Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wade Bales Whisky & Gin Affair 2017

This annual event took place at 15 on Orange Hotel in the Gardens last Friday and was a huge success. Wade organises it to help publicise the producers of these products and it certainly is popular; tickets were sold out nearly a week in advance. There were four gin producers; you could get a (rather small) glass of Mumm Champagne, and then taste some extraordinary whiskies from Scotland, Ireland, India and Japan and all for R250 a person, including a complimentary tasting glass and a cheese table
Checking in. This was a chance to taste more than 50 limited edition and rare malts from around the world. New innovative blends: Paul Johns, Dalwhinnie 15, Bushmills Black Bush, Aberlour 18, Singleton of Dufftown 12 and Pogues Irish Whiskey, to name but a few. Back by popular demand: The Macallan 15 Fine Oak, Highland Park Dark Origins, Bruichladdich Black Art 4.1, Ardbeg Corryvreckan, Glenmorangie 18 Year Old, Glen Grant as well as Nikka …. Japan’s finest!
The concourse became quite crowded, and the crowd was very well behaved
 There were two tables full of cheeses, olives, nuts, humus, bread and biscuits, fruit and lots of condiments, where you could help yourself
It definitely helps to line one’s stomach before lots of spirit tastings
The other food table
Beefeater Gin was serving several full-sized gin cocktails: a gin Bloody Mary, G&T's, G&T with Earl Grey tea and gin with orange. Lynne tried the one with tea but didn't finish it. There was so much else to taste
The Mumm stand was in a very crowded corridor and was, predictably, extremely popular. So popular that they didn't have time to chill the Champagne
Then for the Whiskies. A 12 year Aberlour for John. Lynne tasted the enormously peaty Ardbeg, so not her style. You do have to ask whether it is peaty before they pour it. She had to change her glass after that as the peat refused to leave the glass despite two wash outs
Bruichladdich in what looks like new modern packaging. So popular that we couldn’t get a taste
Some very good Irish whiskeys to sample, like Red Breast 12 and 15 year old, the Midleton and Mitchell & Son’s Green and Yellow Spot
Wade Bales with Bronwyn Craul and Broadcaster Guy MacDonald. Both love their whiskies
The Mr Whisky, Pierre Meintjes is one of only 159 Masters of the Quaich in the world. He was running whisky master classes
Some specials from Glenmorangie. Lynne tasted the 18 year old and found a faint taste of sweet orange on the nose, creamy orange and apricot on the palate
Whisky Ambassador Xolani Mancotywa. When a bell rang at 7.30 very special bottles appeared from under the counters. Lynne tasted some very good older whiskies, including Caol Ila 18 year old, smoky and full of kelp, a 21 year old Glenfarclas which was soft and full and rounded with rich butterscotch, salt and ripe peaches. Quite wonderful. You had to be quick though, there were many people queuing for a taste of these special whiskies. Sometime it does help to be small, you can squeeze in front!
The Hive does indeed have a honeyed flavour
Glen Grant single malt has been given to John a couple of times on his birthday and Christmas by Lynne. Presented here by whisky expert Bernard Gutman. The 12 year old has butterscotch and honey, silky soft, then a kick of salt and warmth
Outside on the terrace was the shelter for the smokers
John spotted two friends from Wines of South Africa, CEO Siobhan Thompson and Maryna Strachan
Nikka Japanese Whisky presented by Japanese whisky guru Hector McBeth
Jan Laubscher and Anel Grobler of Spit and Swallow, tasting Paul John Indian whisky
Finding a whisky produced in India was a complete surprise. We found it very neutral in flavour
Mr Whisky, Pierre Meintjes, the South African Keeper of the Quaich, was presenting seminars in the lounge
Lynne tasted all the available gins and this was a new discovery - Monkey 47 - it has a loooong story, including a legend of its creation by a British pilot who lived in the area and the discovery of one bottle and the recipe in 2006. It's made in Germany in the Black Forest and costs over R1000 a 500 ml bottle. Lovely flavours of juniper and the other 46 flavours and spices and local botanicals. The 47th element is the silver around the cork. There are floral notes, some soft herbs, fruit, and berries. It is very, very smooth with a nice kick on the end. We tasted it neat and think that is how it should be drunk. It would probably lose a lot with a mixer
Another new product is the Pogues (yes, the Irish pop group is involved) whiskey. They are paid a royalty for every bottle sold
Whitley Neil have two gins; the one in the purple bottle has an infusion of hibiscus
Some delicious gems from Glen Grant

No comments: