The 2018 Whisky & Spirits Live Festival will offer at least 300 fine whiskies and other premium spirits to taste at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 31 October-2 November 2018.
Supported by Gauteng Tourism, the festival is famed for showcasing the widest selection of whisky under one roof and now also includes a range of other premium spirits such as gin, rum, vodka, and more. This year marks an incredible 16 years for the festival and has many returning exhibitors, as well as a number of newcomers across the board.
Like it? Buy it!
Tasting something new at a whisky or other spirit stand? Want to purchase it there and then? Well, now you can. Whisky & Spirits Live, Zapper, and Norman Goodfellows have joined forces at this year’s festival and you will be able to purchase your new discovery (or old favourite) at the exhibitor’s stand. All you need is the Zapper App installed and set up on your smartphone. The rest is pretty simple, scan the QR code and pay. Purchases to be collected on your way out at the Norman Goodfellows onsite shop.
Consol first time pop-up shop
Consol returns and is set to shake things up a bit with the first Consol Private Label pop-up shop. The Consol Private Label Range is perfect for bringing out the rich and complex body of whisky, gin, and other spirits. While all attendees will once again receive a bottle of Consol Still Water at the door, Consol will be serving three delicious Kegtails at the stand, prepared in trendy Consol bottles. Here, visitors can choose from a refreshing Johnnie Walker Red Label berry iced tea, an exclusive Tanqueray grapefruit gin and tonic, or a uniquely flavourful Bulleit grapefruit and honey julep cocktail.
Masters of malt
Donald Colville, global brand ambassador for Malts, is one of Diageo’s foremost experts on their 28 single malt distilleries and related sites. He will be dispensing drams of The Singleton and will be on hand to discuss this year’s Diageo Special Releases, some of which will be available for sale at the Norman Goodfellows Festival Shop.
Shauna Jennens is Distillery ambassador and head of The Dalmore Visitor Experience at the brand’s home in Alness, Scotland. Appointed in 2010 at The Dalmore, she has been an instrumental force in creating a distillery experience that befits one of the world’s most distinguished single malts and now travels extensively to promote The Dalmore to discerning audiences worldwide. Jennens will be at The Dalmore stand and also will be presenting a masterclass on Thursday, 1 November 2018. Kavalan is returning to this year’s festival and this year, Kaitlyn Tsai will be presenting on their stand. She is a Kavalan brand ambassador and global PR officer with a communications degree from one of Taiwan’s most prestigious universities. Tsai will present on eight Kavalan expressions in her masterclass on Friday, 2 November 2018.
Fully immersing herself within the whisky industry, Georgie Bell’s commitment and dedication to Scotch whisky shine through. With a BSc in distillation, a background in the bar industry, coupled with a love of travel, endless devotion, drive and determination, Bell has made it her life mission to get under the skin of whisky and to spread the word. As a crucial member of the Bacardi team, Bell has a key role in aiming to win over a new generation of whisky drinkers around the world with the incredibly strong lineup of Bacardi’s single malt Scotch whiskies. Visit the Dewar’s stand to see Bell in action. Alternatively, book a masterclass and get to taste Aultmore 21 YO and Craigellachie 13 YO, exclusive to the masterclass.
New to the industry, head of sales at Isle of Raasay’s Kevin Liu joined the industry just four years ago. Prior to whisky, he spent 10 years working in political communications and intelligence. Meet up with Liu at the Isle of Raasay stand or join him for his masterclass on 31 October 2018.
Master blender and distiller from Paul John Distillery in Goa, India, Michael D’Souza started his career in 1993 and always had a fascination for distillation. In 2008, he was given the task of setting up the single malt distillation in Goa and since then he has focused on single malt distillation. D’Souza has been associated with John Distilleries for the last 23 years. Visit the Paul John stand to taste six Paul John variants or join the intimate masterclass session on Wednesday, 31 October 2018.
Old faithfuls – whisky highlights not to be missed:
Johnnie Walker is setting out to dispel those myths as it brings its exclusive House of Walker Lounge experience this year. Sure to pack a punch at this year’s festival, this is Johnnie Walker’s biggest exhibit at the festival yet. Consumers will be able to explore, experiment and craft their perfect combinations at the Johnnie Walker bar. They will also have the opportunity to engage with Johnnie Walker brand ambassadors and can also sign up for a more in-depth Johnnie Walker Blue Label Mentorship Experience. Global whisky expert and ambassador Donald Colville will be jetting in from Scotland to guide consumers through the different variants and offerings. (rumour has it that Johnnie Walker Blue, 18-year-old and Green will be on offer on the stand).
Pernod Ricard will have a wide selection to choose from and you can expect to taste firm favourites: Irish Whiskeys Jameson, Yellow Spot, Green Spot, and Red Breast as well as Scottish favourites The Glenlivet, Aberlour, and Chivas Regal. Other exciting news is that The Glenlivet has appointed a brand new brand ambassador - Marco Vandeput.
