Scottish Leader in Newtown


This was a whisky event with a difference. Have a look at the videos and photos from this press release.


Popular Scotch whisky brand Scottish Leader recently brought its ‘new perspectives, richer possibilities’ positioning alive in a very real way in Newtown, Johannesburg.

The event, dubbed the Scottish Leader Whisky Underground Insta-meet, literally took place under a bridge, in the Carr Street private servitude area, and saw famous South African Instagrammers, Ofentse Mwase (@unclescrooch) and Levon Lock (@levonlock), sharing their extensive photographic prowess with a group of up-and-coming Instagrammers invited by the brand.


Designed to inspire creativity, the Insta-meet event kicked off in the late afternoon with tasty deconstructed whisky mojito cocktails, while guests were also encouraged to create their own. After a quick welcome and photographic tutorial by Mwase and Lock, names were drawn from a hat and guests took off in tuk-tuks for an hour of new perspective photography, to compete for seats at the upcoming ‘Scottish Leader Whisky Experience in the JoBurg Sky’.

Following the hobnob around Newtown capturing new takes on inner city scenes, participants returned for a tasting of Scottish Leader’s seductively smooth, sweet, rich and smoky whiskies, including the exclusive 12-year-old expression that’s not yet available in South Africa.  This special tasting was presented by South Africa’s own ‘Mr Whisky’, Pierre Meintjes.

As dusk turned into night, guests were treated to beautiful Scottish Leader edible cocktails, great music with DJ Charlie B on the decks, and creative street food by Culture Kitchen Food Club.


The four winners, in no particular order, are Bradley Roberts (@btherad), Tlotlego Maboe (@wayawayagoombafaya), Viktor Bobchev (@illuminationjozi) and Unam Ntantala (@unamntantala).

Their images, captured at the Insta-meet in Newtown, and shared on their own and Scottish Leader’s social media platforms were judged the best by expert Instagrammers Mwase and Lock.  Each of the four winners gets to select one of their Instagram followers to accompany them to the ‘Scottish Leader Whisky Experience in the JoBurg Sky’ on 27 October 2016.



To view a video of the Insta-meet, go to:

Find out more about Scottish Leader by visiting its new website:

Follow Scottish Leader on Facebook (, Twitter ( and Instagram (

Join the conversation using: #NewPerspective

Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt 2005


A friend of mine is a senior executive at a financial institution. She related the story of a dinner with colleagues at a local restaurant. For drinks, she ordered the Three Ships Five Year Old Premium Select. “But why?” her colleagues asked, “we thought you are a whisky lover. Why Three Ships?” She sipped on her whisky and said, “It is because I’m a whisky lover that I drink Three Ships.” Intrigued, the men in suits ordered the Premium Select for themselves. It was the only whisky they drank that night and the next day ordered a case or three for their homes and offices. The men in the office said to my friend that they are deeply in her debt. She says she is happy to share an introduce people to great whisky.

Brands can do all they want with marketing, but getting liquid on lips is still the best way to promote your whisky. And getting liquid on lips is the secret of the success Three Ships is enjoying locally and abroad. Perhaps a good example of how well regarded Three Ships is was the attendance of Theo, one of the influential and passionate Whisky Pigs, Jason & Peter the other, who travelled down from Joburg to attend.

The latest expression is the new 10 Year Old Single Malt, one in a series of single malt expressions that will hopefully be an annual release. The style has moved away from the 2003 sherry cask influence, towards the vanilla notes from American oak, ex-bourbon casks. There is also a gentle smokiness, perhaps a nod to Master Distiller Andy Watts’ time spent many years ago at a distillery on the island of Islay.


The whisky delivers what you would expect from a ten year old, with perhaps a touch more complexity – maturity, perhaps. It is warm out in Wellington, the home of the James Sedgwick Distillery, so perhaps the whisky grows up a bit quicker than it would in Scotland.

The Cape Town launch was at Charango on Bree Street, a Peruvian restaurant and bar, where the mixed bag of media and whisky people gathered for an afternoon of great whisky, food and conversation. Visit Charango and try the seared tuna, beef tacos and anything else that takes your fancy.

There’s more coming from Three Ships, so watch this space.

Here is the press release:


Three Ships Whisky, proudly South African and internationally lauded, has launched a limited edition 10 Year Old Single Malt, one that carries a 2005 vintage statement.

The whisky follows the successful release of the first single malt launched in 2003 and the collector’s tin series over a three year period in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Master distiller Andy Watts says this is the most powerful single malt he has produced to date, a style he will be continuing in the single malts to come.

“When we launched South Africa’s first single malt in 2003 we didn’t have a single malt style policy in place and since then we have actively planned towards this moment where we are now in the position to launch a vintage statement single malt, each year and one with a defined style and vision.

“I use the Cape winter months for fermentation to allow the yeast to follow its natural fermentation curve with as little temperature control interference as possible. We distilled the spirit in 2005 in copper potstills before it was laid to rest for 10 years in a selection of older American oak to compliment the delicate flavours of the spirit. It’s a beautiful whisky and a very proud moment for me!”

Bottled at a strength of 44.6% it is un-chillfiltered and presented in its most purest form. Rich and complex, the wonderful combination of pepper, spice, sweet oak, roasted malt, digestive biscuits, dark toffee and peat reveals slowly as the creaminess in the mouth lingers. The finish is exceptionally smooth, full-bodied with a long fruity, peaty aftertaste and slight hint of liquorice.

The single malt is produced at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington where the year-round warm temperature accelerates the interaction between the cask and the spirit, allowing the whisky to portray an elegancy associated with much older whiskies.

The Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt 2005 vintage will be available for purchase in select liquor outlets and from at about R524.95 per bottle.

Issued by: Jigsaw PR
On behalf of: Three Ships Whisky
Enquiries: Ebith Jurgens, Marketing Manager, 021 809 7000
Linda Christensen,, 084 666 9972”

The Macallan brings the triple cask matured Fine Oak Range to South Africa


The Macallan presents two new expressions to the SA market, Fine Oak 12 and 18, and brings back a favourite; Fine Oak 15

The Macallan, one of the world’s greatest single malt whiskies, will be launching the triple cask matured Fine Oak Range in SA. A firm favourite: Fine Oak 15 will be re-introduced, and two new expressions will also be rolled out over the coming months, Fine Oak 12 and the 18.

The Fine Oak range is triple cask matured in a combination of European oak sherry casks, American oak sherry seasoned casks and American bourbon casks, delivering a more diverse yet subtle style of whisky, whilst maintaining The Macallan’s core DNA which is a focus on sherry seasoned oak casks, natural colour, and rich, fruity full bodied flavours and mouth feel.

To craft Fine Oak, we bring new oak from America across thousands of miles to Spain, where oak casks are crafted and sherry seasoned before traveling to our distillery on Speyside to mature for twelve years. These whiskies are then combined with those aged in the very best sherry seasoned European oak casks and American Bourbon casks.  This approach reveals an unmatched investment in time and extraordinary commitment to mastery for which The Macallan has been known since 1824

 Bob Dalgarno, Master Whisky Maker explains, “The Macallan Fine Oak requires a distinctive approach to whisky making.  Being created from a triple cask combination, both sherry and bourbon seasoned, we are working with a broader spectrum of character.  The resulting versatile single malt which offers up great flavour diversity.”

The Fine Oak range will sit alongside The Macallan 1824 Masters Series which is available in SA, including Rare Cask, Reflexion, No.6 and M, – which now offers The Macallan fan a wider choice of whiskies from the portfolio.

The Macallan Fine Oak Range is an extraordinary range of whiskies which bare testament to the incredible wood story of The Macallan, reintroducing this range into the South African market at a time where malt whisky demand and interest is at its highest is an exciting transition for The Macallan brand. This represents our ambition to translate our ultimate luxury spirit positioning and obsession with craft and quality to produce a peerless spirit, in one of the world’s most exciting malt whisky markets” commented Mac Mabidilala, Africa Marketing Manager

The Macallan Fine Oak Range is available from selected liquor stores and online retailers (RRP for 12 is R599 (Limited stock), 15 is R999 and 18 is R2500)

What makes the Fine Oak Range exceptional?

