There is alcohol and then there is whisky, enjoying whisky is more than just a drink, it is an appreciation of life in its fullness, really. Be it a bottle with friends or a dram or two enjoyed in solitude, few things can be more worthwhile. Now that you know a bit about my views on the subject, you can only imagine how excited I was when I heard about Johannesburg’s first and only dedicated whisky bar.
Walking into WhiskyBrother Bar in Morningside for the first time felt like living a wild fantasy, for want of a better description. I got there at about 5pm to settle in before post-work traffic started flowing in. Barring two patrons, it felt like I had the small and intimate bar room to myself.
There is being well stocked then this having 1023 different whiskies…and counting! The folks at WhiskyBrothers Bar clearly mean business! As if this was not enough, Marc, one of the co-owners informed me that the number would most likely go up soon as they were expecting more new whiskies to hit their shelves! I mean what could possibly come after 1023 whiskies!
Even for a generally decisive person like yours truly 1023 options is a bit on the overwhelming side of things. So (purely and solely) on account of time constraints I decided to abandon the tempting idea of sampling all 1023 bottles in one sitting. Talk of an obviously disappointing admission of weakness on my part. So to make life easy for myself I decided to focus exclusively on the peat variety, as it is my preferred type of whisky anyway, and just like that, my options were not as staggering anymore!
I am unsure whether it was due to me being a first timer there or the fact that the bar was virtually empty or maybe that is generally how the bar runs, but the experience was very interactive between the bar man and the whisky lover across the counter, with Marc being the former and me the latter.
Of course to kick start proceedings, I had to first pay homage to my all-time favourite, and to that end I sampled the 12 year old Lagavulin Limited edition. This turned out to be a sweet reminder of why this bottled magic ranks as my favourite! You know it by the unmistakable explosion of the peat flavour with all its sharpness, hitting different parts of the tongue!
After I got the Lagavulin out of the way, Marc introduced me to two very good bottles, Kilchoman and Porte Charlotte neither of which I had ever tried before! From the expected smokey smell to the rich peaty taste, my world got a bit better with every sip really. You see you need to have a serious appreciation for whisky to understand what I mean.
I am not sure why but they serve coffee as well, I suspect it does not hurt to get a sobering espresso after an attempt at establishing how close one can get to the 1023! The delightful canape menu from Green Peppercon also does help to keep one on course. To cap a memorable night I sampled the newly released An Oa edition from Ard Berg, a respectable malt producer in its own right and as expected I was not disappointed at all. Some evening that was, I absolutely look forward to my next visit!