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Master Classes at this year’s Whisky & Spirits Live

By Whisky Live Staff 17-10-2017

Doubtless testament to the ever-growing whisky category in South Africa, this year’s Whisky & Spirits Live has attracted the highest number of international whisk(e)y presenters since 2010. This article gives insight into who you can expect to meet during the much-loved master classes... Look out for next month's newsletter for profiles on those you can also expect to meet at the stands.

Irish Whiskey

While the whisky category in South Africa has yet again grown (by 1.6% annually with accelerated growth of 2.3% in the last quarter), Irish whiskey is up a whopping 14%, attracting more Irish whiskey experts than ever to this year’s event! Globally-renowned Irishman and Prestige Whiskey Ambassador for Midleton Whiskey, Michael Cowman, will present a master class on the global resurgence of Irish whiskey, its history and its heritage. Guests will taste some of Midleton’s most popular expressions of single pot still whiskey, culminating in Midleton Barry Crockett. Book now.

Michael Cowsman, Prestige Whisky Ambassador of Midleton Whisky

Ever a gentleman, Irish whiskey fans should not miss the chance to chat to Tullamore D.E.W Global Ambassador, John Quinn. Guests of his master class can expect to bend their own whiskey while sampling no less than 7 whiskeys – some straight from the cask as they would taste prior to bottling. Book now.

Women in Whisky

One of only two female whisky experts traveling from abroad for the Festival, Shauna Jennens, Distillery Ambassador at The Dalmore in Scotland, offers some sage advice for first-time Festival-goers: “Pace yourself! Walk around the show first and select the whiskies which interest you and that suit your palate. Leave the heavily peated ones for the end.” Says Jennens of The Dalmore’s full-bodied, complex flavours, “We are fortunate to have exclusive rights to the finest sherry bodega in Jeres de la Frontera and we use their 30 year old Matusalem casks to finesse our whiskies.” Don’t be intimidated if you don’t understand: ask. Jennens is used to hosting all levels of whisky drinkers from those just getting into the world of whisky, to connoisseurs and whisky investors. Better yet, book a spot in Jennens’ master class for a deep dive into The Dalmore.

Traveling all the way from Taiwan to present at Whisky & Spirits Live is Kavalan’s Global Business Development Manager, Sherry Tsai. Tsai will present a Kavalan master class where guests will taste six of their multi-award winning whiskies and learn more about Taiwan’s first whisky maker and the nation’s only family-owned whisky distillery. Book now.

Local is Lekker

Yorkshireman and Africa’s only Master Distiller, Andy Watts, will present a master class covering all the single malts launched in the history of South Africa’s own Three Ships Whisky. These include the sold-out 10 Year Old single malts of 2003 and 2010, recently launched vintage 2005, a sneak preview of the soon to be launched 2006 vintage and a taste of one of the oldest single malts currently in maturation at The James Sedgwick Distillery. Don't miss it!

Another local whisky aficionado equally worth listening to is Tommy Larkan who will present a master class on the rich heritage and modern outlook of the anCnoc Scotch portfolio, while offering a taste of five Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, including anCnoc 35 Year Old and anCnoc Barrow. Book now to avoid disappoinment at the door!

Lastly, Robert Gray, National Brand Ambassador for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg will present a master class called “Beauty and the Beast”, comparing Glenmorangie with its tall, slender stills producing smooth notes of peaches and honey with the untamed spirit of Ardbeg and its distinctive balance of sweet and peat. Experience two completely different styles of whisky and explore what sets them apart. Book now if you dare!

End note:

Whisky & Spirits Live is at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 8 – 10 November this year. Tickets start at R240 each from and include 16 tasting vouchers, a bottle of Consol Glass Still Water and a tasting glass. Tickets to master classes are sold separately and cost R150 each. They are not included in the general access ticket price. Master classes are held in Committee Rooms 4 and 5, upstairs from the Tasting Hall.

No Under 18s. Drink Responsibly.

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