Cape Town, at its worst, is staggeringly beautiful. On the 17th January Cape Town was at its best, and provided the venue for a very special whisky evening.
Whisky, in its purest form, is about experiences, not about tasting notes. The better the whisky and the better the company, the better the experience. Earlier this evening whisky people gathered in the Bascule Whisky bar to delve into a bottle of 30-year-old Chivas Regal. Rough, I know. Summer in Cape Town, views of Table Mountain and the ocean going yachts. Life is tough. But we do what we do for the love of whisky.
Patrick Leclezio (that’s him, holding the bottle, with Table Mountain in the background) of www.whisky.co.za invited a few whisky people – and that is an important phrase, whisky people – to share a bottle of Chivas 30 he acquired 10 years ago at one of the Chivas anniversary celebrations. So, Marsh Middleton www.twodrams.com , Candice Baker and Niel Hendrickz, both former whisky sommeliers at Bascule now in full time employment talking about The Macallan, Highland Park, and Glenmorangie, Bernard Gutman www.waterfrontwhisky.wordpress.com and Patrick, our host. We missed Hector McBeth http://www.whiskyshop.co.za and Mark Backhouse from Pernod Ricard who had to be elsewhere, but Patrick saved them each a dram.
The conversation was of whisky and love, whisky and marriage, whisky and children and whisky and whisky. Mainly whisky. Because it is not every day that we have the privilege – and it is a privilege – of having such a great whisky, with a special heritage, with special friends.
Nose – initial malt, toffee, sherry, more toffee. Moving to lightly grilled pineapple, then something like nibbling on dates under the sun in the Sahara, back to pineapples again, caramelised now. Treat it with time and respect, and after a few minutes, the impression is of an old wise man, a whisky that has been around a while, solid, fine quality, gentlemanly, nothing over the top. It’s not going to blow you away, but is a special occasion dram – something that I would enjoy when my kids graduate from university. That sort of occasion. Even later on….toffee syrup drizzled on to dark chocolate with slivers of burnt orange.
But enough about the whisky, this experience is what is what matters to me. And sitting in the setting we were watching the sun going in the same direction as the whisky in the bottle, until both had vanished – now that is my type of whisky evening.