Arriving at 1st Principles you are greeted by the beautiful sights of a grape farm and a large bamboo plantation blooming just outside the distillery doors. The whole atmosphere radiates hard work and passion, I feel like a kid in a Willy Wonka factory, only it is something more bitter brewing around me.
The warm welcome from 1st Principles owner, Joubert Roux and his daughter Anya is nothing short of 5-star courtesy and you immediately feel at home. The tasting is kicked off with a tour of the equipment, distilling process, different types of methods used for each spirit and a quick smell here and there of what is cooking. Joubert takes pride in providing detailed oversight of the entire operation and it shows his enthusiasm for his business.
A quick tasting follows next, guests will get an overview and quick taste of each product available at 1st Principles and especially how each of these change by simply adding water, you taste with a quick dip of the tongue a few times, flavour usually catches up with you after the third drop. I know a few brave souls who will forgo the dipping technique and down it like a university student, to you, I simply say, good luck.
Lastly, you are taken to a beautiful outdoor area in front of the distillery, where you’ll be surrounded by the enchanting bamboo landscape and greeted to the next part of your tasting.
Different shapes and sizes of branded glassware are stacked all over the long wooden table and a variety of condiments are displayed nearby. Joubert starts by making his tonic, yes his very own blend from scratch, and carefully mixes a variety of different drinks – each with its unique flavour. A quick explanation of each flavour and a guide to making their delicious cocktails and you’re on your way to becoming a spirit queen or king.
The day ends with a few laughs, good conversation and a refreshing drink in hand – this is an experience worth having!