Hector Andrew Mc Beth
It was at a very young age that our founder first came across the art of distilling, or should I say he became aware of it.
He was truly fascinated and although Libraries never had enough information to quench his thirst for knowledge he studied every book he found on the subject.
Now growing up in South Africa with a name like his there are two things he could be sure about.
He would have to listen to at least one comment regarding his name. Every single time without exception “What’s your name son,…. No, you are joking, are you related to Shakespeare?” they would ask or add some other daft comment.
He would have to prove that he was worth his salt, what with such a strange name and all, and that he could in fact add value or ship back to Scotland.
It was at one of these moments when his honour as a Scot and knowledge of his heritage were tested, that he conducted his first informal Whisky tasting. You see at age 14 he gathered up his toughest “Vrystaat” mates and told them HE would teach them to drink Whisky. This was the first time he had ever let whisky pass his lips, the said Whisky was in fact a Glenfiddich and a Laphroaig, both Single Malts.
The Problem was that they belonged to his father and were obtained without his blessing, what followed was most interesting the two whiskies differed like day and night, and in fact he was quite sure that the one was old stock that had been damaged in a fire. Surely Whisky was not supposed to taste like this??
He was at a loss for words so he read the labels and bluffed quite a bit, not much has changed in 20 Years, probably because he got away with it and to this day those mates all still enjoy a dram or two.
From that moment on he decided he would try to find out if the Whisky was in fact damaged or not and if not then why such a dramatic difference. It had been decided that whilst it was weird, the smoky whisky was rather pleasant in a strange sort of way.
He was given quite a few explanations as to why the whisky tasted smoky, none unfortunately were correct he would later discover.
After completing his schooling he realised that Student life had its benefits and he formed his first tasting society they called themselves a Wine Society but they tried all drinks and most times focussed on Whisky, it was all part of an elaborate plan to get others to contribute financially to expensive whisky.
It was on a summer break that he attended his first formal tasting; the host pointed him in the right direction.
Finally answers to his many questions were there, after completing his studies he moved to Cape Town where he started working in the Hospitality industry fulltime.
Although no one at the time was prepared to listen let alone pay for whisky tasting he quietly pursued his passion and formulated methods to train his staff.
Much of his formal time with whisky was spent working closely with big brands like Bells and J&B but he supported some of the then smaller brands too. In 2001 after 7 Years he decided to quit the Hospitality trade.
The last 7 Years he has spent developing distributing and marketing Whisky, Wine and Cigars. It is estimated that he has tasted over 3000 whiskies and conducted over 800 tasting events. He loves to challenge conventional thinking and is sometimes criticised for this. He says that “Whisky is a simple thing and should not be overcomplicated.” Someone once told him that adding soda to whisky was sacrilege to which he replied “Sacrilege is a Scotch drinker drinking a G&T.”
It is with this same passion and dedication that he now embarks on his very own Whisky portal and hopes that you will join in this Wonderful Journey of discovery.