Whisky Tasting #18: Odd Blends

It can be tough to find a venue to drink whisky. At least, tough to find a venue that doesn’t require a waistcoats, bowties and bad attitudes. While there are a few spots in and around Cape Town that can ply you with good alcohol without making you feel like a dirty peasant, undoubtedly the best and brightest newcomer is Rust Cafe in Observatory.

Rust Cafe

The exceptional fellows at Rust generously allowed us to invade their premises with our whisky in tow, take up loads of their space, and get loud and cantankerous. That being said, it felt like we were right at home. Rust is an eminently cool, down-to-earth, odd place right in the heart of the city’s oddest suburb. Perfect!

To celebrate the discovery of this hidden gem, we put together a collection of weird and forgotten blends to ponder over and wax philosophical:

The Lineup

Tullamore D.E.W 15 (43%), a bizarre Irish concoction of sherry, bourbon and rum casks at an age statement you don’t find too often from the Emerald Isle. An intense whisky with a high-barrier to entry, it certainly couldn’t be classified as an “easy” dram – but a fine example of how potent rum casks can be if used carefully.

Next up an equally bizarre blend in the form of High West Campfire (46%), a naturally presented beauty mixing together straight bourbon, rye and Scotch whiskies. Wow. A truly one-of-a-kind bottle from the frozen wastes of Utah, generously donated to the Cape Whisky Club by the exceptional folks over at Scotch & Sofa whisky club all the way in Los Angeles. What champions!

Much to my excitement, next was the original Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18-year-old (43%) which we were able to track down through a few shady dealings and greasing-of-palms. It was the clear hit of the evening, with even the biggest Johnnie Walker deniers among us falling for this Clynelish-laden, rich, complex piece of blending history. Nice!

Lastly, from a discontinued Johnnie Walker to a newly released one: Johnnie Walker Island Green Label (43%), a Caol Ila heavy version of Johnnie Walker Green and their peatiest expression yet. Some truly epic blending is going on in this bottle, a sure hit for fans of Islay.


Many thanks to Adrian from Rust Cafe for hosting us and making it an absolute cracker of an evening. Do yourself a favour and head over to Rust for a casual drink, a killer coffee or to admire the furniture. See you there for the next one!

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