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Whisky Live Festival SA 2016 – All The Info You Need

2016 Whisky Live Festival SA

My favourite time of the year has arrived! Yes folks, it’s whisky season, headlined by the Whisky Live Festival held at the Sandton Convention Centre from 9 – 11 November 2016. You can buy your tickets through TicketPros here.

Let’s dive straight into some of the highlights:

Meet Malt Masters

I’ve very glad to see that there is an increased presence of global whisky experts this year – from master distillers, to global brand ambassadors, to distillery founders! And there is also a great selection of whiskies, familiar and new to be tasted and enjoyed.

  • Africa’s only Master Distiller, the innovative Andy Watts whose master class includes a world’s first Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Finish Whisky.
  • Master of the Quaich, Pierre Meintjes, and listen to the story of Bunnahabhain; their traditional techniques and why Bunnahabhain won Distillery of the Year at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Charismatic Lukasz Dynowiak, Global Ambassador, sampling a range including Hankey Bannister 40 Year Old during his master class or the age old maritime malt, Old Pulteney.
  • Global Ambassador, John Quinn, presenting Tullamore DEW 15 Year Old at the stand and teaching master class ticketholders how to blend their own Tullamore DEW.
  • Brian Nation, Jameson’s Head Distiller and the man responsible for maintaining the quality and authenticity of Jameson whiskey from grain to glass will be manning the Jameson stand.
  • Stuart Nickerson, Founder & MD of The Malt Whisky Company, who has 35 years’ experience in the Scotch whisky industry having managed distilleries such as Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Highland Park and Glenrothes. He reopened the Glenglassaugh Distillery in 2008. Find him at the Whisky Academy stand.
  • Harry Tyler, Co-Founder of Wolfburn Distillery, is in SA and will be showcasing the new release to the Wolfburn core range, called “Aurora”.

Investment Grade Whiskies

Whisky is for drinking. There are, however, some bottles that make you think twice about opening them when you see their price tag. Don’t need to worry about putting your kids through school or varsity? Or perhaps you’ve won the lottery? Or maybe you just want to treat yourself for being an all-round great person! Check these beauties out at the festival:

Spend some time with Donald Colville, Global Brand Ambassador for Malts at Diageo, and discover the new Diageo 2016 Special Releases – 10 of which are available for purchase at Norman Goodfellows at the Festival.

The Brora 38 Year Old (R 27 999.95) and the Port Ellen 37 Year Old (R 46 999.95) are both the oldest Whiskies ever released by either of these mothballed distilleries, and are bound to be fantastic!

Diageo Special Releases 2016

The complete collection consists of:

  • Port Ellen 37 Year Old 1978 – 16th Release – 55.2% – 2,940 Bottles – R46,999.95
  • Brora 38 Year Old 1977 – 48.6% – 2,984 Bottles – R27,999,95
  • Mannochmore 25 Year Old 1990 – 53.4% – 3,954 Bottles – R16,399.95
  • Linkwood 37 Year Old 1978 – 50.3% – 6,114 Bottles – R11,499.95
  • Cragganmore Limited Release – 55.7% – 4,932 Bottles – R7,499.95
  • Glenkinchie 24 Year Old 1991 – 57.2% – 5,928 Bottles – R5,699.95
  • Auchroisk 25 Year Old 1990 – 51.2% – 3,954 Bottles – R5,499.95
  • Caol Ila 15 Year Old 2000 Unpeated – 61.5% – R1,699.95
  • Lagavulin 12 Year Old 200th Anniversary – 57.7% – R1,499.95

The only one we don’t seem to be getting in SA is the Cambus 40 Year Old 1975 – 52.7% – 1,812 Bottles.

Catch George S. Grant, the 6th generation of the family-owned and run Glenfarclas distillery, at the Whisky Academy stand while you stare longingly at the Glenfarclas 60 Year Old which will be on display. Want to take it home? It’s yours for a paltry R 360 000.

Macallan is represented too in the form of the Macallan Decanter Series, including the Rare Cask, Reflexion (R11 999.00), No. 6 (R 42 400.00) and M Decanter (R 49 999.00) will also be on sale.

