Friday, November 26, 2010

Give than man a Bell’s!

Tell us why your friend deserves a Bell’s and we’ll send him two.

We have 3 prizes of a bottle each of Bell’s Extra Special and Bell’s Special Reserve to give away to a chosen friend of anyone in South Africa who sends us a winning story. 

Send us a tale that persuades us that your friend is a worthy recipient of Bells. We will choose 3 winning entries and send the hamper to the winners friends, anywhere in the country. And we expect the friends to share a wee dram with their friends. Responsibly, of course.

Add a dash of humour and a block of cool to your story (50 to 300 words)  and email me at

Competition closes noon SA time on Thursday 2nd December. 

This is only for people 18 and older, and not for anyone employed by or related to Brandhouse Beverages (Pty) Ltd, their agencies or consultants. Not for sale to persons under the age of 18. Please drink responsibly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Whisky and glitz go quite well together and if the team from  get involved, you know there will be a party of note. Add men’s fashion from and ladies fashion from Callaghan, a generous dram or two of in the hotel and you have the recipe for a great night.

Here is the official press release and a couple of photos.

Press Release

19 November 2010
The One and Only came alive last Thursday with the Fabiani and Callaghan Fashion Party of the Year. Models, celebrities, media and the big wigs in the corporate world flocked to the hotel to celebrate the fashion house’s spring/summer collection. Guests were served the distinguished Chivas Regal on arrival and posed for pictures on the red carpet before being escorted into the lavish hotel.

The A-list crowd then mingled and nibbled on delicious food from the esteemed Reuben’s and internationally acclaimed Nobu. Shortly afterwards the male models, dressed smartly in Fabiani suits, made their grand entrance at the top of the stairs in the foyer while the stunning girls from Callaghan made their elegant entrance by the Vista Bar. After posing in the Fabiani and Callaghan lounges, the models dispersed to interact with guests, 3 of which received a ToyWatches. Guest also had the opportunity to pose in the Leica booth and capture their favourite moment of the night.

Some of the celebrities who attended were Herschelle Gibbs, Tracy McGregor, Gina Athens, Michelle Mclean, Nicky Greenwall as well as international celebrities Anna Friel (Lead actress in Pushing Daisies & BLOCK BUSTER MOVIE with WILL FERREL) - Land Of The Lost, Raoul Bova (From the movie Under The Tuscan Sun) & Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's who flew in from NEW YORK especially for the party.

Special thanks to Chivas, Fashion Choreographer -Deon Redman, ToyWatch, from the One&Only Hair Salon, The Big Issue Make-Up Academy, Carol from Cavendish Square, Lindt, Leica, Carol from Coda, Dino Moran, Mandy & Peter Lumb, Rikki’s Taxis, and Wings Group for the incredible treats.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Van Ryn’s distillery close to Stellenbosch has just earned its third consecutive Best Brandy trophy at the 2010 International Spirits Challenge in London. This time, the honours for producing the world’s best brandy went to the 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve. 

Said Neil Mathieson, competition category chairman for cognac, armagnac and brandy entries: “Awarding the Best Brandy Trophy was a very hard choice this year, given the excellence of the products submitted and the very high marks they achieved. In the end the decision to award the trophy to Van Ryn's 15 Year Old was made in recognition of its great length, subtlety and depth of flavour.”

Mathieson, who is a world authority on international brandies and other grape-based spirits, and the founder and managing director of Eaux de Vie, a specialist spirits importer, based in the UK, believes South African brandies are becoming the standard-bearer for quality aged brandied produced outside the AOC regions of France.

In 2008 and 2009, it was the Van Ryn's 12 Year Old Distillers Reserve that was voted the best by the panel of ISC spirits specialists.

Van Ryn’s has also brought home the Worldwide Best Brandy trophy from the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) three times, making it a total of six times that the distillery has been judged to produce the best.

Adele Ankiewicz, global marketing manager for Van Ryn’s said: “These results demonstrate a remarkable consistency of performance and are a reflection of South African brandy excellence. The Van Ryn’s Brandy Collection is an international quality leader, setting the benchmark for the finest brandies in the world. It deftly combines exuberant, generous fruitiness with elegance and finesse and offers an exciting taste profile for spirits connoisseurs.”

This year’s ISC Best Brandy winner was voted the best in its class at the IWSC and won a gold medal.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What's new at Festival this year.

