Celebrating its tenth anniversary, The FNB Whisky Live Festival has grown into the largest, liveliest and most entertaining whisky event of its kind, attracting more visitors and brands than any other whisky festival globally.
This year's inaugural Durban show, which kicks off on Thursday, 1 November and runs until Friday, 2 November (18h00 - 22h00 daily) at the Durban International Convention Centre, promises loads to taste, see and experience.
Master Blender, Ian MacMillan, the man behind Bunnahabhain and Black Bottle. Credit: SUPPLIED
“There is absolutely something for everyone over the age of 18 who's even slightly curious about whisky. Whether you're a first-time taster, a passionate connoisseur, or an every-man enthusiast keen to learn, see, taste more, the FNB Whisky Live Festival has something for you. Every glass of every dram - new or old - holds some new mystery, some new discovery,” says Sian Neubert, Co-founder of the FNB Whisky Live Festival.
There's so much for Durbanites to experience at the inaugural FNB Whisky Live Festival, the organisers have compiled a “to-do” list to help you plan your festival experience. You can also download the daily itinerary detailing the times of these free experiences at www.whiskylivefestival.co.za
The Glen Grant Distillation Zone: Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm of Glen Grant will host workshops each evening, taking you through an interactive, informal process to better understand the significance of copper stills in the whisky distillation process.
The Pick n Pay Canapé and Whisky Pairing Zone: Let international food and whisky guru Martine Nouet show you how to pair whisky with canapés, giving you ideas to create the perfect whisky cocktail party at home.
Whisky workshops: The FNB Whisky Live Festival Whisky Workshops regularly sell out thanks to the opportunity to taste unique whiskies generally unavailable in the Tasting Hall or even in South Africa. More than this, these one-hour fun and entertaining tutorials, led by whisky experts with a knack of explaining whisky jargon in simple everyday language, will completely revolutionise the way you taste and value whisky.
For every whisky, there is a watch to match: Tag Heuer and Chopard reveal their new collections.
Make it a night to remember: The FNB Whisky Live Festival has partnered with Tsogo Sun. Various accommodation packages are available - visit www.whiskylivefestival.co.za - which will enable you to enjoy the event and travel home safely the next morning. Prices range from R1 125.00 per person to R1 310.00 per couple and bookings can be made via www.joburgtourism.com/packages/gr-2.
Arrive in style: Hertz are offering pre-booked Chauffeur Drives that can be reserved by calling 08000 43789, allowing festival-goers to arrive and leave in style. On the night, Hertz will also be offering a cash-only shuttle service, with shuttles departing at 22h00 at a cost of R75 per person.
Rare whisky collectibles and new releases
Become a collector: A very limited number of visitors will have the opportunity to fill their own, unique, 2012 FNB Whisky Live Festival Special Bottling of very rare 19 year old GlenDronach single cask at the GlenDronach stand. Get yours before the FNB Whisky Live Festival 10th birthday celebration cask, cask number 10, runs out!
Hidden gems: Seek out the new hidden gems at the festival including whiskies from Kilchoman and Balblair distilleries.
Keep walking: Be among the first to taste Johnnie Walker's Platinum Label. (A bottle, signed by master blender, Jim Beveridge, is currently on auction, with the bid already sitting at R115 100.00.) Scheduled for release in stores in early November, let experts from the House of Walker talk you through the flavours in their exclusive experiential tasting zone. Retailing at R900.00 per bottle, Johnnie Walker Platinum Label will be available at the Picardi-Rebel outlet at the festival for R825.00 while stocks last.
It's all in the cask: Taste the complex flavours of Glenmorangie's malt Scotch whisky, distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills, in the north of Scotland and expertly matured in the finest oak casks. Sign up for a tasting at the Glenmorangie Tasting Room, held every 45 minutes on a first come, first serve basis.
A luxe tasting: Visitors to the Glenfiddich stand are in for a treat, with brand ambassadors presenting limited tastings of Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch whisky.
Proudly South African: Book a private whisky tasting with Andy Watts, master distiller of Three Ships and Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky.
From MacMillan to Meintjes: To meet multi-national experts, from Scotland to South Africa, book a private whisky tasting at Black Bottle and Bunnahabhain for an exclusive whisky experience.
Kick back: Relax with a whisky cocktail at Thirst's Speakeasy Bar, themed around 1920s nostalgia, while you read the Thirst Gazette and enjoy the laid-back vibe of Gagasi FM.
Meet the Masters and Whisky Aficionados
The Tasting Hall is filled with whisky aficionados - be sure to meet them at their stands:
BenRiach/ GlenDronach - Billy Walker, Master Distiller
Glen Grant - Dennis Malcolm, Master Distiller
Johnnie Walker - Dr. Nick Morgan, Master Distiller/ Andrew Bardsley, Communications and Development Manager, Diageo's Global Malts
Glenmorangie - Karen Fullerton, Global Brand Ambassador
The Compass Box - John Glaser, Master Distiller
Bunnahabhain/ Black Bottler - Ian McMillan, Master Distiller
Independent Bottlers' Challenge - Steve Adams & Eve Gunns, Co-owners, Wild About Whisky
Pick n Pay Canapé and Whisky Zone - Martine Nouet, International Whisky Writer
World Whiskies Awards - Mike Orrey, Keeper of the Quaich
Aficionados online whisky store - Paul La Cock
Book tickets through: www.webtickets.co.za.
Full list of ticketing options:
Tasting Hall tickets cost R185 each
Whisky Workshop tickets cost R100 each
Group bookings (10 or more):
Tasting Hall: R148 per person (20% discount)
Whisky Workshop: R80 per person (20% discount - Thursday only)
Combo tickets: Tasting Hall and Workshop costs R257
Two-day ticket: Tasting Hall: Two-Day Ticket costs R310 per person
A designated driver ticket costs R90. This gives you entry into the Tasting Hall. However as the designated driver, you will not be entitled to the tasting glass/handbook/coupons but you will qualify for a R30 food voucher redeemable at the Food Deli as well as a bottle of Valpre Spring Water.
Follow us on Twitter @whiskylive or search for us on FaceBook FNBWhiskyLiveFestival.
The FNB Whisky Live Festival promotes responsible drinking. No persons under the age of 18 years old will be allowed into the Tasting Hall. Designated driver tickets are available with discounted food vouchers and a bottle of Valpré mineral water included in the ticket price. Various chauffeur drive services and drive responsibly initiatives will be on hand to ensure that everyone in your party is able to have a good time and a safe journey home. Part of the ticket proceeds will continue to be donated to The Foundation for Alcohol Related Research.