Explore the finer side of things with The Dalmore, Glayva Liqueur, Shackleton, Jura, and Glenbrynth.
Welcome to Whisky & Spirits Live
Haig Club Clubman, the newly launched whisky from Diageo in partnership with David Beckham, is set to disrupt the whisky category with its stylish take against conformity and tradition. Visitors to the festival can expect a refreshing approach to how whisky can be enjoyed, as Haig Club Clubman is at the forefront of writing the new script. Make your own rules, and enjoy life, and your whisky, as you want to.
Locally made in the Klein Karoo, Boplaas whisky recently won gold for their Boplaas Small Batch Blended Grain Whisky (brandy barrel finish) at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards 2018.
KAMIKI is the first whisky brand in the world with Japanese cedar cask finish. Yoshino Sugi is considered to be the best wood for making local drink casks because of its scented refreshing flavour and wooden aroma.
At this year’s show, for the first time, The Quiet Man 12-year-old single malt finished in 30-year-old Oloroso sherry casks will make its debut on the continent.
John Barr received a 96/100 score at The Ultimate Spirits Challenge and it is no surprise it was named the Ultimate Blended Scotch Whisky. Visitors to the John Barr stand will have the opportunity to sample a distinguished blend from an acclaimed whisky house.
Bannerman’s Finest Scotch Whisky is made using older, more complex malt whiskies than those used in most blends and has a bolder, more complex flavour than other blends. The aged malts also contribute towards its exceptionally long, smooth finish.
Making their return to the festival are BenRiach, GlenGlassaugh and GlenDronach, on the whiskies of the world stand.
Remember to visit the Independent Bottler’s Challenge stand to find that special dram – the whiskies on this stand is not available for resale and only limited quantities available. Different whiskies will be selected for every night. Join Tommy Larkan as he explains what makes each of these whiskies exceptional.
An exciting addition to the festival is Stilnovisti, who are based in Central and Eastern Europe. Although they are not yet available for sale in South Africa, their stand will have a number of whiskies and expressions to preview. Patrons can expect to try their ACEO spirits which are young entry level single malts, their new brand Lucullan with older expressions as well as their newest addition to the family, Aulquerc; the oldest whisky yet – a 50-year-old Macduff. Stilnovisti will be joining forces with independent bottler Murray McDavid and presenting their 2018 single casks.
Life is a garden, a gin garden
As host of the Spirit Garden at the event, Fitch & Leedes will showcase their premium range paired with a variety of craft spirits other than whisky. Festivalgoers can head over to the Fitch & Leedes Gin Garden to ask questions, broaden their knowledge about the South African craft industry and sample some of the finest mixed cocktails.
Much more spirits to taste
Following global trends, the festival has also expanded their selection of spirits even further too also include craft gin, rum, and vodka brands. Newcomers to the event KWV will also be bringing their premium range of brandies.
With a whopping 22 gin brands to taste and experience, including a number of locally distilled craft gins from around South Africa, the variety and great expansion to the event is something gin-lovers can look forward to. Enthusiasts can even sign up for a master class in gin distillation with master distiller Pieter Carter from Ginologist Gin. Gins at the event: Beefeater, Blind Tiger, Bloom, Cruxland, Eleven28, Finery, Gin Factory, Ginologist, Greenall's, Inverroche, Magalies Gin, Monkey 47, Mother's Ruin Gin, No 3 London Dry Gin, Opihr, Prohibition Gin, Six Dogs, Small Batch '18, Sugar Bird, Tanqueray, Thomas Dakin, and Whitley Neill.
Tanqueray is the world’s leading gin and no stranger to making bold statements. The success of the brand has been established over almost one hundred years, being a trailblazer in the London gin revolution in the 1830s. Guests can expect a wide range of options at the bar, where expert mixologists will be creating classic cocktails that have been instrumental in the rise and popularity of gin over the years. Don’t fret if you prefer the old faithful G&T though, the signature serves of London Dry and Tanqueray 10 will be available with carefully chosen garnishes and tonics.
Apart from gin, vodka is the other white spirit, which will be available to taste at the Roberto Cavalli, VTK Vodka, and Au Gold Vodka stands.
Not all tequilas are created equal. Come to the Don Julio stand to find out why, and how this extraordinary liquid is exerting such an indelible influence on the spirit category.
The Rum Revolution has started and for the first year, Whisky & Spirits Live will be playing host to seven rums. Patrons can look forward to tasting Bacardi 8, Havana Club, Mhoba, New Grove, Pusser's, Rumbar, and Whistler African Style Rum.
Other new additions in the Spirits area are KWV Brandies, Amores Mezcal, and Southern Moonshine.
Getting home safely
The festival has partnered with three road partners to ensure patrons get home safely. Taxify and Good Fellas have easy to use apps and have great offerings available for patrons to use over the three days. Download their apps via the apple or google play store.
Drive Safe Chauffeur Service provides a designated driver to drive your vehicle home for you. No membership required to use their services. For quotes or to pre-book Call or WhatsApp 076 726 1156 or visit their stand.
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