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October 11, 2012

Kayli Vee’s FNB Whisky Live experience

Guest writer Kayli Vee Levitan discovered the joys of whisky appreciation at the FNB Whisky Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre

Trying out new things is my cup of tea, or in this case, my glass of whisky. I attended the FNB Whisky Live Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Thursday October 4, 2012, where I eye-balled, sniffed, sipped, sloshed and gargled countless varieties of the golden liquid.

The FNB Whisky Live Festival has become one of the largest commercial whisky shows in the world, and features more than 150 varieties of tipple. Although the prices vary, a standard ticket set one back around R180, which gave us a tasting glass, 12 tasting tickets and a R10 food voucher amongst other purchase-based discounts. Each whisky cost a certain amount of tickets to taste but you were able to purchase more if you needed to.

One of my highlights was the Johnnie Walker tasting zone, where for four tasting tickets, small groups were led through a maze-like set of rooms, tasting whisky as we went. Of the three we tasted, the smooth Johnnie Walker Blue was my favourite, followed by Platinum Label and finally, Gold Label Reserve.

But the evening did not only cater for whisky lovers, it also took the drivers into consideration. For R90 you could get a designated driver's ticket, which allowed you access into the venue, a few non-alcoholic drinks and a R30 food voucher – a nice way for everyone, drinking alcohol or not, to enjoy the event.

Another highlight was Pierre from Bunnahabhain (Bu-na-Ha-veen) who took the time to explain the effort and love involved in whisky making, as well as the entire drinking experience. Although I was unable to meet all the exhibitors, Pierre's attention to detail impressed me.

My friend and I enjoyed the music, food stalls, promotions, tasting workshops, Pick n Pay's canapé and beverage pairings, and the Schwepps Royal Mixing Zone where we learnt how to make delicious cocktails. For dinner I had a chicken prego roll, while my friend had a beef espatada with mash, but the menu was extensive and affordable, with curries, wraps, chicken kebabs and sandwiches. 

It was a very interesting and educational experience, and different to the food and drink events I have attended, which I enjoyed. I thought that I wasn't partial to whisky, but apparently I am, however, the good ones are simply out of my price range.

These are few images of the FNB Whisky Festival:

Francois Pienaar, former rugby player, attend the FNB Whisky Festival

Pick n Pay's canape and beverage parings were a hit at the FNB Whisky Festival

Hundreds of whisky lovers flocked to savour the tastes of the FNB Whisky Festival

Thirst Bar Services kept everyone in high spirits with their delicious drinks

Kayli Vee Levitan is a writer for FoodBlogCT. Follow her on Twitter at @KayliVee for more of her foodie escapades.

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