Sunday evenings are times for reflection of the week past and planning the week ahead. Not really, not when there’s an opportunity to show Donald & Andrew Hart of Meadowside Blending Company in Scotland some of South Africa’s finest products. Last time I met Donald was in Havana, 2004, so catching up was a nice 10-year reunion and Donald’s 50th year in the whisky industry. Andrew, Donald’s son, was recently inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich so two Keepers and me cracked open the Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and Three Ships 5 year old Premium Select Whisky, with the rain gently falling onto the yachts in the Waterfront Basin.
The venue was the Bascule whisky bar, which is where Checkers launched its Single Cask Whisky Selection. These whiskies, bottled by Donald & Andrew, are quite superb. I had a sneak preview into what could be available later this year from Checkers and if even one of the offerings makes it to South Africa, whisky lovers are in for a real treat. Unfortunately Bascule did not have any the Single Barrel available and nobody there could assist us with answers.
Back to the South African whiskies. Bain’s & Three Ships have won many awards but, of course, whisky tasting is subjective, so before I gave Donald & Andrew the history & pedigree of the whiskies, I invited them to try them. They loved them, both. The Three Ships reminding Andrew of a walk around Isley, a hint of peat which takes Andy Watts from Distell to his roots at Bowmore and the Bain’s had Donald licking his lips with the banana, toffee flavours. And I got that warm fuzzy feeling again, when people who really know their whisky, give a South African product the thumbs up. Maybe it is a bit of patriotism, maybe it is a desire for some good after the disappointment of the cricket, maybe its because I know the passion and skill that goes into the whisky making at the James Sedgwick Distillery. Proudly South African.
Whatever it is, it was a perfect evening. Superb company, outstanding whiskies from Andy & co and a promise of more excellence from Checkers.
Oh – and before I forget – we had cigars. Cuban. R & J. And we reminisced about Havana…men in kilts causing quite a stir!
And another thing – Proteas – let’s have a victory in the T 20 – please. Please.