Monday, October 20, 2008



Bunnahabhain, a name fast becoming synonymous with the best in single malts, will be showcasing at the Whisky Live Festival to be held from 5-7 November 2008 in Cape Town and 12 – 14 November in Johannesburg.

Master distiller Ian MacMillan, who has over 30 years’ experience in whisky distilling, will be at the festival in Cape Town to share the rich history and unique characteristics of Bunnahabhain’s three single malts he produces on the Isle of Islay. The 12-, 18- and 25-year old are recent additions to the South African market and have become much sought-after for their gentle and finessed profile amongst local whisky connoisseurs over the past year.

Home to the award-winning Bunnahabhain, the Isle of Islay, located off the west-coast of Scotland, is renowned the world over for producing exceptional single malts. Distinctive from the other single malts of Islay, Bunnahabhain is known for its wonderfully gentle taste profile. Its unique character is largely the result of malted barley enhanced by the pure spring water that flows freely underground, untainted by the peaty moorlands on this isolated coastal sanctuary.

Bunnahabhain (pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn) means mouth of the river in Scottish Gaelic and refers to the Margadale River that flows close by. Founded in 1881, the distillery lies on the north-eastern tip of Islay and the tiny village of Bunnahabhain that overlooks the Sound of Islay was established around it. In the 1800s the sea offered the easiest access to this remote place and men would muster the ocean to arrive with their barley in preparation for the creation of this wonderful dram.

LINDA STRYDOM, DKC (021) 4222690

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The College of Whisky would like to formally invite you to attend a Whisky Course that will be commencing on the 21st of October 2008.

The College of Whisky manages over one thousand educational whisky presentations each year, around the country, on behalf of a major premium spirits company.

We have identified a need for a formal, in-depth educational programme, where we offer an opportunity to delve deeper into the many mysterious components of the whisky world.

We aim to unlock the mystery.

There are eight lectures, spread over four evenings. Each lecture is approximately one hour long. You will be taught by some of the most experienced whisky presenters in the country. Comprehensive course notes, all stationery, whisky, tasting glasses, a light snack, tea and coffee will also be provided to you. A lecturer will be available outside of the normal course hours if you require further assistance with your studies.

The course includes practical components, including an interactive blending exercise.

There is a two-hour theory and practical examination at the end of the course.
On successful completion of the course there will be a social function, where you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your new-found knowledge of whisky, receive your certificate and enjoy some of the finest whiskies in the world.

This is an opportunity to really get to grips with the unsurpassed taste and texture of the world’s finest whiskies.

The Whisky Course will take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays and you have the option to choose which day you would prefer to attend the course. The Whisky Course will start at 6:30pm sharp and will end at 8:45pm and includes all whisky, snacks, course notes and tasting glasses.

The cost to partake in this wonderful experience is R1 450 incl. VAT. If you book via this notice you will receive a R100 discount.

To reserve a seat, please send:

Your name
Date of birth
Day on which you would like to attend
To the following email address:

This is a wonderful opportunity to learn subtle nuances and diverse flavours that the finest whiskies have to offer.

Kind Regards

College Of Whisky

Terms & Conditions Apply

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Something to drink about....

What is thought to be the world's largest whisky collection is set be put on display in Scotland, after being purchased by Diageo.

The collection, containing 3,384 bottles and built up over 35 years by Brzailian Claive Vidiz, has been shipped from Sau Paolo to a high security location in Scotland, Diageo said this week.

The drinks giant bought the collection for an undisclosed fee, but will loan the collection to be displayed in a specially designed vault at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh. The vault is part of a GBP2m investment in the tourist attraction.

Among the rarer bottles is a Strathmill single malt, produced to celebrate the Speyside distillery's 100th anniversary. It is one of only 100 bottles ever produced.

"We are delighted to have worked with Claive to bring this wonderful collection safely back to Scotland and to play a part in preserving its legacy and historic significance," said Bryan Donaghey, managing director of Diageo Scotland.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Diageo launches Diddy Ciroc ad campaign

Diageo has launched an advertising campaign for its Ciroc Vodka brand in the US, featuring Sean 'Diddy' Combs.

The advert, to debut this week, is entitled 'The Art of Celebration', and features Combs with his modern interpretation of the Rat Pack, the company said today (7 October).

Shot in black and white at one of Frank Sinatra's former California homes, the 15- and 30-second commercials depict Combs as a host amidst a crowd during an impromptu private house party. The advert is soundtracked by Sinatra's version of 'Come Fly With Me'.

"It was truly an honour to have had the opportunity to use Sinatra's work and home for this campaign," said Combs. "He defined sophisticated celebration as a lifestyle a generation ago. I couldn't imagine a spirit more appropriate."

