Bringing together whisky and good friends

An evening with Bunnahabhain

A short while ago Bunnahabhain approached me with an offer to host a private tasting of their un-chillfiltered range of whiskies for the Whisky Tasting Fellowship. The catch? I had to find, and confirm, 30 attendees within 24 hours of the offer. After a rather frantic day (and night) on the phone, firing off emails, messaging via Facebook and sending out Tweets not only did I fill the thirty slots with confirmed attendees, I actually had several extra people on a stand-in waiting list too. The evening was on!

Bunnahabhain range of whiskies ready for the tasting

The guests came from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, covering the financial services and PR industries, private business owners, IT consultants and more. There was a great mix of seasoned whisky lovers and those new to the drink who were attending their very first whisky tasting. What I was really pleased to see is the large number of ladies in attendance – virtually 1 in 4 of the guests was of the fairer sex.

Guests enjoying the Bunnahabhain evening

The San Restaurant in the Sandton Sun Hotel played host to the tasting, and after meeting and greeting all the invited guests with a Black Bottle cocktail (Black bottle whisky, a dash of Angostura bitters, ginger ale and a slice of lemon) it was time to hand over proceedings to South Africa’s only Master of the Quaich, Pierre Meintjes.

Examining the colour of the Bunnahabhain 18 year old

Pierre is a master storyteller, both entertaining and very informative, and it is always a pleasure watching him weave his tales around whisky and then guide the guests through the Bunnahabhain 12, 18 and 25 year old range. Pierre doesn’t talk at his audience, rather too them and encouraged people to ask questions which they duly did. The questions asked interested me a lot as it indicated that people are hungry to learn more about whisky and I hope that we can hold more events like this to broaden people’s knowledge and deepen their appreciation of this incredible spirit.

Pierre Meintjes interacting with guests

The tasting was followed by canapés and a raffle where one lucky guest won a bottle of the Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old. I thoroughly enjoyed moving from table to table, participating in the conversation, imparting what I know about whisky to those who wanted to listen 😉 and receiving feedback from the guests. A friend had his 3D video camera at the event, so I’m hoping to add some footage of that to the site soon. I wonder, could it be footage of the world’s first 3D whisky tasting event?

So what was the verdict? The evening was a resounding success! The people from Bunnahabhain were very impressed with the full house of diverse attendees who were all eager to learn more. The guests themselves all had a great time and they all wanted to know when the next event is! I’m very glad to report that Bunnahabhain have confirmed that they will host another event for the Whisky Tasting Fellowship later in the year so those people who weren’t able to come to this one will get their chance. If you are interested in joining our next tasting, get in touch through the contact form.

Guests of the Whisky Tasting Fellowship

A big thanks again to Distell and Bunnahabhain for hosting us for the evening and to my guests for making it a lot of fun. Here’s to the next one…


1 Comment

  1. March 25, 2012    

    Sounds like an awesome evening. For Capetonians who feel they have missed out – there is a similar Bunnahabhain tasting taking place this coming Weds evening (28th) – also presented by Pierre Meintjies and kindly sponsored by Distell/Bunnahabhain. More details at

    Hope to see you there!


    (Thanks Mark for the go-ahead to mention this on your blog)

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