Bringing together whisky and good friends

Our inaugural whisky club meeting

Isn’t it amazing how the simplest ideas are often the best ones? In this case it was Ryan saying a few months back that we should formalize our love of whisky a bit by forming a small whisky club. Seeing that we usually ended up having a few drams whenever our families got together it was a logical extension and one that hopefully convinces our wives that our collective whisky budgets need to be increased!

And so, the Modderfontein Whisky Club was formed. “Where’s Modderfontein?” I hear you cry. Its a lovely suburb in Johannesburg, South Africa characterized by its tall pine trees, picturesque lake and friendly whisky-loving inhabitants – namely us.

Modderfontein Whisky Club

Pictured from left to right are Ryan, Colin and yours truly, Mark.

So what would we be tasting? The whiskies brought to to table by the members were: Laphroaig 10 years old, Redbreast 12 years old (not available in South Africa), Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, Ichiro’s 1986 King of Hearts (also a dram you won’t find easily here), Jameson 1780 Reserve and Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish whisky. A couple of South African whiskies to keep it local, an Islay for Ryan and myself, a couple of Irish whiskies to keep Colin smiling and the Japanese malt that I won from Master of Malt on Twitter (thanks MoM!).

MWC First Tasting Session

You’ll see some tasting note sheets on the table in front of the whiskies. I decided to give it a bash and work on developing my tasting skills, seeing if I can identify the multitude of scents and tastes present in these fine drams. I grabbed the tasting note sheets off of Miguel’s A Wardrobe of Whisky website – be sure to check out his great site.

I’ll spare you my tasting notes for now, and jump straight to how the three MWC members rated the whiskies present at our first meeting:

Rank Ryan Colin Mark
1 Laphroaig 10 ** Jameson 1780 ** Laphroaig 10 **
2 Jameson 1780 ** Redbreast 12 * Redbreast 12 *
3 Redbreast 12 * Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish * Jameson 1780 *
4 Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish ** Locke’s 8YO Single Malt ^ Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish **
5 Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky Ichiro’s King of Hearts
6 Ichiro’s King of Hearts Ichiro’s King of Hearts Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
** = Should be in your cabinet at all times!  * = Would buy
^ = Substitute for Colin – he doesn’t like peaty whiskies (poor bastard!)

A doff of my hat to Whisky Brother for pointing us in the direction of the Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish – such a nice dram at a really affordable price! Thanks Marc.

Dram Samples

Displaying excellent foresight, Ryan thought that club members might want to take home samples of the new drams tasted, so he procured these brilliant little glass bottles and filled them up with some tasty drams to be savoured in the comfort of our own homes.

Serious Tasting Taking Place!

Modderfontein Whisky Club’s first meeting was a resounding success and you can rest assured that there will be many more! The fellowship around the table was brilliant, the earnest attempts to describe the nose of the whiskies and the taste and feel on the palate were fun too. My tasting notes led me to two conclusions:

  1. 1. Handwriting and I are not friends
  2. 2. I need to practice more – which shouldn’t be an issue at all! 🙂

Until next time,


  1. July 19, 2011    

    Hi Mark. Welcome to the world of whisky blogs 🙂 Nice write-up; sounds like a great afternoon was had. Glad the Three Ships Bourbon Cask was to your liking. South African whiskys producers are doing a fantastic job and we need to help them shake their poor and/or non-existent reputations! All the best with the blog. Slainte!

  2. July 19, 2011    

    Nice one guys! A similar string of events led us to do the same thing a few years back. You will be amazed how many individuals come out of the wood work you never thought even liked whisky once they hear you have an official Whisky Club.

    Have fun.

  3. Adam Adam
    December 2, 2011    

    Awesome! Good work with the site and the tasting. Myself and a couple of friend have opened our own whisky club as well! It’s still small of course and only between friends at the moment but could have the potential for growth =)

    Good luck in your quest!

    • Mark Mark
      December 2, 2011    

      Thanks for dropping by Adam. That’s exactly the same route we’ve taken – a small group of friends with a shared passion for whisky. All the best for your club!

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