  •  Purchase a bottle of Laphroaig, visit the stand to learn how you can claim your very own piece of Scotland, a square foot of land at the Laphroaig distillery in Islay. At the same time, enter the Laphroaig competition and stand a chance of winning a trip for two to Scotland. You can also sample the Laphroaig 18 year old – which will be available in South Africa for the first time at the festival.
  • Purchase a bottle of Maker’s Mark, take it to the stand and dip it in its trademark red wax. This special bottle will also have a label stating that it was dipped by you at Whisky Live Festival!
  • Sample a “home grown” dram:  Moritz Kallmeyer, owner and distiller the Draymans Highveld Single Malt Whisky, will be launching the first ever Single Malt produced and matured entirely on the Highveld of South Africa.
  • Tantalise your taste buds: The Pick ‘n Pay Food and Whisky Pairing Zone is showcasing the fine art of pairing the sublime flavours of whisky with the intricate taste of fresh oysters, salmon, handmade chocolates, Italian meats, chocolate, and French cheeses.
  • Meet the Master: Master Distiller, Dennis Malcolm of Glen Grant will be hosting two workshops every evening in Johannesburg, taking you through an interactive informal workshop on understanding the significance of copper stills in the whisky distillation process in the Glen Grant Distillation Zone.
  • Get into ‘the zone’: Global Ambassadors from The Macallan return to demonstrate the importance of wood in The Macallan Maturation Zone, which will provide visitors with a fascinating insight into the affect wood has on the colour and flavours of The Macallan range.
  • Whip up wicked whisky cocktails: The team from Schweppes and LiquidChefs will be returning with a bigger and more flamboyant whisky cocktail making area, challenging you to rustle up you own whisky cocktail creations.
  • Download the first ever festival app: The Whisky Live application, in association with CORE GROUP, the Apple Authorised distributors for Southern Africa, will be available to Whiskey Lovers soon. It can be downloaded onto iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads, will give you a comprehensive guide to the whiskies available for tasting, indicate where they are situated in the tasting hall and furthermore, categorise the whiskies by flavour, enabling you to discover more whiskies that suit your palate.
  • Meet Ian MacMillan, master distiller and blender of Bunnahabhain, a name synonymous with the best in single malts and experience a private tasting at the Cape Town festival. For the Johannesburg show, Ian will only be available for the first evening (10 November) after which esteemed whisky connoisseur and Master of the Quaich, Pierre Meintjes, will conduct the private tastings. MacMillan, who has over 35 years’ experience in whisky distilling and blending, will incorporate the rich history and unique characteristics of Bunnahabhain’s three single malts, which he produces on the Isle of Islay, during the private tastings. Bookings for the private tastings need to be made on the evening at the Bunnahabhain stand during Whisky Live.
  •  Go on...treat yourself! The much sought-after Lexus Whisky Lifestyle Lounge will once again provide the perfect setting for networking and client entertainment or simply meeting up with like-minded friends in relaxed and enjoyable surroundings. The lounge, which is situated within the Tasting Hall, will for the first time ever host the addition of The Whisky Boutique Bar, offering a selection of approximately six premium whiskies not available in the Tasting Hall.   This new unique deluxe whisky experience will be hosted by world whisky experts Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine, and Dave Broom, international award winning whisky writer.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Come and chat to....

Some of the more famous names in the Whisky World who are waiting to welcome you to the joys of the spirit…

Andy Watts              Three Ships & Bain’s Cape Mountain
Billy Walker              BenRiach
Gerry Tosh                Highland Park
Ian Logan                 The Glenlivet
Ian MacMillan           Bunnahabhain / Black Bottle
Jonathan Miles          Old Pulteney
Juliette Buchanan       Benromach
Karen Fullerton         Glenmorangie / Ardbeg
Pierre Meintjes          Bunnahabhain
Rob Samuels             Makers Mark
Robert Fleming           Tomintoul
Rob Allanson              Whisky Magazine
Rynard van Der Westhuizen                  Classic Malts, Johnnie Walker

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

COMPETITION TIME - Win a R 2500.00 value prize including tickets for Friday night and whisky.

Whisky Renegade Visits SA

Celebrity chef and whisky connoisseur Bruce Campbell challenges whisky-making traditions at this year’s FNB Whisky Live Festival

  This year’s FNB Whisky Live Festival will see international celebrity chef and whisky connoisseur, Bruce Campbell, introducing festival-goers to his revolutionary new approach to whisky-making. The “Bruce Campbell way” dispels all traditional methods of this age-old art, opting for more time saving and cost effective means of creating the ‘Water Of Life,’ as it was originally known.

Bruce was first made famous locally in brandhouse’s ‘Scotland From Home’ ad campaign which ran on local television and saw Bruce travelling throughout Scotland to educate some of the industry’s best known master distillers, blenders and distillery managers in the “Bruce Campbell way” of whisky-making (visit to see all the videos).

The “Bruce Campbell way” favours a number of new whisky-making methods including using plastic barrels instead of customary oak casks to mature the whisky (thereby effectively eliminating any evaporation that might take place during the maturation process) and drying the malted barley over a charcoal fire instead of the traditional, time-consuming method of smoking it in peat fires.

Bruce’s tongue-in-cheek methods may not produce whisky that is in any way palatable, but they have certainly caused a stir in the whisky-drinking community.

“What Bruce is doing,” says Rynard Van Der Westhuizen, brandhouse’s local whisky connoisseur, presenter and guru, “while saving a lot of time and money in the whisky-making process, ends up producing a liquid that tastes nothing like the real thing.”

 “There are no shortcuts in the time-honoured process of making whisky,” says Van Der Westhuizen, “the methods we’ve been using to make whisky have evolved over literally hundreds of years because they produce a liquid of exceptional character that is enjoyed throughout the world. Personally, I’ll be very interested to meet Bruce at the festival and see what he has to say, but anyone who follows his philosophy when it comes to making whisky is clearly missing the point entirely.”

