Get whisk(i)ed away

Time of article published Aug 15, 2011

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The FNB Whisky Live Festival, in partnership with Independent Online, will be taking place from November 2 to 4 in Cape Town, and November 9 to 11 in Johannesburg.

Building on its reputation as the largest, liveliest and most entertaining whisky lifestyle show of its kind, the ninth annual festival will showcase more than 180 local and international whiskies, a choice of whisky liqueurs, a range of luxury lifestyle products and a host of whiskies new to South Africa.

In the build-up to the festival, Independent Online will be running a series of whisky articles, competitions, and photo galleries, showcasing all that the world of whisky has to offer.

“Long gone are the days of whisky being the preserve of a select few. Today, whisky, that gorgeous golden dram known as ‘the water of life’, is one of the fastest growing spirit categories in South Africa”, says Karen Chaloner, co-founder of the festival.

Last year, the Johannesburg leg of the FNB Whisky Live Festival sold out. Little wonder when the likes of award-winning whisky writer Dave Broom dubbed the South African FNB Whisky Live Festival as “the benchmark for spirit shows globally, the innovator” and a show that “continuously smashes all barriers to entry into the whisky world, making whisky exciting, fun, youthful and sexy”.

Festival co-founder Sian Neubert says you do not want to miss out on this year’s show.

“Tickets will sell out quickly, so diarise mid September to pre-book online and ensure you secure a ticket,” she says.

Whether you’re a novice to the world of whisky, or a long time whisky connoisseur with the most discerning of palates, the organisers promise that the 2011 festival will offer something for everyone.

“The FNB Whisky Live Festival has always been about sharing the passion and unravelling the mystery around whisky. But even more so, it’s about like-minded friends, associates and whisky lovers gathered under one roof, tasting whisky and experiencing the premium lifestyle that whisky drinkers enjoy.”

Whisky education remains a key focus, giving festival goers an unmatched opportunity to discover the magic that goes into whisky making which, in turn, uncovers new and interesting ways to enjoy every dram. This year’s attractions include:

* Blended perfection: The newly launched Compass Box Art of Blending Zone gives you a taste of something unique in the Compass Box whiskies as inspiration, then allows you to blend your very own dram;

* Pleasure distilled: The Glen Grant Distillation Zone gives you Dave Akker, Edward Snell’s master distiller, in Cape Town, and Glen Grant master distiller Dennis Malcolm in Johannesburg, who will host three interactive and informal workshops per night, helping you understand the significance of copper stills in the whisky distillation process;

* Perfume perfection: The Macallan Maturation Zone presents The Macallan Aroma Box – a collection of 12 highly articulate scents, which international perfume company, Roja Dove, have created to describe the classic aromas, and scents of The Macallan Range. Learn to identify and describe these key aromas, as well as how wood affects the colour, flavour and fragrances of The Macallan’s different expressions.

* Feeding the soul: The Pick n Pay Food and Whisky Pairing Zone offers a taste sensation second to none by showcasing the art of pairing the sublime flavours of whisky with delectable canapés. International food whisky guru Martine Nouet will be co-hosting these hands-on whisky canapé cocktail parties with Pick n Pay chefs showing you how to make up three canapés using fresh PnP ingredients, and pairing them with whiskies for the ultimate cocktail party, that you can re-create at home.

* The Choice of Royalty since 1783: Schweppes is the distinctively timeless and sophisticated adult drink for those with a good taste. The Schweppes Art of Whisky Cocktail Making Zone will teach whiskey lovers the art of whisky mixing using Schweppes premium mixers. It will also challenge you to create your own cocktail masterpieces.

* Become a Sommelier with Valpré: Valpré, the premium spring water, will be giving whisky lovers an experience that will help demystify the art of mixing water and whisky. Learn how much Valpré Spring Water to add to your tipple, how to pour it into your glass, and what guidelines to follow to “release the serpent” (the esters and floral notes previously held captive in the dormant aged liquid).

* 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 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;

* Become a collector: Each year, the festival releases a unique, now highly sought-after, FNB Whisky Live Special Bottling – this year The GlenDronach gives you its special collector’s limited edition;

* Luxury lifestyle: The new-look Volvo Whisky Lifestyle Lounge will be the place to see and be seen. Partnered with the festival as the official lifestyle and transport brand, luxury car brand Volvo will provide the perfect setting for networking and client entertainment or meeting up with like-minded friends in a relaxed and stylish atmosphere. Plus, it will offer tastings of whiskies unavailable in the main Tasting Hall at the exclusive Whisky Boutique Bar. A hospitality package includes access to the Volvo Whisky Lifestyle Lounge and Whisky Boutique Bar, a whisky cocktail and a light dinner – plus the opportunity to spend some time with Volvo representatives with whom you can request to set up a test drive of the spectacular Volvo range.

* The ultimate guided tour: The popular Connoisseur’s Experience, ‘The Ultimate Guided Tour’, sells out within hours of tickets opening each year. This year promises to be no different. Newly sponsored by Volvo, this experience offers festival goers the opportunity to be chauffeur driven to the festival in a luxurious Volvo where you will then join a guided tour to savour rare whiskies not widely available.

“Whisky lovers, celebrities and those who appreciate the finer things in life refer to the FNB Whisky Live Festival as ‘The most sought after event of the year’. It’s easy to see why,” says Chaloner.

Bernice Samuels, FNB Chief Marketing Officer, adds: “We are delighted and encouraged by the feedback from our FNB clients and the general public, and hope that you enjoy your experience at this year’s event.”

* FNB Whisky Live Festival Facts: FNB Whisky Live Festival returns for its ninth year to The Cape Town International Convention Centre, from 2 November - 4 November 2011 (18h00 to 22h00 daily) and the Sandton Convention Centre, from 9 – 11 November (18h00 – 22h00 daily) for its showcase of whiskies from around the world.

A variety of ticket options will be available for purchase via the website - - from mid-September 2011. The organisers suggest you book early to avoid disappointment.

For more information please visit the website or e-mail [email protected]

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. RoadTrip and Corporate Cabs will be on hand to ensure that everyone in your party is able to have a good time. Part of the ticket proceeds will continue to be donated to The Foundation of Alcohol Related Research. - IOL

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