It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since Whisky Brother’s inaugural The Only Whisky Show. As a whisky lover, the event just worked perfectly for me…
The focus was squarely on the whiskies themselves. Each stand was uniform in size and appearance, meaning that the whiskies were the star attractions, not the elaborate sets and props seen at other whisky events both locally and abroad. Each whisky stood shoulder to shoulder and was judged on its own merits.
This year guarantees to repeat the same winning formula: 200+ whiskies, an intimate venue with a strict limit on 450 heads per night, staffed by knowledgeable people in the form of whisky industry veterans, brand ambassadors and the like.
A Chat With Whisky Brother founder, Marc Pendlebury
WTF: You’re back for another year Marc, was it an easy decision to make?
MP: Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from last year, it was an easy decision to make. There is no point putting on the show if it isn’t well-received (i.e. we aren’t going to do it just for the sake of doing it), but thankfully we were really happy with our inaugural show and so were the attendees and exhibitors, so we’re doing it all again this year!
WTF: What did you learn from last year’s event?
MP: We learnt there is definitely demand for a smaller, more intimate and focused whisky show within the local whisky scene. It doesn’t come as too much of a suprise, but you can’t be overly sure and there is a risk it won’t be well attendended.
I also learned I could have a mild heart-attack for 3 hours and survive fine without seeing a doctor! lol. The first few hours of the first day were rather stressful as everything was finally coming together for the first time. Well worth it though and look forward to doing it again! 🙂
WTF: Was there a “crowd favourite” dram from last year? For me it would have been the yet-to-be-bottled Bain’s 16yo
The unbottled Bains was definitely a major hit, as was the Three Ships single malt cask sample Andy poured in his masterclasses (WTF: It’s an absolute beaut! Was 17yo, heading towards being bottled at 21yo!). Apart from those two the WhiskyBrother Highland Park Single Cask also had the crowd talking. The great thing about whisky, and such a show, is that different people had different highlights!
WTF: Are you doing anything differently this year?
MP: The short answer is NO, and that’s by design. The “winning formula” for the show is to keep it simple and focused, and we are doing the same again this year. There are obviously new whiskies being exhibited and new Copper Coupon Drams, and we are very excited and honoured to have some whisky guests attending from outside Joburg/South Africa.
Other than that we have had to change venue since the previous venue is no longer available, we will have more food options to make getting food easier.
WTF: Can you tell us about the masterclasses you have lined up?
MP: I’m still finalising the details but we will have an incredible line-up of masterclasses from the following: Midleton Single Pot Still, Balblair and anCnoc, Wolburn, Kavalan and Bain’s masterclass tastings. All of which will be presented by individuals who cannot be matched anywhere for their knowledge of and involvement with these brands! This includes: Michael Cowman (Midleton Prestige Irish Whiskey ambassador), Lukasz Dynowiak (Global Brand Ambassador for anCnoc, Old Pulteney, Balblair and Speyburn), Harry Tayler (one of the owners and founders of Wolfburn), Sherry Tsai (from Kavalan) and of course our very own local whisky legend, Andy Watts.
Some words from Michael Cowman on his masterclass: “I think it’s probably the best Irish Whiskey line up ever seen on the continent of Africa. The Dreamcask on its own is worth the price of admission, personally I’ve never been so excited to share a whiskey with an audience.
The selection is intended to showcase the variety of brands and expressions that are available from Midleton, from brands with massive history that have been in existence since the 1830’s like Green spot, to newer brands such as Method and Madness, designed to showcase the more adventurous side of the distillery.
It should be an amazing night and an amazing show!”
Some words from Lukasz Dynowiak on his masterclasses: “At the masterclass in Johannesburg we’ll be comparing two Northern Highland distilleries – Balblair and Pulteney. They are geographically close but the styles are very different. I’ll talk you through the differences and crucially we’ll try to do a bit of detective work and drill down into where exactly the flavours are coming from.
