The Star Early Edition

In­dulge in a wee dram at whisky fest

- STAFF RE­PORTER

DE­SPITE a tough eco­nomic cli­mate, South Africa is still in the top 10 largest ex­port mar­kets in the world for Scotch whisky by vol­ume, be­hind only France, the US, In­dia, Spain, Mex­ico and Ger­many.

In 2016, South Africans con­sumed 44 mil­lion bot­tles of whisky.

To put these num­bers into per­spec­tive, £95 mil­lion worth of Scotch Whisky was im­ported into South Africa in 2016: at an av­er­age ex­change rate of R16.60 to the Bri­tish pound, that’s ap­prox­i­mately R1.577 billion worth of whisky.

While there are re­ports of brandy strength­en­ing as a cat­e­gory, due to the tough eco­nomic cli­mate, whisky is still the most con­sumed spirit in South Africa with 4.1 mil­lion South Africans cur­rently drink­ing it.

Fur­ther­more, Ir­ish whisky as a sub­cat­e­gory has grown by 14% this year, driven by Jameson and Tul­lam­ore Dew.

Now in its 15th year, Whisky & Spir­its Live has at­tracted the most global am­bas­sadors, mas­ter dis­tillers and world-fa­mous whisky afi­ciona­dos since 2010 for the sim­ple rea­son that the South African mar­ket in­trigues the whisky in­dus­try at large and we are an im­por­tant growth mar­ket.

Whisky & Spir­its Live is on at the Sand­ton Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Joburg from Novem­ber 8 to 10. Tick­ets start at R240 each from www. tick­et­pros.co.za and in­clude a bot­tle of Con­sol Still Wa­ter, 16 tast­ing vouch­ers and a tast­ing glass.

Vis­i­tors to this year’s event will have the op­por­tu­nity to meet an im­pres­sive line-up of global am­bas­sadors – some of whom will also present mas­ter classes, in­clud­ing Tul­lam­ore Dew’s John Quinn; Jamie Dwyer of Jameson; Michael Cow­man of the Ir­ish Pot Stills of Mid­dle­ton; Di­a­geo’s Malts and Re­serves global am­bas­sador, Don­ald Colville; Lee Peare of Able­forth’s Bath­tub Gin; David Roussier, owner of Ar­morik Sin­gle Malt from France; Harry Tayler, co-owner of Wolf­burn Dis­tillery; An­drew Sweeney of Glen­dalough; South Africa’s own mas­ter dis­tiller, Andy Watts; The Dal­more’s Brand Am­bas­sador, Shauna Jen­nens; and Sherry Tsai from Kavalan in Tai­wan. (Yes, two women in whisky!)

There will also be a range of pre­mium spir­its and an im­pres­sive line-up of al­most 300 whiskies for tast­ing.

Here’s a list of some of the things you shouldn’t miss at this year’s fes­ti­val: MEET MALT MASTERS: Global am­bas­sadors, dis­tillery founders and man­agers and mas­ter dis­tillers from Scot­land, Ire­land, France, the UK and South Africa. IN­VEST: In one of Di­a­geo’s ex­tremely rare, lim­ited edi­tion Spe­cial Re­leases for 2017, avail­able for pur­chase at Nor­man Good­fel­lows at the event. TASTE: One-off, small batch bot­tles of whisky shipped in from the UK that were en­tered for the In­de­pen­dent Bot­tler’s Challenge.

The French­pro­duced Ar­morik Sin­gle Malt Whisky, mak­ing its de­but at Whisky & Spir­its Live.

A range of pre­mium gins, from Stret­ton’s and Wix­worth to lesser­known craft gins like Grey Hawk (pro­duced in Mpumalanga); Ginifer in its dis­tinct, black bot­tle; Dur­ban’s very own, Blind Tiger; Whit­ley Neill and more.

Don’t miss Bath­tub Gin pre­sented by bar­tender ex­traor­di­naire, Lee Peare, Able­forth’s brand am­bas­sador from Kent in the UK. EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Di­a­geo’s World-Class Mixol­ogy Ses­sions. Make cock­tails with Ke­tel One Vodka, Don Julio Te­quila, Bulleit Bour­bon, Cardhu Sin­gle Malt Whisky, Ron Za­capa rum and Tan­queray No 10 Gin.

The quirky world of John De­war’s and Sons Fine Whisky Em­po­rium where John De­war’s love of chick­ens and whisky com­bine to pro­duce an ex­traor­di­nary re­sult.

A range of punchy Buf­falo Trace Dis­tillery Bour­bon such as Blan­ton’s, 1792 Small Batch and Ea­gle Rare Sin­gle Bar­rel; Tai­wanese Kavalan Sin­gle Malt; the Is­lay flavours of Jura; the light Spey­side, Glen Grant; the Ir­ish smooth­ness of Bush­mill’s and The Pogues; beau­ti­ful blends like Hankey Ban­nis­ter and many more.

No Un­der 18s will be al­lowed and ev­ery­one is ad­vised to drink re­spon­si­bly.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.whiskylive.co.za, email info@ whiskylive.co.za, Tweet us @whiskylive­SA or go to Face­book/ WhiskyLive­SA.

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