New Whiskies To Taste At Whisky Live

Wolfburn is one of my favourite new distilleries – these lads are well on their way to developing a cult following like the Kilchoman team. Wolfburn’s second core expression “Aurora”, debuts on the South African market at the Festival and Wolfburn’s co-founder Harry Tyler will be on hand for a chat and can sign your bottle on Wednesday or Thursday night if you’re keen.

Not really new – more of a relaunch – the Macallan Fine Oak 12yo and 15yo will be available for tasting at the Macallan stand.

Spend some time with Thami Banda and get some insight into Glenfiddich’s two new Experimental Series whiskies – the IPA and Project XX.

One of the whiskies I’m keen on trying is the The Glenlivet’s new expression, The Cipher. Brand Ambassador Peter Methven will unpack the secrets of this dram in The Cipher Room at the stand.

Let’s not overlook the blends! There’s also a new exclusive, limited-release addition to the Scottish Leader collection on offer.

Whisky Live Festival Workshops And Master Classes

A definite must-do if you’re attending the festival! Buy your tickets to one or more of the 18 masterclasses on offer. The cost of the whiskies you’ll taste in the masterclass are more than the price of the ticket, but more importantly, you will gain a lot more understanding of what is in your glass. The more you understand about something, the more you can appreciate it – and that is very, very true in this instance!

Take note, master classes run side-by-side in Committee Rooms 4 and 5, so make sure you check the times and work out which days to book if you plan on attending more than 1 class.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 Whisky Live Master Classes

Master class with Andy Watts

South African Whisky – Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
Wed 9 Nov | 18h00 – 19h00 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Andy Watts, Master Distiller
Book your place
In the world of whisky innovation, South Africa is currently at the forefront. Join Africa’s only master distiller Andy Watts, named Rest of the World Master Distiller at Whisky Magazine’s 2016 Icons of Whisky Awards, as he takes you on a journey to taste a World’s First Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Finish Whisky, a sneak preview of the Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt Vintage 2006 to only be released next year, a taste of the sold-out Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt Vintage 2005 launched a few months ago, the World’s Best Grain Whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky, Three Ships 5 Year Old Premium Select as awarded at the World Whiskies Awards held in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Master class with Lukasz Dynowiak

Hankey Bannister
Wed 9 Nov | 18h15 – 19h15 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | Lukasz Dynowiak, Global Brand Ambassador
Book your place

A fine blend is more than the sum of its parts. Discover the heritage behind one of the legendary blends that shaped what Scotch whisky is today and journey through a dazzling range of flavour compositions and ages – from young and fresh to old, lush and incredibly elegant.
Variants to be covered:
-Hankey Bannister Original
-Hankey Bannister 12 YO
-Hankey Bannister 21 YO
-Hankey Bannister Heritage
-Hankey Bannister 40 YO

Master class with Macallan

The Macallan – The Wood Journey
Wed 9 Nov | 19h30 – 20h30 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Nkululeko Maseko / Edgar Mntungwa, Brand Ambassadors
Book your place

This journey takes the guest on an insightful meander into how The Macallan sources its precious sherry casks and the intense passion and dedication to this central task in crating whisky flavour and character.

Variants to be covered:
-The Macallan 12 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan 15 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan 18 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan Rare Cask

Master class with John Quinn

Tullamore DEW – Whisky – Deconstructed and straight from casks
Wed 9 Nov | 19h45 – 20h45 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | John Quinn, Global Ambassador
Book your place

John Will bring along some whiskeys straight from the cask, the whiskeys used to create the world renowned Tullamore DEW blend and will offer an opportunity to blend your own. He will also bring along some small batch whiskeys not available in the local RSA market
Variants to be covered:
-Tullamore DEW Original
-Tullamore DEW Single Malt
-Tullamore DEW Single Pot Still
-Tullmore DEW Single Grain
-Tullamore DEW 14 YO Single Malt
-Tullamore DEW 12 YO Special

Master class with Mark Backhouse

The House of Single Malts – Strathisla, Longmorn and Aberlour
Wed 9 Nov | 21h00 – 22h00 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Mark Backhouse, Head of Brand Education
Book your place

Welcome to the world of artisanal whiskies which includes the most internationally awarded single malt whisky of all time, every distiller’s second favourite single malt and the single malt from the oldest working distillery in Scotland today.