The American oak casks are crafted from timber sourced in the woodlands of Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri and are logged by third generation woodsmen, who are personally selected by The Macallan’s own Master of Wood.  Some of these casks will mature bourbon in humid Kentucky warehouses for three years before the long journey to Scotland whilst others will be transported to Jerez, in Spain, to be filled with sherry.

 The addition of American oak bourbon seasoned barrels imparts aromas and flavours slightly drier and more oaky than the American oak sherry casks, with more pronounced aromas and flavours of coconut, but still with the lighter colour and sweetness associated with American oak.

The European oak sherry casks begin life in the dense, sustainable forests of Northern Spain and each cask is handcrafted in the cooperages of Jerez where they are fired to ensure the spirit penetrates deep into the wood. These casks will then be seasoned with sherry for a minimum of two years before being transported to The Macallan Distillery in Speyside for filling with new make spirit.  

The Story of The Macallan

The Six Pillars are the foundation stones for the fame and character of The Macallan. They encompass the strong sense of place at the heart of the distillery and the estate, together with their long experience of distilling and maturing a single malt whisky with a reputation for product excellence and distinctive character. These, in combination, contribute to the essential character of The Macallan.

  • Spiritual Home; Easter Elchies House, built in 1700, lies at the heart of The Macallan estate in an area of great natural beauty and is farmed sensitively, in harmony with the environment. The estate covers 390 acres (158 hectares), of which some 90 acres are sown in the spring with our own exclusive barley variety (Minstrel) to make The Macallan. A single acre will produce nearly two and a half tons of barley, which will yield around 1,800 bottles of The Macallan.


  • Curiously Small Stills; The Macallan’s curiously small spirit stills are the smallest on Speyside. Their unique size and shape give the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the ‘new make’ spirit and provide those rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours so characteristic of The Macallan. There are fourteen of these curiously small stills, crafted from copper, each holding an initial ‘charge’ of 3,900 litres.


  • Finest Cut; The Macallan takes only 16% of the final distillation from the spirit stills to fill into their oak casks. This is the best of the best and one of the smallest in the industry.


  • Exceptional Oak Casks; The Macallan spends more on sourcing, building, seasoning and caring for its casks than any other single malt whisky.


Natural Colour; the rich range of colours in The Macallan whiskies is drawn only from the wood of their exceptional oak casks

The Macallan itself; From humble beginnings in 1824, The Macallan has grown from a small local enterprise to global recognition, based on a constant and determined attention to quality – one of the world’s greatest whiskies. 

For further information regarding The Macallan, please contact:

Candice Mullins or Catherine Jordan on / +27 82 763 0349 or / +27 82 062 9872

Glenfiddich starts the search for the world’s most experimental bartender



Glenfiddich issued a challenge to bartenders around the world: don’t just make an amazing drink, collaborate with another creative genius and see what the two of you can do, together. In South Africa, the program’s ambassador is Gareth Wainwright, specialist drinks consultant.

One learns a lot about someone when you share a whisky stand, serving fine whisky to the crowds at a whisky festival. A few years ago I had the pleasure of sharing a stand with Gareth. We spoke whisky, cocktails, service and what makes people happy. What impressed me about Gareth was the way he had time and patience for everyone who came to our stand for a whisky. He spoke, he listened and consumers left our stand knowing a bit more and enjoying whisky a bit more.

I’ll be in Joburg at the end of this month as part of the judging panel for the South African leg of this international competition. Follow here and for news about what the creative geniuses are going to be doing.


Here is the press release:


Global competition champions co-creation and collaboration to ignite creativity

Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky, has launched a hunt to find the world’s most experimental bartender. This global search aims to recognise and reward maverick individuals who collaborate with artists outside of the traditional drinks world in order to create a more surprising, inventive and unique drinking experience.

The competition aims to find people in the bartending industry who are pairing up with masters from other creative fields such as a musician, chef, designer or artists, in order to push the boundaries of bar keeping. They will be challenged to create a sensory experience that is inspired by Glenfiddich. Finalists from countries around the globe, including South Africa, will be invited on an all-expenses-paid trip to the inaugural Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy in Scotland, where they will compete to win the priceless opportunity of bringing their idea to life, supported by Glenfiddich. The winner will earn a reputation as The World’s Most Experimental Bartender, with their creativity being showcased globally.

