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Issue 44 - Cape of great hope

Whisky Magazine Issue 44
November 2004

 

This article is 10 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Cape of great hope

A writer in every port or a port in every writer? Davie Broom visits Cape Town

Apparently the surf was sick, which means good in the same way as bad used to. So there you go. Travel broadens one's linguistic skills as well as one's mind.

I gamely resisted plunging in – for starters the ocean's temperature was the same as the Clyde and anyway glasses and surf are a bad combination – something which was demonstrated later when I bowed to peer pressure and took a dip.

Around me the mountains were tumbling into the water, smooth whale-bellied granite boulders turning the colour of wild salmon, roseate clouds in a darkening indigo sky, the cliffs blushing with their beauty. How could you not love a place like this?

The beach trip was a short diversion from the main reason for my visit to Cape Town – the city's second Whisky Live. It also got me away from hanging over the fence gazing at the dry dock which lay between my hotel (the swish Cape Grace don't you know) and the waterfront complex. I'd become a little obsessive about that dry dock.

It's rare to find one on your doorstep and this was a cracker. A trawler was beached in it and the aromas emanating from it brought me back day after day. Sump oil, fuel and grease, a hot sweet smell, an echoing smell, a global smell whose thread took me to places long unseen.

It seemed to change every day, deepen, become more complex. Fish smells one day, coal tar the next. Maybe my nose was simply tuning into the new rather than constantly referring back to the old. Smell is like that. It builds pictures plac...

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