Bringing together whisky and good friends

2014 FNB Whisky Live SA Preview

It’s that time of year again folks! Yup, the 12th FNB Whisky Live Festival is about to roll into Johannesburg and take up residence at the Sandton Convention Centre for another 3 days from 12-14 November.

2014 FNB Whisky Live

What can you expect at Whisky Live this year?

As usual, there is plenty on the go from workshops to private tastings and more. Some things to watch out for include:

  • The 2014 edition of John Walker & Sons Private Collection will be showcased at the festival
  • Ian MacMillan and Pierre Meintjes will be on hand to walk you through the Bunnahabhain range and their new release, Eirigh na Greine (pronounced Ae-ree ne gray-nyuh) which is Gaelic for “Morning Sky”, matured in red wine casks
  • Dominic Walsh, Monkey Shoulder’s ambassador, will show off the versatility of Monkey Shoulder with the option of trying it neat or in an impressive whisky cocktail. To make good cocktails you need a good whisky and Monkey Shoulder certainly fits the bill
  • Wild About Whisky legend Steve Adams will be pouring some new-to-SA whiskies in the form of Tullibardine, Tamdhu, Tomatin and Smokehead.
  • Some great expressions from Balblair’s Vintage single malt whiskies will be explored with Stuart Harvey, Master Blender for Inver House Distillers (Balblair, AnCnoc, Old Pulteney and others).
  • And a SA whisky show would not be complete without our very own Andy Watts – master distiller at the James Sedgwick Distillery (home of Three Ships and Bain’s) – who will share the soon-to-be-released 2015 Three Ships 10yo single malt and some divine work-in-progress samples straight from the distillery

For more details, head on over to the FNB Whisky Live website.

2013 WLF Independent Bottlers' Challenge Line Up


Having tasted pretty much every whisky on offer at the festival this year I am always looking for the under-the-counter bottles the distillers and brand ambassadors have with them. Something new. And I always head on over to the World Whisky Awards and Independent Bottlers’ Challenge stands as you are pretty much guaranteed that you won’t see any of their whiskies on local shelves any time soon. And this year is going to be a cracker!

I’ve got my hands on the full listing from the folks at Whisky Live after hacking into their mail server and pulling down all the top secret whisky files. Ok, not true. All I had to do was ask and they kindly sent it to me and now I get to share it with you – the whisky lover.

IBC Stand at last year's Whisky Live Festival

Your Complete Whisky Live SA WWA & IBC Whisky List

Once you’ve gone through the list, go through it again… and again. Did you see the Speyside 50yo from Master of Malt? How about the Malts of Scotland North British grain whisky? And the Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney (sounds like my kind of whisky!!)? Or maybe the SLYRS Sherry Edition from Germany tickles your fancy? You see what I mean? PLENTY of cool whiskies to try if you’ve already tasted all the standard ranges available in SA.