Variants to be covered:
-Strathisla 12 YO
-Longmorn 16 YO
-Aberlour 12 YO
-Aberlour 12 YO Cask Strength
-Aberlour 16 YO
-Aberlour 18 YO

Master class with Thami Banda

The Glenfiddich Experimental Series
Wed 9 Nov | 21h15 – 22h15 | Thamsanqa Banda, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador
Book your place

Discover the latest innovation from Glenfiddich – The Experimental Series: The World’s Most Awarded Single Malt brings you a range of Ground-Breaking Malt whiskies born from collaboration.

Variants to be covered:
-The Glenfiddich IPA
-The Glenfiddich Project XX

Thursday, 10 November 2016 Whisky Live Master Classes

Master class with Mark Backhouse

The House of Single Malts – Strathisla, Longmorn and Aberlour
Thurs 10 Nov | 18h00 – 19h00 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Mark Backhouse, Head of Brand Education
Book your place

Welcome to the world of artisanal whiskies which includes the most internationally awarded single malt whisky of all time, every distiller’s second favourite single malt and the single malt from the oldest working distillery in Scotland today.

Variants to be covered:
-Strathisla 12 YO
-Longmorn 16 YO
-Aberlour 12 YO
-Aberlour 12 YO Cask Strength
-Aberlour 16 YO
-Aberlour 18 YO

Master class with Thami Banda

The Glenfiddich Experimental Series
Thurs 10 Nov | 18h15 – 19h15 | Thamsanqa Banda, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador
Book your place

Discover the latest innovation from Glenfiddich – The Experimental Series: The World’s Most Awarded Single Malt brings you a range of Ground-Breaking Malt whiskies born from collaboration.

Variants to be covered:
-The Glenfiddich IPA
-The Glenfiddich Project XX

Master class with Pierre Meintjes

Bunnahabhain
Thurs 10 Nov | 19h30 – 20h30 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Pierre Meintjes, Master of the Quaich
Book your place

None other than South Africa’s “Mr Whisky”, Pierre Meintjes, will be presenting Bunnahabhain luxury single malt master class. Meintjes has been involved with Scotch whiskies for more than 40 years and is one of just 159 Masters of the Quaich in the world. Bunnahabhain 12-, 18- and 25-year old, all regular award-winners, will be included in this exclusive tasting.

Master class with Andy Watts

South African Whisky – Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
Thurs 10 Nov | 19h45 – 20h45 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | Andy Watts, Master Distiller
Book your place

In the world of whisky innovation, South Africa is currently at the forefront. Join Africa’s only master distiller Andy Watts, named Rest of the World Master Distiller at Whisky Magazine’s 2016 Icons of Whisky Awards, as he takes you on a journey to taste a World’s First Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Finish Whisky, a sneak preview of the Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt Vintage 2006 to only be released next year, a taste of the sold-out Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt Vintage 2005 launched a few months ago, the World’s Best Grain Whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky, Three Ships 5 Year Old Premium Select as awarded at the World Whiskies Awards held in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Master class with John Quinn

Tullamore DEW – Whisky – Deconstructed and straight from casks
Thurs 10 Nov | 21h00 – 22h00 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | John Quinn, Global Ambassador
Book your place

John will bring along some whiskeys straight from the cask, the whiskeys used to create the world renowned Tullamore DEW blend and will offer an opportunity to blend your own. He will also bring along some small batch whiskeys not available in the local RSA market.

Variants to be covered:
-Tullamore DEW Original
-Tullamore DEW Single Malt
-Tullamore DEW Single Pot Still
-Tullmore DEW Single Grain
-Tullamore DEW 14 YO Single Malt
-Tullamore DEW 12 YO Special

Master class with Macallan

The Macallan – The Wood Journey
Thurs 10 Nov | 21h15 – 22h15 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | Nkululeko Maseko / Edgar Mntungwa, Brand Ambassadors
Book your place

This journey takes the guest on an insightful meander into how The Macallan sources its precious sherry casks and the intense passion and dedication to this central task in crating whisky flavour and character.

Variants to be covered:
-The Macallan 12 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan 15 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan 18 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan Rare Cask

Friday, 11 November 2016 Whisky Live Master Classes

Master class with Macallan

The Macallan – The Wood Journey
Fri 11 Nov | 18h00 – 19h00 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Nkululeko Maseko / Edgar Mntungwa, Brand Ambassadors
Book your place

This journey takes the guest on an insightful meander into how The Macallan sources its precious sherry casks and the intense passion and dedication to this central task in crating whisky flavour and character.

