This month, The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa in Johannesburg will launch Eighteen05, the first authentic Johnnie Walker whisky bar outside Scotland
Eighteen05 promises to be a glamorous and intimate bar bringing an unprecedented luxury whisky experience to guests at The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa. Guests and visitors will have the opportunity to try rare blends and take part in expert led tastings, learning more about the history of iconic Johnnie Walker brand.
So why call the whisky bar Eighteen05?
As most of you will have guessed, it relates to the date 1805, when the Scottish founder of the brand – John “Johnnie” Walker, was born. The Eighteen05 name is also a homage to the two hundred limited edition bottles created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Johnnie Walker in 2005.
These limited edition bottles were made by master blender Jim Beveridge, the 1805 is created with the best rare whiskies, predominantly selected from distilleries which no longer exist, making them extremely coveted. Beveridge trained as an analytical chemist before joining the Johnnie Walker company a little over thirty-five years ago. Today Beveridge takes a lot of the responsibility for ensuring that the legacy of the Johnnie Walker whisky is maintained around the world crafting the style and flavours to ensure that it remains one of the world’s most popular alcoholic beverages.
The two hundred limited edition bottles are estimated to be worth up to £25,000 each and before you think that you’d like one for investment, the bad news is they’re not available for sale. However, There is a positive and it comes in the form of the Saxon’s Eighteen05 bar, as it will be the home of one of the bottles given by Johnnie Walker in celebration of the partnership. To mark this kind gesture at exactly 18:05 each day the Eighteen05 bar pays a tribute to founder Johnnie Walker with a toast.
The interior of the Eighteen05 bar
The stylish Eighteen05 bar has a warm and inviting atmosphere, having been designed by South Africa’s most celebrated and sought after interior designer, Stephen Falcke. Responsible for securing The Saxon’s place on the design map, he was tasked with creating a bar that authentically embodied the Johnnie Walker brand, while staying true to the hotel’s truly African sprit. Falcke studied interior design at the Chelsea School of Art before working for David Hicks in London. As a specialist in boutique hotel interior design, his work has been recognised around the world and included being named the Designer of the Year in Hawaii and winning the Andrew Martin Designer of the World award in London.
Falcke has a passion for using natural materials, and inside Eighteen05, coupled with the sophisticated navy wallpaper you’ll find light and dark wood panelled flooring and eye-catching African wood chandeliers hanging from the ceiling creating an illuminated, inviting setting. The warm ambiance inside Eighteen05 is contrasted by lovely views onto the cooling waters of the hotel’s main pool.
To further enhance the Eighteen05 experience, one of the bar’s walls has been specially designed to showcase bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue, which sits behind a clear perspex panel for safekeeping. These bottles are available for guest’s to purchase and each bottle sold will feature a special placard engraved with the buyer’s name which is then personally available to them whenever they visit.
“We are honoured to launch South Africa’s, Africa’s, only authentic Johnnie Walker bar. As part of our ongoing pursuit to meet and exceed evolving tastes, we wanted to create an exclusive, luxury experience for our guests to grow in their appreciation for whisky. Johnnie Walker like The Saxon, is recognised as an icon of personal progress, as an international, high-status, sophisticated and dynamic brand. When two iconic brands such as these come together, the result can be nothing short of spectacular,” George Cohen, Managing Director of the Saxon.
By Paul Godbold