Whether you’re a believer in the “Bruce Campbell Way” or not, his stay in the country promises to be an interesting one as he tackles traditions head on in his quest to create Scottish whisky from home.

Visit Bruce’s stand at this year’s FNB Whisky Live Festival where he will be regaling passersby with his whisky knowledge and giving away a whisky hamper worth R2500 to one lucky winner. The FNB Whisky Live Festival is taking place from the 3 – 5 November at the Cape Town International Convention Centre and 10 – 12 November at the Sandton Convention Centre in Jo’burg.

Not for Sale or available to Persons Under the Age of 18.  Drink Responsibly.

The question is: What type of wood must whisky be matured in?
Answers to before 9 on Friday morning.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



The Three Ships Select and Three Ships Premium Select 5-year old have raised their international reputation by earning gold and best in class awards at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) held in Surrey, United Kingdom.

This follows hot on the heels of the impressive medals garnered at the 2010 International Spirits Challenge held in London and announced last week, where the Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish received gold, the Three Ships Premium Select 5-year old silver and the Three Ships Select earned a bronze medal.

Andy Watts, master distiller of the Three Ships range, produced at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, says the international recognition for the brand in the space of two weeks is a remarkable achievement.

“The world is open to South African whiskies these days and by competing against the best in the world, it shows our ability to produce exceptional whisky.  With the style of a whisky becoming increasingly important as perceptions change and whisky lovers begin to value style rather than age alone, Three Ships is regularly seen on the world stage. “

The James Sedgwick Distillery was established in 1886 and has been making Three Ships for over two decades.

DATE                          9 August 2010
ISSUED BY                 De Kock Communications (DKC)
ON BEHALF OF         Three Ships 
ENQUIRIES                Andy Watts, master distiller,
                                    Liezl Dippenaar, brand manager 021 809 8159
                                    Linda Christensen, DKC (021) 873 2199


Bunnahabhain, produced on the Isle of Islay, has received a halo of golden awards for all three single malts at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits Challenge (IWSC) held in Surrey, United Kingdom. The Bunnahabhain 25-year old received gold and best in class whilst the 12- and 18- year olds both received gold awards.

The IWSC attracted entries from over 80 countries and all were tasted blind followed by a detailed technical and chemical analysis. To ensure perfect conditions, the premises include temperature-controlled cellars, a fully equipped independent laboratory and three tasting rooms.

According to South African marketing manager, Brian Glass, the remarkable achievements by all three single malts is testimony to the exceptional quality and unique taste of Bunnahabhain.
“The whiskies are all known for their gentle taste profile and unique character. Unlike most single malts from Islay, Bunnahabhain is crafted from unpeated malted barley and the pure spring water that flows freely underground, untainted by the peaty moorlands. For those either new to single malts or who prefer the slightly fruitier offerings from Islay select Bunnahabhain as their whisky of choice.”

Crafted by master distiller Ian MacMillan, who has over 35 years’ experience in whisky distilling and blending, Bunnahabhain has a heritage dating back to 1881 and hails from the world-renowned Isle of Islay off the west-coast of Scotland. Meaning mouth of the river in Scottish Gaelic, it is pronounced Bū-na-ha-venn and refers to the Margadale River which flows close by. 

The Bunnahabhain 12- year old retails for about R485, the 18-year old retails for R725 and the 25-year old for R1 950 per 750ml bottle. For more information please visit

Notes to Editors
Bunnahabhain belongs to the portfolio of Burn Stewart Distillers, integrated Scotch whisky producer and brand owner with a portfolio of leading whisky brands, including Black Bottle and Scottish Leader. Distell and Burn Stewart Distillers are involved in a joint venture as equal partners, owning and marketing the selection of whiskies in sub-Saharan Africa.

DATE                         9 August 2010
QUERIES                   BRIAN GLASS, DISTELL (021) 809 7000
                                    LINDA CHRISTENSEN, DKC (021) 873 2199


