FNB Whisky Live Festival kicks off in Joburg (audio)

This year’s FNB Whisky Live Festival features the world’s most expensive spirit – the rare Macallan "M" whisky.

Displayed in a large crystal decanter, the unique whisky was sold for US$628 205 (about R6 million) at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong earlier this year.

The hefty price tag set a new world record for the most expensive single-malt whisky sold at auction.

Macallan brand ambassador Candice Baker talks about the rare Macallan “M” whisky.

The festival, which kicked off on Wednesday in Sandton, Johannesburg, features more than 150 whiskies from all over the world.

Presenters include Ian MacMillan, master distiller for Bunnahabhain and Scottish Leader; Thamsanqa Banda, national brand ambassador for Glenfiddich; and Andy Watts, master distiller at Three Ships, who shared a sneak preview of the Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt which is due for release at the end of 2015.

While the majority of festival-goers diluted their whiskey with water, Brandhouse Reserve brand ambassador Alex Farnell told The Citizen that there was no right or wrong way to drink whisky.

“I say that because everybody has different preferences. And this is what I love about the concept at Whisky Live. We’ve made it less intimidating for people who are maybe intimidated by the whisky category as it’s so huge,” said Farnell.

“There are so many options, which make it so overwhelming at times. Some people see an ad and are sold by marketing, while others go by recommendations.”

Farnell added that the festival made it approachable and easy for consumers to approach whisky.

“For someone to say they are a connoisseur of J&B for example, they should have a little bit of credibility, and understand it on the level of consuming it neat, on the rocks, with some soda and understanding it with a mixer,” said Farnell.

Popular features at the festival included the quirky Monkey Shoulder mobile bar with Dominic Walsh, the brand’s drummer-traveller-bartender-brand-ambassador; and the Flavour Explorer, which uses flavour profiles to help visitors choose the right whiskies.

These include identifying vibrant, bold, rich or fresh whisky profiles.

The festival runs until Friday at the Sandton Convention Centre.

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Johannesburg CBD (Joburg) Sandton

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