In the current issue of Wine Mag you'll find an article of Andy Watts of 3 Ships Whisky, pictured here in the barrel cellar. He is the distiller, master distiller, cellar master or whatever title one holds as creator of fine whisky, at the James Sedgewick Distillery in Wellington, South Africa. And lately they've been taking some awards home, specifically with the Bourbon Finish Cask which essentially is the whisky receiving its final maturation in old bourbon vats imported from the States (yup, mister JD himself's). In the States, by law, you're not allowed to mature whisky in second-use barrels. So they either sell'em or use em' for firewood. Here we can, and it ads a great smooth vanilla tone to the 5 year to create this beauty.
Normally one is not even allowed to answer a cell-phone in a cellar like this for fear of explosions, since whiskey vapour permeates the whole place, and they're busy filling vats with some alcohol of a high proof (% of alcohol/volume x2). Some years ago a brandy cellar went up in flames in nearby Worcester, if I'm not mistaken. If they only knew the wattage a pair of Speedlights put out and what would've happened had I dropped one and there was a spark! Well, I wouldn't be typing this to be sure. And this is no small cellar, it holds thousands and thousands of vats. Not just that, but the country would be in very short supply of whiskey and with the current upward trend in whiskey sales, that would be detrimental!
Strobists: Anyways, a dark cellar that size with no electrical powerpoints is a challenge for photographers, but luckily I had my Speedlights handy. ET-2 with 420 EX and 580 EXII. The 580EX II was keylight with a Gary Fong plonked on the front as a somewhat diffuser. Bare 420 EX. Ambient light was neglible. For the bottles I simply blew the 420 side on through a big diffuser and 580 somewhere in the corner of ceiling the tasting facility.
Cocktail fact: Whiskey vs Whisky. It is indeed an urban legend that "Whisky" is the domain of Scotland. Actually, "Scotch" is only allowed to be used by Scottisch distillers in SCOTLAND. However, "whisky" is distilled here in South Africa as well as the rest of the world, but "whiskey" is the mark of an Irish or American dram, for the pure and simple reason of different spelling.