Launched just over two years ago in South Africa, Black Bottle is a blend of all the renowned single malts from Islay balanced by mainland malt and grain whiskies, making it one of the most unique whiskies around.  A regular medal winner at international competitions it has recently received gold at the prestigious 2009 International Spirits Challenge and silver at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits Competition.
The daringly bold taste of Black Bottle has been praised by critics and whisky-lovers across the world, and over the years it has secured a cult-following for its unique history and profile. 
According to South African marketing manager Brian Glass, Black Bottle is an extraordinary blend of the diverse taste profiles from Islay and there are very few, if any, whiskies that come close in terms of style.
“Most people have the perception that all Islay whiskies are heavily peated but the island produces a range of different styles. Bunnahabhain, a key component of Black Bottle, is an unpeated whisky and brings a fresh, fruity taste in contrast to the peated whiskies for which Islay is famous. This gentle whisky together with the mainland malt and grain whiskies combine exceptionally well with the heavily peated styles from the south of Islay and gives the Black Bottle blend a wonderful balance.” 
Black Bottle has a rich and golden colour, with a nose that is immediately fresh and fruity, with hints of peat. The palate is full, with a slightly honeyed sweetness, followed by a distinctive smoky flavour. The finish is long and warming, with a smoky, Islay character coming through.
Black Bottle boasts a proud and fascinating heritage, with its origins in late 19th century Aberdeen where the tea merchant Gordon Graham’s ability to blend tea soon moved to the blending of whiskies. This particular blend, which he marketed in opaque black bottles, in time became the whisky of choice of the locals of Aberdeen.
The brand’s history also abounds with other fascinating characters such as the impressive matriarch Anne Jane Graham, known as Granny Graham. Known for her strong will, she even changed her nephew’s surname to Graham to ensure that the family name would continue its association with Black Bottle.
Today, the whisky’s blending traditions are maintained by master blender Ian MacMillan, a whisky industry veteran of more than 35 years.
Black Bottle is available from leading liquor outlets and retails for about R180 per 750ml bottle.
Notes to the editor
Black Bottle belongs to the portfolio of Burn Stewart Distillers, an integrated Scotch whisky producer and brand owner with a portfolio of leading brands, including Bunnahabhain.  Burn Stewart is owned by CL WorldBrands, the UK-based global drinks group with distribution networks in Europe, the US and the Far East.  Distell is in a joint venture with the company that also involves distributing a selection of its whiskies in sub-Saharan Africa.

DATE                         15 August 2010
FOR                            BLACK BOTTLE
QUERIES                   BRIAN GLASS, DISTELL (021) 809 7000
                                    LINDA CHRISTENSEN, DKC (021) 873 2199



Following the successful launch of South Africa’s first single grain whisky late last year,
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky will now be available in accessible 50ml packs.

Made from recyclable PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) the bottle is light and moulded in the distinctive square shape synonymous with the larger 750ml design.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky recently made its debut in the international competitive arena and in the space of just two weeks it received a gold and best-in-class at the 2010 International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and a silver award at the 2010 International Spirits Competition, both held in the United Kingdom. 

According to brand manager Liezl Dippenaar, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is the only South African produced whisky available in a 50ml at this stage.

“Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is a uniquely South African product and immensely popular, which is why we wanted to extend its reach to more people and by doing so increase the usage occasion for consumers. The handy 50ml format is perfect for hotel and lodge rooms and to serve aboard airplanes.  In-store, it is also an ideal single size for someone looking to try the brand or for a more convenient serving.”

Created by master distiller Andy Watts at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, the whisky is made from the finest quality South African grain. Double-matured in specially selected oak casks, the whisky spends an initial three years maturing before being released from wood and then re-vatted for a further two years’ maturation to continue the distinctive extraction of flavours.

The whisky shows an exceptional interaction between spirit and wood to produce a mix of toffee, floral and vanilla aromas and flavours with a hint of spice softened by sweet undertones. The result is a warm and extended mouthfeel with an exceptionally smooth finish.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky takes its name from the Bain’s Kloof Pass, opened in 1853, and according to Watts the pass harmonises seamlessly with its natural surroundings.

“At its base the road cuts into the mountain slopes and winds its way through pine forests and fynbos where many protea species grow on the higher mountain slopes. The whisky pays tribute not only to one of the most picturesque and magnificent passes in South Africa but also honours Andrew Geddes Bain, the creative mind behind its construction.”

The leopards on the crest represent the Cape Mountain leopards which have lived in and roamed the area of Bain’s Kloof Pass for hundreds of years. Regal and agile, these reclusive predators keep to the steep, inaccessible slopes of the rugged mountains. Today, the numbers of these endangered cats have been dramatically reduced but rare sightings are reported from time to time.

DATE                         30 August 2010
ISSUED BY               De Kock Communications (DKC)
ON BEHALF OF       Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
ENQUIRIES              Liezl Dippenaar, brand manager, (021) 809 8159                                                                              Linda Christensen, DKC (021) 873 2199



Van Ryn’s Distillery near Stellenbosch has extended its brandy and food pairing options to include a new charcuterie platter of artisanal, organically-cured meats made by Steve Jeffery.

Using some recipes passed down in his family over nine generations, Jeffery supplies just a handful of specialty outlets with his hand-made, preservative-free meats that he produces from his own organically-farmed livestock.

He has selected three meats to complement three brandies produced by the distillery, a five-year-old, a ten-year-old and a 15-year-old. They are the superbly matured Viceroy Five Year Old, a delicately balanced combination of fruit and wood; the internationally awarded Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old Vintage Brandy, with its heady aroma of ripe pears, almonds and tastes of tobacco, malt and coffee; as well as another regular gold medallist abroad, Van Ryn’s Fine Cask Reserve 15 Year Old potstill, widely appreciated for its honey, citrus fruitiness and creamy palate. 

The meats are meant to be enjoyed with all three brandies, with patrons deciding which combination they like best.