Variants to be covered:
-The Macallan 12 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan 15 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan 18 YO Fine Oak
-The Macallan Rare Cask

Master class with John Quinn

Tullamore DEW – Whisky – Deconstructed and straight from casks
Fri 11 Nov | 18h15 – 19h15 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | John Quinn, Global Ambassador
Book your place

John will bring along some whiskeys straight from the cask, the whiskeys used to create the world renowned Tullamore DEW blend and will offer an opportunity to blend your own. He will also bring along some small batch whiskeys not available in the local RSA market.

Variants to be covered:
-Tullamore DEW Original
-Tullamore DEW Single Malt
-Tullamore DEW Single Pot Still
-Tullmore DEW Single Grain
-Tullamore DEW 14 YO Single Malt
-Tullamore DEW 12 YO Special

Master class with Mark Backhouse

The House of Single Malts – Strathisla, Longmorn and Aberlour
Fri 11 Nov | 19h30 – 20h30 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Mark Backhouse, Head of Brand Education
Book your place

Welcome to the world of artisanal whiskies which includes the most internationally awarded single malt whisky of all time, every distiller’s second favourite single malt and the single malt from the oldest working distillery in Scotland today.

Variants to be covered:
-Strathisla 12 YO
-Longmorn 16 YO
-Aberlour 12 YO
-Aberlour 12 YO Cask Strength
-Aberlour 16 YO
-Aberlour 18 YO

Master class with Lukasz Dynowiak

Old Pulteney
Fri 11 Nov | 19h45 – 20h45 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | Lukasz Dynowiak, Global Brand Ambassador
Book your place

Since 1826 on the wind-beaten Caithness coast Pulteney – one of the northernmost Scottish distilleries – has produced The Maritime Malt, whisky with a sense of provenance like no other. Discover how the sea has shaped the spirit, learn about the history of this fascinating distillery and its artisanal production process while savouring a range of award-winning single malts.

Variants to be covered:
-Old Pulteney 12 YO
-Old Pulteney 17 YO
-Old Pulteney 21 YO
-Old Pulteney 35 YO
-Old Pulteney Stroma Malt Liqueur

Master class with Andy Watts

South African Whisky – Three Ships and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
Fri 11 Nov | 21h00 – 22h00 | Venue: Committee Room 4 | Andy Watts, Master Distiller
Book your place

In the world of whisky innovation, South Africa is currently at the forefront. Join Africa’s only master distiller Andy Watts, named Rest of the World Master Distiller at Whisky Magazine’s 2016 Icons of Whisky Awards, as he takes you on a journey to taste a World’s First Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Finish Whisky, a sneak preview of the Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt Vintage 2006 to only be released next year, a taste of the sold-out Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt Vintage 2005 launched a few months ago, the World’s Best Grain Whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky, Three Ships 5 Year Old Premium Select as awarded at the World Whiskies Awards held in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Master class with Donald Colville

The Malt Experiential – Singleton, Cardhu, Laguvulin and Talisker
Fri 11 Nov | 21h15 – 22h15 | Venue: Committee Room 5 | Donald Colville, Diageo Global Brand Ambassador
Book your place

Donald Colville was born and brought up in Scotland’s historic whisky capital, Campbeltown on the west coast of Scotland. There his family enjoyed deep roots in whisky distilling, mainly through the operating of Dalintober distillery, a supplier to the Johnnie Walker blends and once owned by Donald’s great-grandfather.

Donald will talk about:

-Singleton
-Cardhu
-Laguvulin
-Talisker

A lot to pick from isn’t there? Decided which masterclass is for you? Make sure you book your tickets soon so you don’t miss out!

The Independent Bottlers’ Challenge

I could literally spend all three days of the festival at this stand! We don’t get too many IBs (Independent Bottlings) in SA, so here is a fantastic chance to try some. The list is extensive and I can’t say which of these will be available on which night, but you’re bound to find some beauties!

