Last night I tasted whisky for just about the first time and by that I don’t mean tasted in a formal tasting situation, I mean tasted, ever.
I have to admit that it is still not my drink of choice but the fact that I started out on Johnnie Walker Blue, Gold Reserve and Platinum means that it probably won’t ever be.
One thing I must say is that it wasn’t nearly as awful as I had anticipated and I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that I could identify the different aromas and tastes that Nick Morgan, Johnnie Walker’s Head of Whisky Outreach, Diageo and Keeper of the Quaich, a veritable library of knowledge and insight, pointed out. I may not have loved the whisky but I did enjoy every minute of listening to Nick talk about the history of whisky, how it is blended and why Johnnie Walker has introduced these two new blends to their range and the South African market.
My husband, who is a whisky connoisseur (he has eight bottles of whisky in his bar and is not an alcoholic!) was fascinated with the presentation and with the new blends. We were both really interested to hear Nick talk about how different whiskies should be consumed in different situations and that a whisky you might drink in a bar with friends over crushed ice is not the same one as you would drink in a contemplative moment after dinner.
After the treat of listening to Nick Morgan, we moved across to the festival itself and were armed with far more information which made the evening much more worthwhile and enjoyable. I must say that I was most impressed with the layout of the festival and the setting of the ICC which really makes it feel like the premier event it is. All the major brands are there and have knowledgeable bar staff to answer the questions you may have about their ranges and we learnt even more about whisky as a result of knowing the questions to ask.
The festival runs on a coupons basis and you can exchange your coupons for whisky tasters which vary in ‘price’. If you are a whisky drinker, the FNB Whisky Live Festival is a wonderful opportunity to taste whiskies you may never splash out and buy and I think that that alone makes a visit worth the ticket price.
Th FNB Whisky Live Festival is on at the ICC, hall 3, tonight from 18:00.