Jeffery’s three meats are a bauernspeck, made from pork belly dry-cured with salt, juniper berries and bay leaves and then smoked over oak; pancetta, also made from pork belly but from which the fat has been mostly removed and then dry-cured with salt and pepper, after which it is pressed to dry and then hung to mature; and bresoala, made from a thick flank of beef, dry-cured in a press with salt and then hung to mature.

Says Van Ryn’s Gerhard du Toit: “The three brandies provide a delicious counterpoint to the smoky flavours of the three meats and express once again how versatile brandy can be.”

The new pairing option, designed for the more savoury-toothed, is available at a cost of R50 a serving.  Van Ryn’s also presents the 15 Year Old potstill, served with a trio of brownie, blondie and honey squares at R45 per person, as well as a brandy, chocolate and coffee combination at R60 a head, featuring the 12, 15 and 20 year-old potstills -  all international medalists - with a chocolate to complement each, rounded off with a single-estate Honduran coffee.  These offerings are exclusive to the distillery.

The five-star distillery, last year a national winner in the SA Tourism Welcome Awards, is open every day over the summer, including Sundays.  For trading and tour times, visit

DATE             JULY 20, 2010
(021) 809 7000 (SWITCHBOARD)



After winning two gold medals on the recent International Spirits Challenge ISC) in London, the distillery near Stellenbosch, has just returned with three best-in-class scores, two gold and three silver medals on the International Wine & Spirits Challenge (IWSC), also in London.

The Van Ryn’s 12 Year Old Distillers Reserve, the most decorated brandy in the Collection Reserve portfolio took gold and the top score in its category, while Van Ryn’s Fine Cask Reserve, a 2010 ISC gold medallist, also returned with a gold medal and best marks in its class.

The judges described the 12 Year old as having a “very attractive nose (that) simply oozes fine quality with aromatics of maturity, alongside a tremendous array floral and perfumed notes and a whole range of dried fruits.  (Its) mouth lives up to … the nose…and delivers even more.”  The 15 Year Old is called “glorious” with a “nose filled (with a) complex composition of ripe fruit, dried fruit, spice” and as having a “big, rich, full-flavoured mouth with fine satin texture and great balance.”

The Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old Vintage brandy came back with the top score in its class as well as a silver medal, following its gold on this year’s ISC.

The Van Ryn’s 20 Year Old Collectors Reserve earned silver.

Van Ryn’s has won the Worldwide Best Brandy award three times on the IWSC, and twice on the ISC.

DATE             JULY 29, 2010
TESSA DE KOCK/MARLISE POTGIETER, DKC (021) 422 2690         



Two Oceans, an established favourite of the Canadians, is increasingly tripping off the tongues of the Americans, following rave reviews that also highlight the brand’s exceptional value.

The most recent accolades include an A rating from authoritative magazine, Wine Enthusiast, with a Best Buy recommendation in its September 2010 issue for the 2009 Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc and an A+ score for the 2009 Two Oceans Shiraz from well-known wine writer, critic and blogger, Natalie MacLean, who describes the wine as a “Good Value Pick”.

The latest recommendations co-incide with soaring sales in the US, as well as ongoing global growth for the brand, in defiance of the protracted recession.

Earlier vintages of both wines have also been positively reviewed by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, receiving A+ scores, while noted for their outstanding value.

Wine Enthusiast describes the Sauvignon blanc as “nice and fresh” with “notes of tropical fruit, ripe gooseberry, tangerine and sweet grass supported by pineapple acidity. (It is) balanced and easy to drink with a crisp, clean finish.”

The same wine also comes in for an A+ rating from veteran Canadian critic, Anthony  Gismondi likes its “fresh, bright green fruit nose with bits of honey and an undercurrent of grass.”  He also “love(s) the balance and fruit not too sweet not too bitter and the light passion fruit finish” and praises its ability to “over deliver(s) for the price.

MacLean praises the Shiraz for its “juicy purple plums, blueberries and blackberries with a supple, smooth texture.”

Spokesperson for the brand, Carlen Groenewald says the consistency of good reviews in North America that focus simultaneously on quality and value, has helped to build the Two Oceans profile in one of its most important sales regions.  “For the majority of winelovers, especially when choosing easy-drinking, everyday wines, top quality is not enough.  Demonstrable value is a critical factor driving purchasing decisions. With leading opinion-formers continuously focusing on the Two Oceans combination of great taste and value, the brand is able to stand out in a highly competitive arena.”

She adds that Two Oceans remains the top-selling South African wine brand in Canada, while sales in key markets such as the UK, Germany, Holland, Europe, Latin America and Africa are robustly on the rise.

Locally, she says, there has been continued critical affirmation of the wines in the range: “In addition to the regularly published good ratings, in a recent blind tasting conducted in South Africa, involving a panel of  journalists and a wine adviser to one of the leading supermarket chains, these same two wines, when appraised alongside similarly priced wines produced in South Africa, as well as Australia and the US, received a big thumbs-up from the majority, for their superior taste.”

In South Africa, Two Oceans whites sell for around R26 and reds for R28.

