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