Glenfiddich South Africa is proud to announce Gareth Wainwright, renowned bar consultant and one of the most creative bartenders in the South African bar industry, as the ambassador for the campaign. “We want to celebrate bartenders who are masters of their craft, yet continue to push beyond the expected by finding inspiration in the most unexpected places. We are thrilled to have Gareth, a maverick in his own right, as part of this exciting campaign”, comments Edward Snell & Co. Marketing Manager, Lauren Kuhlmey.

South Africa’s favourite co-creators will be awarded a week-long, all-expenses-paid visit to the Glenfiddich distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, to take part in the Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy programme along with their counterparts from around the world. This will be an immersive three-day experience where the collaborators will be taught how to make whisky from scratch. They will have the exclusive opportunity to absorb knowledge from Glenfiddich’s distillery experts; from the mash man to the cooper, the still man to the malt master; and these extraordinary craftsmen will share the techniques that have made Glenfiddich the most awarded single malt Scotch whisky today; including an opportunity to meet the malt master, Brian Kinsman.

For all the aspiring collaborators, Gareth Wainwright offers the following advice, “I believe that you can never know enough and lessons come from the strangest places. Try everything! Inspiration can come from anywhere and no detail is too small. Respect the classics and always remember: there’s always a bigger fish”.

The winning collaborative idea will be announced at the end of the programme, and then Glenfiddich will work with the winning duo throughout 2017 to bring their creation to life for the on-trade, an impressive addition to any creator’s portfolio.

For the full terms and conditions of the competition, visit All entrants must be over 25 years old and have the flexibility to attend a week-long trip to Scotland in November 2016. There is no cash exchange and the place on the Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy is not transferable.

For more information go to


Rémy Martin Cognac – romance in a bottle.


All Cognac is Brandy, but not all Brandy is Cognac. Like most things French, Cognac is associated with romance. It is the universal drink of choice when celebrating success. Much like we imagine bubbles in Champagne have a particular type of magic, the mention of Cognac mystically transports us to a happy place.

Here in South Africa, sometimes we sip Cognac next to a fireplace, in deep leather armchairs, engaging in a deep meaningful conversation with the object of our affection. Sometimes we sit with friends in a tavern, gathered round a bottle of Cognac, debating team tactics about Amakhosi or Sundowns or Pirates. Wherever and however you enjoy your Cognac, each occasion is a celebration.

I recently had the pleasure of attending a Rémy Martin Opulence Revealed media event hosted by the global brand ambassador, Alex Quintin, a lucky person who lives in Cognac and travels the world talking about Rémy Martin. What is Opulence Revealed? It is the journey through an exclusive cognac tasting combined with a luxurious food pairing. It was a lot of fun, a treat for the senses and we learned a lot.

VS, VSOP & XO, the letters on the bottles: Each corresponds to how long the brandy has been aged in oak barrels. In 1983, following a request by the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac, the French government drafted regulations governing the terms used to describe a cognac’s quality. These designations, which may be included on the label, refer to the age of the youngest eau-de-vie used in making the cognac.

VS stands for “Very Special”: only eaux-de-vie at least two years old can be used to make a VS cognac. VSOP stands for “Very Superior Old Pale”: VSOP cognacs are created from eaux-de-vie aged for at least four years. XO stands for “Extra Old”: XO cognacs are made only from eaux-de-vie at least six years old.

I’ve a particular fondness for Rémy Martin and have had the privilege of tasting the Louis XIII here in South Africa and late at night at a bar in Scotland. It is an aspirational and inspirational experience. That particular Cognac contains over 1200 eaux-de-vie aged for 40 to 100 years.


We had three expressions that evening, the VS, VSOP  very special 1738. Every sip reveals something new, like all complex spirits should. There are many cocktails created, showcasing the spirit. Alex also mentioned leaving the VS or VSOP  in the freezer and serving it in chilled glasses, for a silky smooth experience. Summer is coming and that seems like a great idea.

