So, what makes a Scotch whisky a Scotch whisky? Well, in a nutshell it has to be bottled and distilled in Scotland, and has to have spent at least three years inside a barrel. The wood used in the barrelling of the whisky plays a big role in its character: 65% of its flavour comes from the wood, and 100% of its colour comes from the wood. It’s worth noting that regardless of the age that the whisky has been barreled for, regulations state that the age that it will given on its label is the age of the youngest component involved in its blend.
Which is exactly what the Compass Box Three Year Old Deluxe has decided to take the mickey out of. What is clearly a well aged older, and far more mature whisky, due to the fact that it has been blended with a three year old component it must be labeled as such. A limited run of less than 3 300 were bottled in 2016.
Cocktails. They’re everywhere and available at every restaurant. Sweet, badly mixed, just-wrong-on-all-levels cocktails. However, quality cocktails engineered by true mixologists? Those are not common – at all. In Durban alone there are barely enough quality cocktail bars to count on one hand, but they’re here, and one of them is Lucky Shaker in Umhlanga.
Lucky Shaker is one of my favourite places to arrive at and spend a great evening or afternoon enjoying some of the very best cocktails – and the best chicken burger – in Durban. Their honest approach to cocktail making leaves no room for any sponsored items on its menu, leaving you with the certainty that everything mixed into your glass has had its place earned and carefully selected.
Behind that masterful alchemy is Michael Stephenson: the owner of Lucky Shaker and master alchemist- I mean mixologist. He is also one of the most clued up individuals you will ever meet when it comes to what goes into a cocktail – and also where the contents of it come from and what they’re made up of.
Which is just so why he has decided to share his knowledge with those keen to learn, starting with taking us through the murky waters of Scotch whisky. Starting from March 2017, at the end of each month Michael hosts a whisky tasting evening at Lucky Shaker. R400 gets you a variety of premium whiskies to taste – which includes at least one very special bottle – and plenty of snacks throughout the evening. Limited to 28 people on a first come first served bookings-only basis, it is an entertaining, interactive and really quite educational evening.
The first whisky of the evening was the Glenfiddich 18 Year Single Malt, followed by the Haig Club Single Grain. Then on to the more commonly known Johnnie Walker Black Label, and then its more distinguished older brother the Johnnie Walker Green Label. The final whisky we got to taste was the Compass Box Three Year Old Deluxe.