Bringing together whisky and good friends

WhiskyBrother – Joburg’s First Speciality Whisky Store

WhiskyBrother in Hyde Park shopping centre When I started my whisky journey a few years back my first contact with a South African whisky guru was with WhiskyBrother a.k.a. Marc Pendlebury. His sheer passion and willingness to teach me about – and expose me to – whisky was a fantastic stepping stone on my whisky journey.

Our first face-to-face meeting was on a flight down to the Cape to attend the 125th anniversary of the James Sedgwick Distillery and the entire flight there and back was spent talking whisky. I must have learned more in those four hours with Marc than I had in the previous month on my own. He’s just that kind of guy: a lover of whisky that derives as much enjoyment out of sharing and educating others as he does in drinking the stuff.

Marc has now taken his passion a bold step forward with the opening of WhiskyBrother, the first speciality whisky store in Johannesburg, located in Hyde Park Corner shopping centre. This is no ordinary bottle store. What we have here is a whisky mecca.

The attention to detail in the store design alone is brilliant – from the raw oak staves on the wall at the rear of the shop, to the polished copper front of the sales desk, to the canvas distillery prints on the walls of photos that Marc himself took on a trip to Islay. Clever use of empty whisky bottles to create a lighting feature and the presence of whisky casks on the store floor lend a great air of authenticity to the space.

WhiskyBrother owner, manager and storekeeper - Marc Pendlebury
Whisky bottle lighting at the sales desk There is even an intimate little nook under the staircase with comfortable seating where visitors to the store can sit and have a dram with Marc or leaf through one of the several whisky books available for sale, brushing up on their whisky knowledge. Marc will be hosting tasting sessions on some evenings too, where folks passionate about whisky can get together, sample some new whiskies and make new friends.

Marc has even more plans to bring whisky and people together, but more about that in the future.

As for the whiskies available… Wow!

Glenmorangie Pride plus other great whiskies

WhiskyBrother is the only retail store in South Africa that has a bottle of Glenmorangie Pride 1981 for sale – a thing of beauty!

And then when you start looking through the shelves more and more fantastic whiskies spring out at you. The new Compass Box Flaming Heart 2012 Edition? Got it. The Macallan 25 Year Old? Got that too.

How about some of the Kilchoman whiskies from Islay that people are raving about? Well, Marc has three different expressions available. In addition to that, he has hand-selected a Kilchoman cask while visiting the distillery. The whisky will be presented in the usual Kilchoman packaging but will say “selected by WhiskyBrother”.

A single cask, cask strength whisky from Islay’s newest distillery. Magic!! Get your pre-orders in now 🙂

Compass Box Flaming Heart on WhiskyBrother shelves

Springbank and Kilchoman range on offer

The list goes on and on. At the media launch there were roughly 70 different whiskies on the shelves. This represents around 20% of the stock that will be available in the WhiskyBrother store. That means we’re looking at having a whisky shop in Joburg with over 350 different whisky expressions for sale. That’s insane!

And the person that you will be dealing with in the shop is not some minimum wage, uninterested and generally incompetent employee…

When visiting the shop you will be dealing with a prominent member of the international whisky community who has his finger on the pulse of the whisky industry, is a great educator and presenter and all round good guy.

I guarantee that when you leave the shop with your whisky purchase in hand you’ll not only leave the store with a fantastic whisky, but have enjoyed a full-blown whisky experience where you will have learned a little bit more about whisky and have fallen in love a little more too with this great spirit.

Shackleton whisky on display

Does this all sound a little bit biased? Well it will. Marc is a good friend and worthy of your support. Head on over to his store in Hyde Park and then you too will know what I’m talking about.

Sláinte!

5 Comments

  1. November 30, 2012    

    This is truly exciting. Cannot wait to visit

    • Mark Mark
      November 30, 2012    

      You and me both Claudine! I’ve got a long list of “to buy”s already! Whiskies, books, etc, etc

  2. November 30, 2012    

    Oh wow Mark! You are WAY too kind 🙂 Thank you, thank you, thank you for your very generous words. That fact you like the store and are willing to say nice things, means that it has already accomplished part of its goal: a whisky store for enthusiasts, by an enthusiast! I look forward sharing many drams with you, and your readers, in the store over the next 20+ years. To good health my friend, slainte!

    • Mark Mark
      November 30, 2012    

      My pleasure Marc. I give credit where credit is due. Anticipation is building!

  3. Hardy Hardy
    December 1, 2012    

    Sooner it’s also available online the better, for those poor folks like me who live in the Cape. Best of luck!

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