The Woodford Reserve Speakeasy

The Taj Hotel, Cape Town, made for the perfect setting of the Woodford Reserve Speakeasy launch in association with Disaronno. The media event was packed with creative expression, with more than the taste of bourbon on everyone’s lips.

The event took place in The Vault, which was once the actual reserve bank’s vault once upon a time. Down the stairs we went, to a creative world, inspired by Disaronno bourbon, the all-American premium batch whiskey. Guests enjoyed the old-fashioned cocktails, made with orange zest and took turns learning about (and tasting) the variety of bourbon on offer that evening, led by award-winning mixologist, Marson Strydom.

Each bottle is said to carry a story and add conversation to every table, which we happily found to be accurate. The taste of bourbon provided the right amount of spice on a chilly evening thanks to the winds that sweep through Cape Town every so often. Guests came to understand the roots and heritage of the spirit, which lead back to the states in a story that spans across centuries, as they sipped their old-fashion cocktails.

In the cellar, there was a jazz band performing and an artist painting a scene that was unfolding in the room, live. My partner and I spotted ourselves in the painting, as the waitrons brought along snacks for us all to enjoy.

The concept of the evening was much like the drink itself – a celebration of creative expression. The Vault was the spot for undiscovered talented artists to “share their journeys through hardships, battles, failures and losses leading to triumph, understanding, and ultimately, success.”

Bourbon is relatively new to South African palettes, as other spirits have dominated the market. With that being said, the gin trend has opened consumer mindsets, creating more refined palettes, making bourbon the soon-to-be new favourite, said Strydom, who says that he always has a bottle ready for guests at home.

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