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Robertson Wine Valley Wacky Wine Festival

6 to 8 June 2008

Taste responsibly, they said. Use the spittoons, they said. Designate a driver, keep track of your wine consumption and drink lots of water, they said. People did as they were asked and had a great time.

The Wacky Wine Weekend was a model of efficiency and professional event management without detracting from the aim of the Festival – promoting the valley and wineries. The organisers had a sensible attitude to a festival that could have turned out to be memorable for the wrong reasons. 16000 people, 2000 up from last year, on a wintery Cape weekend, and the traffic authorities were untroubled. The designated driver seemed the preferred route for the many wacky weekenders and on the wet roads it was a wise choice.

What I saw was a large amount of adults enjoying wines, as they are generally were meant to be enjoyed – with a meal, in the company of friends and sometimes with music. Some wines were magnificent, some were ordinary, but the event was special. Five years on, the organisers have hit on a winning formula.

The Wacky Wine Festival makes no claim to the title of the most sophisticated wine event on the calendar, but it is certainly the event where the participants have the most fun. What a winner for the wine industry in the Robertson valley and for all related industries in the region. To bring so many consumers and people from the trade to wineries, in the dead of winter, year after year, is not an easy task.

Total wine sales were up 24% from WWW 2007 – but that statistic does not tell the story about the effect of the weak economy on purchasing patterns. For the first time since the festival began some wineries reported a drop in sales. Consumers seem less inclined to spend on speculative purchases. Unless a consumer is blown away by a formerly unfamiliar wine they taste, they will purchase the tried and tested wine, or a wine that has obtained very good ratings or awards. The most well known wineries in the area reported the highest number of visitors. When disposable income drops, consumers become more discerning. The challenge to wineries and all service provides is to continually raise their game.

One of the major improvements over previous years was the quality and variety of food offerings. The standards were very high as professional caterers used the festival to showpiece their craft. Some of the wineries took advantage of the rugby test and used that as another opportunity to feed the crowds. Word spread very quickly that the food at one winery was magnificent, but another fell short of what was expected. And on a cold weekend, you know where the crowds are going to go. The caterer at two of the most popular venues made several trips to the local supermarkets to replenish supplies. Their most optimistic forecasts about the number of visitors were overtaken by happy consumers looking for good food. Quality sells.

Some of the attendees were there to discover new wineries, some were looking to revisit old favourites, some were just beginning the wonderful journey along the road of wine appreciation and there were some seasoned palates amongst the crowd. We all had one thing in common - to have a good time.

There was a large increase in visitors from Gauteng and the accommodation establishments benefitted from the longer stay – four nights instead of the one or two nights for visitors from Cape Town.

The many estates held different types of events, from dinners with Pop Idols, to one-on-one tutored tastings with the winemakers, to champagne and oyster breakfasts, from entertainment for kids to marquees where the rugby, not wine, was the main event.

Of course there is a place for the traditional wine show or festival, where a number of estates display their wines, side by side, in a convention centre or marquee. The downfall of those events is generally consumers do not spend a lot of time focussing on one winery. We table hop. Unless the consumer is using spittoons – and lets face it, not many people do – flavours and memories blur by the time you arrive at the third stand. How many of us can hold our hands on out hearts and say we remember clearly the wines we had over a two or three hour period at a wine show?

Where Wacky Wine Festival succeeds is that the consumers spend as much time as they wish at the farm and really get to grips with what the estate has to offer. As the consumers spend more time at the estate, they spend more time understanding the wines and what goes into their production. Over the duration of the weekend one can easily manage eight farms, leaving each estate with a clear understanding and appreciation for the wines, the feel of the estate and importantly leave fortified by a meal or substantial snack.

I will be there next year to enjoy this ever evolving and always fun festival.
Posted by Bernard Gutman at 13:01 0 comments

Tequila for grown-ups.

When bottle store owners and barmen have a customer request tequila, they assume that the drink is destined to be drunk as a shooter, with salt and lemon. However, with the new batch of super premium tequilas, there is now an opportunity for discerning palates to enjoy a more refined spirit.

At the Cape Town launch of Patron Tequila at the elegant Roundhouse Restaurant in Camps Bay, the sweeping views of the bay were complemented by a colourful display of the hand-blown Patron Tequila bottles. The Patron range, from Silver to Gran Patron Burdeos (finished in Burgundy wine barrels), was available for tasting. In-between, guests sampled two aged expressions, Anejo and Reposada.

There are several factors that make these super premium tequilas different from other tequila-style spirits. Patron and Don Julio tequilas are made entirely from the Blue Agave plant, while many other tequila-style drinks are made with different types of Agave plant, or are blended with other ingredients.

The Patron and Don Julio Reposada tequilas are ideal for those who wish to sip their drinks slowly, instead of slinging it down their throats. Stock up, educate your customers and benefit from increased sales of high quality spirits.