Nine craft beers, small-batch Thursdays + a guide for beginners
Introducing the Whiskey Lounge
Tastings from around the world, guided by an ambassador
The Whiskey Lounge at Taj Cape Town, with its framed black and white photos and vast and varied whiskey selection, is as steeped in Mother City heritage as the luxurious hotel. There novices and connoisseurs go on a grand whiskey journey that takes them from India to Taiwan, Scotland to Ireland, America to Japan and beyond – with bites to match (if you like, as the experience is completely customisable).
Taste whiskey and tapas-style small plates at the new Whiskey Lounge. Image: Taj Cape Town
BE IN A BESPOKE BAR WITH AN INTERESTING STORY
The impeccably done-up Taj Whiskey Lounge is where your night begins, or ends (it closes at 2am). Once the Cigar Lounge, its double doors have now been removed so the space is open and welcoming.
So as to catch the eye of guests before they head out on the town, and warmly welcome them and the city’s locals (a medley of whip smart professionals and politicians) back in after soaking up the dynamic city.
The Whiskey Lounge, with exposed brick walls, leather couches and elegant dark wood and glass display of premium whiskey bottles and cigar boxes, is the sleek space from which you sip on whiskey.
Taj Cape Town is surrounded by history - it’s close to the High Court , the Company’s Gardens and Parliament. Credit: Taj Cape Town
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE TAJ WHISKEY TASTING?
Each tasting follows a basic process. A charming whiskey expert takes you on a 60 minute guided tasting of three whiskeys organised around a theme, poured in Glencairn glasses. The best kind of glass, as the tapered opening concentrates the smell and allows for better nosing, while the shape of the glass ensures that only a small amount of whiskey is sipped.
The Whiskey Lounge is close to Parliament, the High Court and local businesses, so there’s a nice crowd of locals too: Smartly-dressed lawyers, entrepreneurs and chic professionals out for sundowners.
A dedicated whiskey expert guides your tasting. Credit: Taj Cape Town
CHOOSE FROM 100 BOTTLES OF WHISKEY
The tasting follows one of eight themes, including introductions to Scotch, Irish, American or Asian whiskey. You can choose which whiskey you try – highlights include Tullamore Dew 15 Year Trilogy for the Irish tasting, or Hibiki Harmony for the Asian tasting.
The introduction to whiskey tasting theme touches on its history, the production process, tasting guidance and flavours. You’ll learn the difference between peated and unpeated whiskey, and how this changes the taste and smell of the spirit.
Connoisseurs might appreciate the Five Nations tasting, which strays from the traditional choices and focuses on whiskeys produced in countries like Taiwan, such as Kavalan Concertmaster, India (Amrut Naarangi) and South Africa.
TRY TAPAS-STYLE PLATES WITH YOUR TASTING
There are also set food-and-whiskey tastings: Bushmills (the whiskey with a 400-year-old history from the north coast of Ireland), Silkie (inspired by 19th century Donegal whiskey and the myths of sea silkies that were popular at the time) and Sexton are paired with truffles in the Irish whiskey tasting.
The Scottish whisky tasting comes with treats like white chocolate cheesecake and pumpkin spice tartlet, and includes a sample of Caolila, Glenfiddich (which has received more awards since 2000 than any other single malt Scotch whisky) and Glenkinchie (founded in 1825 and has been an obscure brand until the last 40 years).
The Around the World tasting of five whiskeys includes savoury bites like tandoori chicken with tamarind chutney or brie and caramelised red onion crostini.
Taj Cape Town also offers a sumptuous seven course Indian experience at the Bombay Brasserie.
The Lobby Lounge & Bar next to the Whiskey Lounge and is glamorously decorated with gold finishes and plush seating. Image: Taj Cape Town
EAT SMALL PLATES AT THE LOBBY LOUNGE
The Whiskey Lounge is right next to the Lobby Lounge & Bar, a glamorous space, with plush seating and gold accents adorning the fully-stocked bar with a gold ladder that the bartenders use to reach top-shelf spirits.
Its expansive menu goes beyond typical bar food. There's a variety of small plates (like flame-grilled butternut, tamarind and crumbled feta or spiced ribeye) as well as signature dishes like the Wagyu burger on a pretzel roll or creamy white wine risotto.
The large windows overlook the city's museums, the Company’s Gardens and St George’s Cathedral. They, and the iconic hotel as a whole, are at the nexus of what’s exciting and magnificent about the city. You’ll want to visit, whether to eat or drink, or taste the full range of Taj experiences.
Look out for the golden ladder, which the bartender uses to reach the top-shelf spirits. Image: Taj Cape Town
TASTE WHISKEY AT TAJ CAPE TOWN
The Whiskey Lounge is open: Daily, 11am - 2am
Find them: 1 Wale Street | Cape Town City Centre
Make a booking: 021 819 2000 | email@example.com
By Julia Rowley
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