The youngest dram we’ll be looking at is 17 years old so this is a very serious, very high value line-up. Both Balblair Vintages are new and being showcased for the first time in South Africa. And if that’s still not enough, we’ll be throwing in something I consider to be the pinnacle of whisky blending to luxuriate in at the end. Can’t wait, see you there!”
(WTF: For a full breakdown on the masterclasses and their time slots, check out this page on WhiskyBrother.)
WTF: Where to from here? Go bigger? Or have shows in other cities?
MP: Definitely not bigger, and for now, no plans to go to other cities. For this type of show, bigger is not better. More and cooler whiskies is better, so that will be my primary focus when arranging the show. I really like the size, it’s busy but manageable without being chaotic, and attendees have the necessary environment to talk/engage/share/learn about what they are drinking.
As for other cities, it’s a tempting idea, and in time I would love to take the show on the road, but I’d rather further establish and cement the Joburg one first over the next few years, and then only would I look to expand.
WTF: What are your top 3 drams (so far) for the 2018 show?
MP: Always a difficult question because we have so many great brands participating. I am very excited about upcoming WhiskyBrother exclusives that we’ve selected and which will be available for tasting at the show, including one which we did specifically for the show! Other than those the Speyburn 15yo, Ben Nevis 21yo by Single & Single and the Armorik Triagoz (French) based on my current mood 🙂
WTF: Thanks for your time Marc. Here’s to enjoying a dram together at the show!
MP: Cheers Mark, see you at the show!
2018 The Only Whisky Show – The Whisky List
This is why you’re here after all? To see what is going to be on offer right? The Whisky Brother team already have over 200 whiskies lined up for the 2018 show. There are some Copper Coupon (cc) drams as they call them: special whiskies that require a special token to taste. You get 3 of these coupons when entering, but can purchase more should you need to. As always, make sure you single out the whiskies you want to taste and get to them early in the evening – they finish fast!
Here is the list (correct at the time of publishing):
|anCnoc 24 (cc)|
|anCnoc Peated Single Cask (cc)|
|Ardbeg An Oa|
|Ardbeg Perpetuum (cc)|
|Arran||Arran Amarone Finish|
|Arran The Bothy Batch 2 (cc)|
|Auchentoshan||Auchentoshan American Oak|
|Auchentoshan Three Wood|
|Ben Nevis||Ben Nevis 21yo Single & Single (cc)|
|BenRiach||BenRiach Birnie Moss|
|BenRiach 10yo Curiositas|
|BenRiach 12yo Sherry Wood|
|Bowmore||Bowmore Small Batch|
|Bruichladdich||Bruichladdich Classic Laddie|
|Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1 (cc)|
|Port Charlotte Scottish Barley|
|Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 (cc)|
|Bunnahabhain 25yo (cc)|
|Compass Box||Compass Box Great King St. Artist’s Blend|
|Compass Box Great King St. Glasgow Blend|
|Compass Box Peat Oak Cross|
|Compass Box Peat Monster|
|Compass Box Spice Tree|
|Compass Box Hedonism|
|Compass Box No Name (cc)|
|Dalmore Cigar Malt|
|Dalmore King Alexander (cc)|
|Douglas Laing (Remarkable Malts)||Epicurean Lowland blended malt|
|Rock Oyster Islands blended malt|
