Candice Ngcobo.
Candice Ngcobo.
Image: Supplied/Diageo

Gone are the days when drinking whisky was the exclusive wheelhouse of the lads, post-dinner. Today a good dram is just as popular with the ladies. Delving into the changing realm of blends and single malts,

Wanted chatted to Candice Ngcobo, who looks after Diageo’s most premium international whiskies, Johnnie Walker Super Deluxe and The Singleton.

Your perfect holiday escape? My favourite local destination is our family holiday house on Thesen Island in Knysna. You walk straight onto the beach, it’s tranquil, and is the best escape from a very busy Joburg.

What makes The Singleton so special? It’s made in a mix of American oak ex-bourbon casks and European oak ex-sherry casks. This blend creates a perfectly smooth liquid, balancing the rich fruit notes from the European casks with the sweet nuttiness of the American casks.

How do you drink your whisky? A simple Singleton with soda water and a dash of peach syrup for some added flavour — it’s so easy to make at home for friends.

What makes whisky so luxurious? The slowly crafted liquid, made through a careful distillery process, is something of a work of art. The ageing process — for The Singleton of Dufftown this takes place over 12 years — adds to this. The care and precision that goes into creating whisky is totally evident in every sip.

That said, this luxuriousness should never deter anyone from enjoying their whisky the way they want. Don’t be bound by traditions — create your perfect drink.

How are you entertaining this holiday? I’ll be spending quality time with my family all over the country, eating the most divine food — including my mom’s trifle (it’s my favourite). All while sipping on The Singleton, of course.

Big whisky trends? The whisky segment is really starting to exude vibrancy — it’s bolder and more playful, and as a result is attracting more women and previous non-whisky drinkers. It used to be the ambit of whisky lounges and intimate settings; now we’re seeing it being enjoyed at daytime events, large celebrations, and the likes.

Why the stigma around women drinking whisky? The segment used to be extremely traditional, and so largely portrayed whisky being enjoyed by men in more traditional settings. Understandably, that deterred women from enjoying whisky — unless they conformed to the idea. Thankfully our reality is now that whisky can and should be enjoyed in any way we like and we women can enjoy it unapologetically. When convention tells us that women can’t enjoy whisky, The Singleton rightly asks, “Why not?”

Why do you think South Africans love whisky? In this era of whisky drinking, the flexibility of how and where it can be enjoyed really speaks to the South African who is a social being and who loves to enjoy time with friends.

Not for persons under the age of 18. Drink Responsibly.

• This article is paid for by Singleton.

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