Tasting notes below – and click on the links above to find out more.

  • VSOP:
    • Eye: golden yellow – from the extraction of oak wood during aging.
    • Nose: vanilla, ripe apricot, multi-layered with floral notes (violet and rose) – due to the prestigious Grand Champagne terroir.
    • Palate: roundness, hint of liquorice, silky.
    • Food pairing: mini apples and dried apricots.


  • XO:
    • Eye: deep amber colour – from longer aging in the oak barrels.
    • Nose: jasmine, juicy plum, candied orange, cinnamon, honey.
    • Palate: rich and velvety, juicy plums, candied orange, hazelnuts.
    • Food pairing: Parmesan or Manchego cheese (UMAMI taste); chocolate macaroon (melting sensation).


  • 1738:
    • Eye: unique, shimmering copper colour.
    • Nose: plum, fig marmalade, oaky notes of toffee and toasted bread.
    • Palate: mellowness of butterscotch, baked spices with hints of dark chocolate. Exceptionally round with a creamy aftertaste.
    • Food pairing: fresh figs and chocolate truffles.


The Societi Bistro Tour Through France. @societibistro

If you know Cape Town and know Capetonians, you know that when the rain comes down, we stay home. Something happened on a rainy Saturday in July that enticed quite a few of us to leave our homes. Something French. It was the media / family / customer launch of the Tour Through France menu at Societi Bistro.

In the beautiful city of Cape Town new restaurants open all the time. There are some aimed solely at the tourist market, a few that open with a flourish and close in despair. The restaurants that remain open season after season, year after year, are the ones that have dedicated owners, loyal staff and happy customers. Sounds like a simple formula, but it’s not.

Thankfully the good people from Societi Bistro have executed the formula very well over the years. The venue at 50 Orange Street (near another institution, The Labia Theatre) was packed with happy customers trying out the Tour Through France menu.

What struck me about the event was the feeling of family. Quite a few of the locals seem to view Societi as their own dining room, with The Snug, (possibly the most perfect place to enjoy a cigar, indoors, in Cape Town) as their private lounge. Societi is popular with the foodie crowd and I noticed a few of the regulars have dishes named after them. I’m aiming to have a whisky cocktail named after me…but I need to visit more often;)

The day wasn’t only about the menu – there was a competition on social media for two Woodbender chairs. Woodbender is another example of a business that has the longevity formula sorted out. They make great furniture, provide professional furniture and have happy, repeat, customers. The competition – snap a selfie in the chair, post the photo and the photos with the most likes, win. The winners were the owners of the and @tarryno accounts. Well done to them!

What I really enjoyed about the day (apart from the incredible food and wine) was the quality of the people behind the tables, serving wines. Often nowadays wine farms send out untrained and unenthusiastic people to present wines. Not that day. Every presenter was top-notch – probably because the wine farms hold Societi and its clientele in high regard. It is a sign of respect for the restaurant and customers.

Societi is a real gem of a restaurant and a standout in the crowded Cape Town scene. Go as a patron, leave as family.

Societi Bistro
Telephone number: 021 42 42 100.
50 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

It’s International Beer Day! Checkers #LiquorShop & Jack Black beer have a huge prize for you!

It’s International Beer Day and Checkers #LiquorShop is giving away a case of Jack Black beer for 12 months to one lucky winner.

This weekend dishes up a couple of South African favourite pastimes – sport and beer. It is truly massive weekend: The Olympics opening ceremony on Friday night, Lions v Hurricanes Final on Saturday morning and today, there is a day devoted to Beer. Yes, International Beer Day. Whoever thought of that deserves a medal, but as all the medals are at the Olympics, let’s raise a glass and say Cheers!

Checkers #LiquorShop is so excited about International Beer Day that it is singing along to celebrate. One lucky winner stands a chance to win a case of Jack Black beer each month for the next  12 months. So, join in on the beer-aoke and you could win. The most creative picture or video wins.

Use Twitter or Instagram, with the #CheckersJackBlack and post a photo, a video, a few words, but make it fun, make it relevant, and prepare for a delivery of a case of Jack Black Beer every month for the next year.

Competition closes at noon on the 12th August.

beer checkers