|Scallywag Speyside blended malt|
|Big Peat Christmas Edition Islay blended malt|
|Glenbrynth||Glenbrynth Double Matured|
|Glenbrynth 30yo (cc)|
|Glenfarclas 25yo (cc)|
|Glenglassaugh Port Wood Finish (cc)|
|Glengoyne Batch Strength|
|Glen Grant||Glen Grant Founder’s Reserve|
|Glen Grant 10yo|
|Glen Grant 12yo|
|Gen Grant 18yo (cc)|
|Glenlivet||Glenlivet Nadura Peated Cask|
|Glenlivet Nadura Sherry Cask|
|Glenlivet Nadura First-fill Bourbon Cask|
|Glenlivet Code (cc)|
|Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or|
|Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban|
|Glenmorangie Spios (cc)|
|Glen Scotia||Glen Scotia Double Cask|
|Glen Scotia 15yo|
|Glen Scotia Victoriana|
|Glen Scotia 25yo (The Whisky Agency) (cc)|
|Highland Park||Highland Park 10yo|
|Highland Park 12yo|
|Highland Park 18yo|
|Highland Park Valkyrie|
|Highland Park WhiskyBrother Single Cask (cc)|
|Jura Seven Wood (cc)|
|Kilchoman||Kilchoman Machir Bay|
|Kilchoman 100% Islay|
|Kilchoman Loch Gorm|
|Kilchoman Red Wine Cask (cc)|
|Laphroaig Quarter Cask|
|Loch Lomond||Loch Lomond Single Grain|
|Inchmurrin Madeira Finish|
|Loch Lomond WhiskyBrother Single Cask (cc)|
|Macallan||Macallan 12yo Fine Oak|
|Macallan 12yo Double Cask|
|Macallan 15yo Fine Oak|
|Macallan 18yo Fine Oak|
|Macallan Rare Cask (cc)|
|Shackleton||Shackleton blended malt|
|Singleton of Dufftown 12yo|
|Singleton of Dufftown 15yo|
|Singleton of Dufftown 18yo|
|Speyburn||Speyburn Bradan Orach|
|Springbank 12yo Cask Strength|
|Springbank 14yo Bourbon Wood (cc)|
|Talisker Dark Storm|
|Talisker 18yo (cc)|
|Tamdhu Batch Strength|
|Wemyss Malts||The Hive|
|The Spice King|
|The Peat Chimney|
|Wolfburn No. 128 Small Batch|
|Wolfburn No. 270 Small Batch|
|Wolfburn Kylver Series No.3 (cc)|
|Wolfburn The Only Whisky Show Single Cask|
|Bushmills Black Bush|
|Bushmills 21yo (cc)|
|Glendalough||Glendalough Double Barrel|
|Glendalough Triple Barrel|
|Glendalough TBC (cc)|
|John Powers Signature Reserve|
|John Powers 12yo John’s Lane|
|Method and Madness Single Malt (cc)|
|Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy (cc)|
|Teeling||Teeling Small Batch|
|Teeling Single Grain|
|Teeling Single Malt|
|West Cork||West Cork 10yo|
|West Cork 12yo Rum Finish|
|Four Roses||Four Roses Single Barrel|
|Heaven Hill||Evan Williams Single Barrel 2010|
|Elijah Craig Small Batch|
|Maker’s Mark||Maker’s Mark|
|Maker’s Mark 46|
|Woodford Reserve||Woodford Reserve|
|Woodford Reserve Double Oaked|
|Woodford Reserve WhiskyBrother Exclusive|
|South African Whisky|
|James Sedgwick||Bains Single Grain|
|Three Ships 10yo|
|Private Barrel Co. 6yo (cc)|
|Boplaas||Boplaas Brandy Cask Finish|
|Kavalan King Car|
|Kavalan Solist Bourbon Cask|
|Kavalan Solist Sherry Cask|
|Kavalan Solist Port Cask|
|Kavalan Solist Vinho Cask|
|Kavalan Sherry Oak (cc)|
|Armorik (French)||Armorik Classic|
|Armorik Double Maturation|
|Cotswold (English)||Cotswold Single Malt|
|Paul John||Paul John Bold|
|Paul John Brilliance|
|Paul John Edited|
|Paul John Select Cask Classic|
|Paul John Select Cask Peated|
For full details on The Only Whisky Show, head on over to the WhiskyBrother website.
As always, make sure you drink responsibly and have a safe way to get home. Don’t drink and drive folks.
Looking forward to sharing a dram with you all.