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The Cape Town FNB Live Whisky Festival courtesy of The Macallan

4 Nov
Last night myself and darling Lucy (the only chica I know who’s fluent in Mandarin) popped into the FNB Live Whisky Festival at the CTICC as guests of award-winning Scottish whisky The Macallan. Lucy was the ideal date ‘cos she’s ‘Kylie Minogue tiny’, making her easy to carry home when she passes out at the bar. Also, I’m a total newbie when it comes to whisky, but she’s been drinking it for a while so she could tell me all sorts of random whisky factoids. For example, whisky’s only spelled with an ‘e’ (whiskey) when it comes from Ireland or the US…

The Macallan 12 year old whisky. Being Scotch, it doesn't muck about with an extra letter.

Upon arrival festival goers were given a tasting glass filled with tickets you could use to ‘pay’ for a dollop from each brand as well as a guide book telling you a bit about each of the whiskies on show.

The ticket book included a voucher for bottled water, R10 off food (I blew mine on sushi) and a discount from the on- site Picardi Rebel store.

After putting our names down at The Macallan stand to attend a special tasting later on in the evening, Luce and I did a quick recce of the hall. (I must say, this is definitely one of the better expo-type things I’ve seen at the CTICC in a while that it wasn’t too crowded, everything was easy to navigate and the stands had all gone the extra mile in ensuring they looked impressive and inviting.) As Luce and I are high rollin’ big spenders particularly when it comes to things we didn’t have to pay for, we decided our first stop would be the Johnny Walker stand to blow six of our tickets on a splash of Johnny Walker Blue. (Apparently its over R2K a bottle). After getting to taste three different Johnny’s (Red, Black and Blue), I’m semi-ashamed to tell you that I actually like the cheapest one, Red, the best.

Lucy makes friends with her R73 dribble o' Blue.

Next, we visited the Jameson’s tent. It was putting out the vibe with a DJ, hot promo meisies and tastings for just two tickets a pop.

Always be nice to promo gals, y'all. I used to do this shizz back in the day and its a tougher job than it looks.

We also decided to mix things up a bit by tasting Drambuie which is a whisky liqueur. I found it a bit too sweet to sip on its own, but Lucy quite liked it. Apparently it tastes amazing when you mix it with ginger ale. 

Drambuie, FYI, is made from whisky, honey, herbs and spices.

It was almost time for our date with The Macallan so we made one quick stopover at the GQ stand. I’d been wanting to get my hands on a copy for a while ‘cos myself and my friend Gia had made the social pages and wanted to ensure they got our good side. (Hair flick… head toss…) Was thrilled to finally get my mitts on the mag, but opening it was another story. Had to resort to using my teeth…

'Cos I'm classy like that...

Eventually, I got to check myself out:

Jissus. Just what kind of booze were they serving that night?!

So ja… moving on… We finally wound our way back to The Macallan stand and got to enjoy an informative li’l talk on what makes The Macallan whisky one of the best by Candice, their super-knowlegdeable brand ambassador.

She's also got fabulous hair...

As it turns out The Macallan is a single malt whisky made from barley and natural spring water. It’s matured in Spanish and American oak casks that give the whisky a naturally golden hue as well as all its flavours – nothing artificial is added to change the colour or taste. We also got introduced to The Macallan Aroma Box that they created along with a famous perfumier called Roja Dove.

The Macallan Aroma Box

Essentially, The Aroma Box is a handcrafted oak box that contains twelve different scents; think orange chocolate, aniseed, oak…

You wave these under your nose in groups of three to recreate unique aromatic nuances found in The Macallan whiskys.

I found it quite interesting because, to my un-refined nose, pretty much all whisky smells the same. However, after having certain notes pointed out to me in the box, I could start to pick them out in the whisky.

In all, this was a fun evening out. I enjoyed learning so much about something I didn’t really understand all that much before and am now definitely more likely to order a whisky on the rocks next time I’m out, be it a top o’ the line Macallan around pay day or Johnny Walker Red when I’m broke. 

Thank you The Macallan, we had loads of fun!

Love, love

Leigh

P.S. Single ladies! If you’re looking for something to do tonight, consider hitting up the festival. Whisky seems to be a bit of a man’s world in that the visitors were mostly male. Thus, despite my having a ‘fat day’ and Lucy being told straight up that she’s ‘got too much hair’, we can’t remember when last we got so chatted up/ogled to the max. Nice…

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