Bringing together whisky and good friends

SA’s First Online Whisky Tasting

I’ve threatened a few times over the past couple of years to host an online whisky tasting, but haven’t organised one yet. So the honour of hosting SA’s first online whisky tasting (held on Twitter using the #WBOT hashtag) goes to WhiskyBrother, who hosted South Africa’s inaugural tasting on the evening of 16th April 2014.

WhiskyBrother #WBOT Online Tasting

Marc Pendlebury, owner of WhiskyBrother and the one of the most avid whisky lovers in the country, took the initiative and put together a great line-up of whiskies for the evening’s tasting.

For those not familiar with the concept of an online tasting, the premise is simple. The host kicks off the tasting with an overview of the night’s drams, and then the first whisky is introduced with some facts and figures and then it’s a free-for-all, with members of the tasting panel providing their impressions and insights into the whisky being tasted. Usually one progresses from nose, to palate, to finish, to conclusion, per whisky. A fast paced, fun-filled evening ensues with hundreds of tweets flying back and forth with new whisky friendships being forged and lots more observing the proceedings on their timelines.

The #WBOT Sample Pack

The great thing about these tastings is that each is vastly different to the other. Obviously because the whiskies being tasted vary, but more so because the participants come from all walks of life and range in whisky knowledge from the complete novice to the seasoned connoisseur/geek.

#WBOT Tasters

1. WhiskyBrother (@WhiskyBroShop) 2. Gareth (@WhiskyGeekSA)
3. Edward (@TheSmokyDram) 4. Jacques (@jndub)
5. John and Jeanette (@whiskyoftheweek) 6. Kojo (@kojobaffoe)
7. Amanda (@AmandaSevasti) 8. Offy (@Fenyi)
9. Nic (@ncallegari) 10. Bruce (@thedramdog)

And then of course, me (@fr1day).

#WBOT Samples Unboxed

Online Whisky Tasting Line-Up

WhiskyBrother hand packed the samples for the evening’s tasting and even threw in an extra “mystery” dram for us to sample and savour in our own time. He’s a thoughtful lad don’t you think? Before I dive into the whiskies tasted, let me just tell you that these whiskies are all available at the WhiskyBrother shop in Hyde Park Shopping Centre in Johannesburg. And coincidentally (or maybe not?), all three are from south-west Scotland, albeit from different regions.

WhiskyBrother Online Tasting Lineup

I’ll provide a brief intro for each whisky, and then share some of the tweets from the tasting panel to give you an idea of their impressions on the evening. Enjoy!

Kilkerran Work-In-Progress 4

Kilkerran Work-in-Progress 4 Kilkerran is produced at the Glengyle distillery in Campbeltown. Their Work-in-Progress series allows you to follow their Single Malt as it matures from 5 years old towards it full release age of 12 year old.This – the 4th release – was launched in 2012 and only 9,000 bottles were produced.

Arran Port Cask

Arran Port Cask Finish The Arran Distillery in Lochranza on the Isle of Arran is a relatively young distillery, having only fired up its stills in 1995 for the first time. Arran has three different expressions in their cask finish range. The Port Finish has been matured in ex-bourbon casks for around 8 years and then spends between 8-12 months in Port casks to “finish” it. Bottled at 50% abv, you may want to add a drop or 2 of water to this whisky.

Octomore 6.1

Bruichladdich's Octomore 6.1 When they say “the world’s most heavily peated malt”, the folks at Bruichladdich aren’t kidding! 5 years old, 57% abv and a phenol count of 167ppm. This is a monster of a whisky, but their is an elegance and complexity that are beguiling, elevating it from merely a “peat bomb” to something altogether more accomplished.


My favourite for the evening? Before we began I thought that the Octomore would win it by a country mile, and you know what? It did. Simply stunning in it’s balance between peat and sweet. Sure, you taste the peat and smokiness A LOT, but it never ends up being a one-dimensional dram.

Hats off to Marc for hosting a very enjoyable evening, tasting some great whiskies (all of which are available at the WhiskyBrother shop) along with some really cool folks. Just one question: when’s the next one!?! πŸ™‚

SlΓ inte!


  1. April 21, 2014    

    Great write-up Mark! Thank you for the kind words. We will definitely be conducting such an event again in future. Too much fun not to! πŸ™‚

  2. April 22, 2014    

    Nice write-up and good job to @WhiskyBrother for organising and innovating on the home front.

No Pings Yet

  1. SA's first Twitter Tasting #WBOT | on May 8, 2014 at 11:45 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *