talking about real stuff.”

You really could have developed any type of a spirits brand. Vodka, gin, etcetera. Why bourbon?

Ian: It’s what our characters drank in the historic fictional town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Paul: Which is in the South but we also–for my palate–I prefer bourbon.

Ian: I preferred bourbon, too. It’s like in our veins at this point.

Paul: Unfortunately for us, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it.

Ian: Definitely fortunately. It’s an amazing spirit. Look, you have this spirit that uses a lot of the practices of what they were doing back in the motherland, in Ireland and in Scotland, but using what the frontiersmen had, which is a ton of corn, wheat, barley and rye. You get this sweet nectar of a spirit, right?

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