Event Review: Whisky Live Festival – Suncoast Casino

Photo Credit: Google Images
Photo Credit: Google Images

Well. Where do I start? The Whisky Live Festival was held at Suncoast Casino in Durban. This is an Event that has gained quite a following over the years. The folks in JHB and CPT have been lucky enough to attend this event over the last 13 years, while the newbies in Durban have been eagerly celebrating it for just 2 years. My thoughts? FINALLY an event I can attend. Why Durban is still kept out of the loop with so many Event’s I will never know? We have amazing facilities locations and teams that can bring together fantastic evenings.

We arrived at the event around 19h00 and found that it was already well under way. We received a bottle of water each and a swipe card, which had our coupons digitally stored. As an Event organizer I must give credit to the small things. When we received our water we were actually asked whether we wanted cold or room temp. A small thing, but too me something that set the rest of the evening up to high standards. I will keep saying it, staff make or break an event or brand, no matter how “well known” you may be.

The room was buzzing, alight with electricity and Whisky fumes. The main room, was well lit with crystal chandeliers and black back drops. Each stand was appropriately spaced from the next and there was more than enough room to mingle and talk. We each received a Whisky Guide as well, which I must admit, helped a lot more than I assumed it would. We used the book through out the evening, both before and after tasting a Whisky.

Aidan started at The Balvenie Tent, while I sneaked off to one of my favorites to start the evening. Yes, Black Bottle I am looking at you 🙂 As usual the staff at the Black Bottle stand, were friendly, helpful, full of information and people orientated. I didn’t expect any less but it’s nice to know that no matter where they are, you can expect nothing less. You can find my piece on the Black Bottle Review here.

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As we started wondering around the tent, I started to realize exactly how far the demographic goes, when it comes to Whisky Tasting. There was a Cigar stand which I quickly browsed over. And of course we ran into my friends Twisp. They were launching a new look and new range of E-Cigs.

Next we ventured on to a brand I had first come into contact with on Twitter. Innis & Gunn, my first attraction being their name. Just say it a couple of times, you’ll soon understand what I mean 🙂 This was one of my most enjoyed Stands of the entire evening. The team behind the stand were wonderful. We joked, we laughed and we shared some amazing Hand Crafted Oak Beer. Beer that is stored in barrels that have previously held Bourbon. As a craft lover, this really hit the spot! The range is wide and intriguing, most certainly a brand I will have to sit down and Review for you 🙂 The gentlemen who explained the range to me, was well suited and booted and when he explained everything he did it in a conversational tone, I didn’t feel like I was sitting through a 9 hour lecture.

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We moved along through the room after this. I enjoyed the fact that we were able to stop and just talk the whisky’s over between us, without having to move out of walk way’s or bumping into people. The flow in the area was really effectively done.

Something else I also enjoyed were the ladies walking around with I Pads. All you had to do was a 60 second quiz which told you what kind of Whisky strain, you’d enjoy most and then you could go through the room and try it. I spoke to 2 of the ladies, who were both so eager to help us “find” our taste. I must also say I was impressed with the black lace dress they all wore. Often promoters are dressed a little too wild for my tasting, but these ladies looked classy, gorgeous and most of all comfortable in their own skin. Both Aidan and I got Rich on our tests, with my suggestion being a Singleton and his was a Reserve. I tried the Singleton of Dufftown 12year & Aidan tried the Bells Special Reserve. 

After this, we stopped at the Bains Glenmorangie , Three Ships and Glynbrynth Whisky Stands. There was one instance where we run into a staff member who really looked like she had better things to do. Arms crossed, sulky look on her face, and gave us as little information as she could possibly give up. However when we returned to “said” stand she had been replaced by another lady who was all smiles 🙂

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So as an amazing evening came to an end, we sipped on our last tasters and headed towards the door.

Although one, cant leave it there. Below is my Guest Interview of the Event. While I have been in hospitality for 12 years and I am used to events, spirits etc it’s always great to get an opinion from someone who isn’t.

Whisky Live Festival – Guest Interview

Guest: Aidan

Guest Occupation: Traveler / Teaching Abroad

Guest Age: 31

What did you expect to find at the Whisky Live Showroom?

Obviously some kind of whiskey marketing. But I was expecting something smaller and more personal…perhaps with some events/speaking.

What was your first impression of the Event, once inside?

Looked like fun..a lot of people talking and socializing. And a lot of whiskey – brands I hadn’t even heard of.

Did you learn anything new about Whisky?

I learnt that you can rub it on your hands to smell it better.

On a whole, what do you think of the Whisky Tasting concept?

Not a lot of substance to it. Either you like a whiskey or you don’t – so obviously getting to taste a bunch of different whiskey brands is important. But all the marketing that goes into “Whiskey Tasting” with a capital “T” was a bit lost on me.

Were there any brands which specifically stuck out for you?

I actually can’t remember the names of the whiskeys that I liked. So I guess none of them really “stuck out”.

Was there anything you would change about the Event? Location? Setup? Staff? Etc.

More staff who are actually knowledgeable and passionate about whiskey.

After experiencing a “tasting” event like the Whisky Live Showroom, do you now know what kind of Whisky drinker you are? Do you feel as though you have discovered the “type” of Whisky you enjoy?

No and no…which probably means I’m the “philistine” type of whiskey drinker. Just give me something cheap that I can mix with my ginger ale.

What was the best part of the evening for you?
The whiskey drinking bit.

What was the worst part of the evening for you?
Holding back because I had to drive 😦

If you had to host your own Whisky Live Showroom, what 1 thing would you add/remove?

I’d add food (was there food? I can’t remember) and I’d remove the narrow drinking glasses that I couldn’t get my face into.

The End

As always a HUGE thank you to the team at DKC. A wonderful event, much enjoyed and looking forward to the next.



*Please note I was not paid to write this review and all opinions are those of my own. All photography under the CM Photography are that of my own as well, please do not use images without my permission*. If you’d like me to review your product please get in touch via the Blog Page. 

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