DATE                         AUGUST 4, 2010
FOR                            TWO OCEANS WINES
QUERIES                   CARLEN GROENEWALD, DISTELL GENERAL MARKETING MANAGER: WINES +27 21 809 7000 or 082 371 1997
                                    TESSA DE KOCK/MARLISE POTGIETER, DKC + 27 21 4222690

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First the Vuvuzela, now the AmaShibobo

Its been a long time since I had a shooter of anything other than tequila so I was intrigued to try the AmaShibobo, a World Cup special shooter creation from Distell, in funky soccer ball shape glasses. 

Individually the Amarula drink is the most popular of the trio of Amarula, Peppermint Liqueur and Nachtmusik, the chocolate drink that goes well with coffee and a favourite with locals and tourists.

Not having floated anything other than cream on an Irish coffee for a while, it took me a few attempts to get the green, gold and brown liquids perfect in the glass, but the end result, in taste and appearance, was very good. I enjoyed the combination of the creaminess of the Amarula and the Nachtmusik with the fresh, herbal flavours of the peppermint liqueur.

The shooter can be enjoyed anytime and the individual drinks are not out of place in any bar. Your World Cup soccer experience will be improved with this drink - even if your team is not playing too well.

Viva Bafana. Viva AmaShibobo.

Here is the official press release:


Two’s company and three’s a crowd, which is exactly what you want when festivity is in the air.  Amarula, known globally as the spirit of Africa, is celebrating the continent’s hosting of the biggest sporting event in the world with a three-in-one soccer shooter, AmaShibobo.  Created to mark the tournament, it is made by mixing equal parts of Amarula Cream with Nachtmusik and Oude Meester Peppermint Liqueur.

Says brand manager Lynette Harris: “Ideally you should use a shot glass. Start by pouring the Nachtmusik, follow with the Oude Meester Peppermint Liqueur and top off with the Amarula to create a beautifully layered drink.  First you will encounter the decadently delicious and creamy fusion of marula fruit and fresh cream, that’s reminiscent of vanilla, citrus and exotic spice.  It will be lifted by fresh, tangy peppermint flavours and rounded off with the rich, smooth taste of chocolate.

“A true mark of hospitality that’s impressive to look at and absolutely sensational on the palate, AmaShibobo makes a great way of toasting the teams and enjoying the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, regardless of who takes home the trophy.”

In an agreement with FIFA, Amarula is entitled to market a limited-edition 750 ml pack to commemorate South Africa’s hosting of the games.  On sale now, it is available nationwide and retails for around R85 a bottle.

For further information on Amarula Cream please visit and on the Amarula Trust  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Classy winery and classy wines in the heart of Cape Town

Jean-Vincent Ridon - JV to his mates - makes some awesome wines. We shared a glass or two of his wines on Monday evening when I popped in to his new wine venture in the City Center. With food from HQ and Caveau, two of the best foodie places in Cape Town and JV and his business partner Kyle sorting out the wines, the Signal Hill City winery is going to be a winner. There is so much going on and JV and Kyle are great hosts.

If you love wine, this is the place for you. If you love wine and food, pitch a tent outside. It really is that good.


Reuniting the city of Cape Town with its glorious past of growing vines and producing wine, Signal Hill Winery is opening its new micro experimental winery to the public, in Heritage Square. This historic building dates back to 1771, and is in the very heart of the city.

Established in 1997, Signal Hill Winery re-ignited the flame that was lit 350 years ago, putting the South African wine industry onto a path made of honourable tradition and innovative experimentation, in the process of creating wines celebrated both in South Africa and internationally.

Under the management of Kyle Zulch, and JV Ridon, both renowned winemakers, Signal Hill winery is offering "première" wines, and unmatchable experiences - from exotic cultivars, to rejuvenated ancient methods, and a new generation of world class wines nurtured and carefully crafted with passion and hedonism.

The new interactive winery will offer barrel tastings, blending classes, sparkling wine disgorgement classes, and tutored wine tastings. Depending on the season, visitors will be able to participate in the harvest activities of the city vineyards, the crushing and pressing of the grapes in a traditional wood basket-press and assist with racking or bottling of some of Signal Hill’s iconic wines.

But to make the experience truly unforgettable, Signal Hill Winery is welcoming wine lovers to its wine bar and restaurant. Signal Hill wines along with other internationally acclaimed wines will be available to match the most exciting foods. Grenache Blanc with tuna sashimi, Petit Verdot with a grilled grain fed beef sirloin or the very rare Camps Bay wine with a paired creation of our chefs

Open 11:00 to 19:00, Monday to Friday, and 12:00 to 17:00 on Saturday, Signal Hill Winery will also be offering exclusive wine dinners with the celebrity Sommelier Jorg Pfüzner, from Fine Wine Events. These small dinners inside the winery, will be based on rare and vintage wines, paired with the creativity of our chefs. These exclusive events will be offered to Signal Hill faithful supporters, and will include mind blowing rarities... The coming months events will be based around 1923 Romanée Saint Vivant from Burgundy, or 1947 Clos d'Eglise from Pomerol, not mentioning 1950 Barsac Sauterne or 1957 Chateauneuf du Pape, specially flown from collectors' European cellars.