Brand Expression Alc vol % Year Distilled
Celtic Cask Aon Deag 11 46 2001
Celtic Cask Deich 10 46 1999
Celtic Cask Ocht 8 46 1991
Duncan Taylor The Octave 53.9 1990
Old Particular Springbank 51.4 1993
Robert Graham Benrinnes 50.5 1995
Robert Graham Invergordon 64.1 1984
Wemyss Malts Foraged Fruit Fool 46 1991
Celtic Cask Do Dheag 12 46 2000
Celtic Cask Tri Deag 13 46 2001
Malts of Scotland Dunlossit Castle 53.2
Malts of Scotland Kirkwall – Earls Palace 53.2  
Malts of Scotland Main Street of Bartstown 53.2  
Malts of Scotland Sherry Hogshead 48.9  
Malts of Scotland St Michael’s Episcopal Church 53.2
Malts of Scotland Tain Tolborh 53.2  
Malts of Scotland Auchentoshan – Bourbon Barrel 56.7 2005
Malts of Scotland Auchentoshan – Sherry Hogshead 59.1 1998
Malts of Scotland Glen Scotia – Sherry Hogshead 48.7 1990
Malts of Scotland Highland Park – Bourbon Hogshead 56.8 1996
Malts of Scotland Invergordon – Bourbon Barrel 54.7 2000
Malts of Scotland Ledaig – Bourbon Barrel 56.3 2005
Malts of Scotland Littlemill – Bourbon Barrel 55.1 1990
Malts of Scotland North British – Sherry Hogshead 53.7 2004
Malts of Scotland Old Pulteney – Refill Sherry Hogshead 55.9 2006
Glen Keith Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 56.6 1995
Malts of Scotland Fettercairn – Sherry Hogshead 53.2 1990
Malts of Scotland Imperial – Bourbon Barrel 48.2 1991
Malts of Scotland Springbank – Sherry Hogshead 51.9 2004
Malts of Scotland Springbank – Sherry Hogshead 49.2 1998
Malts of Scotland The Westfallian – Bourbon Barrel 57.4 2012
Signatory Vintage Bowmore 2000 54.4 2000
Signatory Vintage Clynelish 1996 55.5 1996
Signatory Vintage Longmorn 1992 51.4 1992
The House of MacDuff Golden Cask – Bowmore 55.5 2000
The McGibbon’s Provenance Miltonduff Distillery 46 2005
The Octave Ben Nevis Distillery 1999 51 1999
The Octave Glentauchers Distillery 2008 55 2008
The Octave Mortlach Distillery 1995 54.8 1995
Wemyss Malts Cacao Geyser 46 1998
Ardbeg Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 50.6 1991
Craigellachie Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 64.1 2006
Glenrothes Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 53.4 1998
House of MacDuff The Golden Cask 61.3 2005
Invergordon Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 52.8 1991
Islay Master of Malt -Secret Bottlings Series 40  
Loch Lomond Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 60.5 1996
North British Master of Malt – Single Cask Series 51.7 1994

Told you the list was impressive, didn’t I? 🙂

Want More?

There’s too much to cover in just this post – you’ll have to just come along and see for yourself! From the House of Walker’s full range to The Glenmorangie Orange Zest, to Glen Grant 12 Year Old, to drams of Tamdhu, Tomatin, Smokehead and Atholl Brose poured by our friends from Wild About Whisky, to the full Chivas Regal range and live performances from Tumi Molekane aka Stogie T and Mo Flava and more.

There is a spate of “lifestyle stands” for those (strange folk) who aren’t as enamoured by whisky as myself. Indulge in fragrances from Michael Kors and Zegna, admire the craftsmanship of timepieces from Tag Heuer and Chopard, or pick up a cigar/nougat/suit/coffee!

And special mention must go to the absolutely brilliant Innis & Gunn oak-aged beers – sip on a cold one while chatting with Dougall Sharpe, the founder of Innis & Gunn. Very cool…

When Is The Festival And How Much Does It Cost?

The Whisky Live Festival at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg is from 9 – 11 November this year. Tickets start at R220 each from www.ticketpros.co.za and include 16 tasting vouchers, a bottle of Consol Still Water, a tasting glass and a 2017 SA Whisky Handbook. Meet global and local whisky experts at experiential stands and taste from over 200 whiskies – including many new releases – all under one roof. Master Class tickets sold separately. VIP tickets available.

For more information visit www.whiskylive.co.za.

I’ll see you good people at Whisky Live. Find me and let us share a dram.

Sláinte!

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