Let’s dive right in…

Independent Bottlers’ Challenge

Brand Expression ABV
Malts of Scotland Laphroaig 58.20%
Malts of Scotland Images of Islay 53.20%
Malts of Scotland Highland Park 47.80%
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Benrinnes 49.50%
Darkness Aged 18 52.70%
Darkness Aged 22 57.80%
Single malts of Scotland Longman Distillery 49.70%
Master of Malt Deanston 19 YO 58%
Master of Malt Speyside 50 YO 43%
Master of Malt Arran 17 YO 53.60%
Dramboree 2014 58.80%
Signatory Vintage Cambus 1991 53.80%
Signatory Vintage Auchroisk 1990 61.50%
SMWS 26.101 59.30%
SMWS 7.1 58.70%
SMWS 2.85 61.40%
The octave Miltonduff 55.60%
The Octave Strathclyde 54.30%
Darkness Aged 15 52.90%
Malts of Scotland Caol Ila 47.20%
Wemyss Malts Campletown 1991 46%
Wemyss Malts Lemon Zest 46%
Wemyss Malts Loch Indaal Catch 1982 46%
SMWS 21.28 48.10%
SMWS 36.77 59.10%
SMWS 72.3 49.90%
The Tweedale Lowland grain scotch 16YO 46%
The Tweedale Lowland grain scotch 14 YO 46
Wemyss Malts Pasille Bouquet 46%
Benmon Blue 42.80%
Speyside 16 YO Linkwood-Glenlivet 48%
Signatory Vintage Auchentoshan 1997 46%
Wemyss Malts Speyside 46%
Granmon rare 42.80%
Stronachie Small Batch Release 43%
Tasmanian Heartwood Convict Redemption 71.90%
The Clan Denny Invergordon 53.60%
Moonstag Grain Whisky 42.80%
Malts of Scotland North British 55.80%
Malts of Scotland Strathmore 43.80%
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Highland Park 46%
Biostar Royal Blend 42.80%
The Golden Cask Invergordon 55.80%
Mackillops Choice Tormore 1988 47.80%
The Pearls Ben Nevis 51.80%
Mackillops Choice Highland Park 1985 51.60%
The Golden Cask Caol Ila 56%
The Pearls Invergordon 43.40%
The Pearls North of Scotland 43.30%
The Golden Cask Bunnahabain 44%
Douglas Auchentoshan 11 YO 46%
Dimensions Tormore 24YO 53.60%
Celtic Cask 2000 Tri 46%
Celtic Cask 1991 Cuig 46%
Celtic Cask 1991 Se 46%
That Boutique-y Whisky Company Invergordon 58.30%
Celtic Cask 2001 4 46%

World Whisky Awards

Brand Expression ABV
SLYRS Sherry Edition 46%
Stauning Young Rye 51.20%
The King Of Scots Rare & extra old 43%
Wemyss Malts Peat Chimney 40%
Wisers Legacy 45%
The Irishman Superior Irish Whiskey 40%
Koval Bourbon 47%
Rock Town Distillery 45%
Grand Royal Special Reserve 43%
Wild Turkey American Honey 35.50%
Glen Moray 12YO 40%
Cedar Ridge Bourbon 40%
Wisers Spiced 43%
Wisers Delux 40%
JP Wisers Rye 40%
Bushmills Irish Honey 35%
Rogue Ales 40%
Sons of Liberty Winter Release 40%
Connemara Peated single malt 40%
Ledaig 10YO 46.30%
Caribou Crossing Single Barrel 40%
The wild geese Single Malt 43%
The Arran Malt 12YO 53.90%
Amorik Double Maturation 46%
P & M Corsican Whisky 49%
Tullamore Dew 10YO 40%
Mackmyra Privus 04 55%
Pike Creek Pike Creek Vintage 40%
SLYRS Single Malt Whisky 43%
Millstones PX Cask 46%
Boxes Blend 40.90%
Something Special Blended 40%
Kavalan Port Cask finish 40%
Kavalan Single Malt 40%
Forty Creek Barrel Select 40%
Old Master G 40%
The Tunbridge Wells Maple Whisky Liqueur 29.90%
Kornog 57.80%
Forty Creek Copper Pot 43%
Dewar’s White Label 40%
Scottish Leader 12YO 40%
Poit Dhubh 21 YO 43%
Moment 6 40%
Penderyn 41 Madeira 41%
Gaelic Whisky Te Bheag 40%
JP Wiser’s Spiced 43%
Master of Malt 8YO 40%
William Lawson 40%

Please note: These whiskies were correct – as provided – at time of publishing, they may have changed since or may not be available at the festival. Some of the names are incomplete, but that just serves to arouse more curiosity don’t you think? Here’s hoping you get to try a few of them.

So many whiskies and such little time…

Be sure to drop a comment below and let me know which of the whiskies above you have set your sights on. I’m always interested in finding out what my readers like in their glass, and why.

Please be aware: there is literally one bottle of each of the whiskies listed above, and I can’t tell you which whiskies will be available on any given night. The organizers have got to stretch the supply out across all three nights, so don’t take too long to get over to the WWA and IBC stands for a tasting. You have been warned!

I look forward to seeing you all there. I’ll be wandering the floors – just look for the tall handsome chap with a big grin on his face and a dram in his hand.


1 Comment

  1. Jeannette Jeannette
    October 24, 2014    

    O boy, I will probably get stuck at the Independent Bottlers’ Challenge stand and John at the World Whisky Awards. I just see the Wemyss and I stop right there. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.