During the harvest season, the City Vineyards Festival will take place on Heritage Square, and the grapes from Signal Hill Winery’s vineyards in Oranjezicht, Camps Bay and Kalk Bay will be pressed on our premises and be open to the public. This will allow all wine lovers to grab a magical touch of the harvest, in the heart of the city, as it first happened in February 1659, a few blocks away from our historic winery. As a journey into the past, the oldest known fruit bearing vine of the Southern Hemisphere, believed to have survived since the 18th century, will be harvested by Signal Hill’s team of winemakers, and handcrafted into a legacy wine, a living legend.

Learn more about Signal Hill tastings and experiences on our website, and join us - For an educational wine tasting, a teasing glass of wine with friends or a full food and wine pairing moment led by our winemakers for a more personal touch - something unique in the wine world..

Signal Hill winery is located 100 Shortmarket street, Heritage Square, Cape Town. For more information:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bushmills strikes gold in San Francisco

Irish Whiskey was named as the world’s fastest growing international spirits category by IWSR (2008).
• Results for Bushmills at 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition:
o Bushmills 1608 - Double Gold and named Best Irish Whiskey
o Bushmills Black Bush - Double Gold
o Bushmills Original - Gold
o Bushmills 10 Year Old Single Malt - Gold
o Bushmills 16 Year Old Single Malt - Gold
o Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt - Gold
• Results for Bushmills at 2010 World Whiskies Awards:
o Bushmills Black Bush named Best Irish Blended Whiskey (no age)
o Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt named World’s Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey
o Bushmills 16 Year Old Single Malt named Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey (13 – 20 year old)

Bushmills Irish Whiskey is celebrating after sweeping the board at the prestigious 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. As well as winning Best Irish Whiskey, the Bushmills range picked up two double gold and four gold accolades, making Bushmills one of the few international spirit brands ever to scoop 100% gold in the international competition. This comes hot on the heels of the range winning three World Whiskies Awards in London earlier this year.

Now in its tenth year, The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is one of the largest and most respected spirits competitions in the world - attracting more than one thousand entries from around the globe. Bushmills took home top awards for its entire range of Irish Whiskies, with the Black Bush and 1608 blends each claiming double gold and Bushmills Original and the 10, 16 and 21 Year Old Single Malt Whiskies all winning gold. Bushmills 1608 was also named Best Irish Whiskey.

Colum Egan, Bushmills Master Distiller, said: “This is an incredible achievement for Bushmills. We like to think that we make the world’s finest Irish whiskey – it’s great to hear that the experts share that opinion and the team at the distillery are absolutely thrilled. We’ll definitely be cracking open a bottle and raising a glass to celebrate our wins!”

In February, at the London ceremony of the 2010 World Whiskies Awards, Bushmills Black Bush was named Best Irish Blended Whiskey (no age), while Bushmills 21 Year Old Single Malt was named World’s Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey and Bushmills 16 Year Old Single Malt was named Best Irish Single Malt Whiskey in the 13 – 20 year old category.

“The awards are further recognition of the outstanding quality of Bushmills,” said Sarah Miles, Bushmills Global Brand Director. “It’s a real achievement to be placed at the forefront of the fastest growing international spirits category in the world today. Irish whiskey is obviously a competitive market and so we’re delighted that the excellence of our liquid has been recognised by our peers.”

Colum Egan added, “We like to think that we know a good bit about making whiskey, since it’s been made in the Bushmills area for more than 400 years. And this year the global search for someone to ‘Make it at Bushmills’ opens the doors of the distillery to one lucky winner who will work alongside me for 30 days to learn the secrets that make Bushmills the award-winning Irish whiskey it is today.”

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bourbon and Tequila confusion

I enjoy Maker's Mark Bourbon. I enjoy Cuervo Tequila. But I have never confused the two. Diageo stopped using the red wax seal six years ago, but what does this mean to some of the smaller wine producers who use the wax seal and other spirits producers? Maker's Mark is a great Bourbon, but I wonder what the point was of this litigation?

SAN FRANCISCO, April 5 (Reuters) - Fortune Brands Inc's (FO.N) Maker's Mark brand has won a ruling in U.S. district court in Kentucky that prohibits Jose Cuervo International and distributor Diageo (DGE.L) from using a dripping red wax seal on its tequila bottles, the company said on Monday.

Maker's Mark, a premium brand of bourbon, is topped off with red wax in a design that is "off limits to our competitors," said Maker's Mark President Bill Samuels in a statement.

The ruling prohibits Jose Cuervo International Inc, its affiliates and the company's U.S. distributor, Diageo North America, from the infringing use, Fortune said.

Diageo said it had voluntarily ceased using the wax seal over six years ago, ajavascript:void(0)dding in a statement that neither it nor Cuervo had been found liable for monetary damages.

Federal Judge John G. Heyburn III issued an injunction against future use, finding that consumers could be confused about Cuervo products, given the similar seal. (

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bisquit Cognac.

It’s a pleasure to drink high quality, fine tasting premium spirits and a sunny afternoon in the Cape a media launch of Bisquit Cognac is as good a time and a place as any to do both.

