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Single malt whisky appealing to more young South Africans - expert

Jun 27 2017 16:47
Carin Smith

Cape Town - More and more young people are choosing single malt whisky and the same goes for South Africa, according to Brendan McCarron, head of maturing whisky at The Glenmorangie Company.

He spoke to Fin24 during his visit to Cape Town on Tuesday.

The Glenmorangie Company, which originated in the Scottish Highlands in 1843, is owned by Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH) and home to single malt brands Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.

"The global whisky market is growing every year and more and more people are drinking single malt Scotch. When I was growing up, older men drank single malt Scotch. These days more and more young people - both men and women - are enjoying and savouring single malt, a trend we see in SA too," explained McCarron.

"Single malts are expensive, but affordable. Maybe millennials are looking for these definite choices."


Although most of the company's sales in Africa are in SA, the rest of the continent offers great opportunities for the future, according to McCarron. This is mainly due to the aspirations of the growing middle class, with more and more wanting to enjoy single malt Scotch too.  

"Right now Africa is a small market in terms of our global sales, but it is a vast continent with growth opportunities. As more markets on the continent open up, more people will want to try single malts," said McCarron.

His advice for novice whisky drinkers is to try it "neat" - single, unmixed, without water, ice or another mixer - before later deciding if you prefer to add water, for instance.

"It is a beautiful drink neat, but there are also some really talented cocktail makers out there and single malt cocktails are fantastic," said McCarron.

At the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) Glenmorangie has won more "Gold Best in Class" medals in the past five years than any other single malt Scotch whisky.

At this year's World Whiskies Awards Glenmorangie was awarded Best Highland Single Malt for Glenmorangie Lasanta, while the Ardbeg Corryvreckan won Best Islay Single Malt. More than 500 whiskies from 30 countries took part.  

McCarron says Ardbeg is still new to the SA market. He describes it as "a big, raw, spooky beast".

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