When liquor giant Distell spent close on R 400 million to purchase Bisquit I thought it was a brave move in a tight economy. It’s not easy breaking in to the top end of a market here with a new product – albeit with a 200 year history - I was curious to see what they had planned.

Sometimes media launches work, sometimes they don’t. Many things can go wrong – the product and the environment don’t match; the product is over-hyped but does not follow through on quality; or too much glamour, too little substance.

Not this time. Attendees toured sun-filled rooms where the heritage (did you know that the founder of Bisquit was one of the first people to sell spirits by the bottle, not by the cask?) and production were explained by enthusiastic and knowledgeable brand and marketing managers. Nose extraordinaire and international spirits judge Johan Venter, the Distell Group director of production conducted the formal tasting. The canapés were classy and the music set the right mood. What about the drinks?

Occasionally we find a standout premium spirit. Singleton Single Malt whisky and Patron Café Tequila are examples of winners - products that taste great and sell very well.

I think Bisquit Cognac is a winner. Firstly, it tastes very good. That’s the most important to me. Forget the fancy packaging and media hype. The Cognacs I tasted were drinks that I would go out and buy, to drink. Not to sit on a shelf and look pretty, but to enjoy. No amount of marketing can make up for a product that consumers don’t enjoy. And this is something consumers will enjoy, a great deal. There was a wonderful look of anticipation on the faces of the media people as the tasting glasses of the VS Classique and VSOP Fine Champagne entered the room and the rich apricot aroma filled the air. And after the tasting the glasses were empty. That’s always a good sign.

Thankfully Cognac is no longer the preserve of old men with big bellies who fall asleep after lunch. Seemingly to reinforce Distell’s apparent aim of introducing the Classique Cognac to a younger target market, the Classique was served as the welcome drink in a cocktail – with lime, lemon, lemonade and a slice of cucumber. It will be interesting to see what cocktails our top mixologists can come up with. There’s a thought, Distell. You have a great product that good bartenders would love working with. I see a competition coming up…

The VSOP Fine Champagne is incredible. It rivals single malt whiskies with its complexity and depth of flavour. It overtakes some single malts with the intensity of the rich fruits. I think it is perfect on its own or with a splash of chilled water.

Distell have a serious approach to their investment and are planning to make major inroads into a South African Cognac market previously dominated by Hennessey, Remy Martin, Courvoisier & Martell. Is there room for Cognac Bisquit? Definitely. Lovers of premium spirits will do well to add this to their liquor cabinets.

Drink less, but drink better.


For any questions about sales, distribution etc please call LEE-ANNE LOTZ, BRAND MANAGER (021) 809 7000 OR 083 331 1936 and for PR info call TESSA DE KOCK/MARLISE POTGIETER, DKC (021) 422 2690

Thursday, March 25, 2010



Cape Town, 25th March This year the Bushmills Master Distiller Colum Egan has taken the unprecedented step of offering to share his unique life in the town of Bushmills, Northern Ireland for a month. This global opportunity will see one person spend 30 days at the heart of the area and community that was granted a licence to distil whiskey in 1608.

If they can prove to Colum that they have embraced the special Bushmills way of life and can ‘Make it at Bushmills’ then, at the end of their 30 days, they will get to be the first ever person outside of the distillery to create their own blend of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

Set against the stunning backdrop of Ireland’s north coast the winner will get to experience the best of Bushmills for those 30 days, from the secrets of making the finest Irish whiskey to discovering the unique personality and sense of adventure that are an integral part of the Bushmills community.

Colum Egan said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for someone to come to the home of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and get a truly unique experience of what goes on here. I'm looking for someone with a sense of adventure, someone who's passionate about life and a whiskey lover, someone who's ready to share the Bushmills story with the world”

“Over the past 400 years we’ve learned a lot about making great whiskey and a lot about enjoying it! That’s something we want to share, from learning how to select the perfect mature whiskey, to learning the best way to catch a good salmon…or even one of our world-famous waves! It’s all part of the Bushmills way of life. If someone can prove to us that they have what it takes to ‘Make it at Bushmills’ then we’d be delighted to let them be the first person outside of the distillery to work alongside me to create their own special blend of Bushmills Irish Whiskey – hopefully it’s not too good or I’ll be out of a job!”

The global search for someone to ‘Make it at Bushmills’ will give millions of people the chance to apply online through the Bushmills Facebook page. For the winner there are the added attractions of £5,000 in spending money and an all expenses paid 30 days in Ireland, living in luxury penthouse accommodation.

If you think that you have what it takes to ‘Make it at Bushmills’ then visit the local page on Facebook (Bushmills South Africa) to become a fan and enter the competition. Entries open on the 24th March and close on the 30th June, after which time Colum’s local favourites will be short-listed for the next phase of the competition.


For further information please contact:
Tony Niemeyer
Account Manager
Atmosphere Communications
Direct tel: 021 469 1584
Cell: 072 442 2230

Jennifer Rawlins
Account Assistant
Atmosphere Communications
Direct tel: 021 469 1541
Cell: 084 393 0916