South Africa’s first single grain whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, has been announced as the World’s Best Grain Whisky at the annual Whisky Magazine’s World Whisky Awards (WWA) held in London last night (21 March 2013).
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky became the first South African whisky to be awarded this coveted accolade, ahead of those from traditional whisky-producing countries such as Ireland, Scotland and the USA. The whiskies were assessed blind, based on three tasting rounds, by an independent panel of judges that included some of the foremost international whisky palates.
The award was presented to Andy Watts, master distiller of Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, at the ceremony held in London last night. Watts said that he was overwhelmed by the news and was delighted to have been able to personally receive the award.
Distiller of Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, Jeff Green, said: “This isn’t just a win for Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky but for South African whisky-making.
“Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, launched in 2009, was created to express the extraordinary properties of South Africa’s very best home-grown grains, fermented and distilled locally. With a distinctive South African taste profile, the maize is the same as that which was imported into Scotland up until the mid 1980s to make Scotch whisky.
“The whisky is proudly South African in profile. By taking the World’s Best Grain Whisky title we have amply demonstrated that South Africa can make exceptional whiskies. The 2013 title follows last year’s win by Three Ships 5 Year Old of the WWA’s World’s Best Blended Whisky, puts South Africa as a whisky producing country, squarely on the map.”
Green says that South Africa’s warm climate contributed to the excellence of its whiskies. He explained that the maturation process was accelerated by the faster interaction between wood, spirit and air to produce whiskies of great smoothness. “Essentially, the higher ambient temperatures mean our whiskies reach maturity at a younger age.”
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is uniquely double-matured to allow the maximum interaction between the cask and whisky. The whisky spends three years in specially selected ex-Bourbon casks and is then re-vatted for a further two years in a fresh set of casks, resulting in attractive toffee, floral and vanilla aromas softened by sweet, spicy undertones, with a warm mouth-feel and a smooth finish.
Inspired by the Bain’s Kloof Pass and its natural beauty, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is distilled and matured at The James Sedgwick Distillery, situated near the foothills of the Bain’s Kloof Pass in Wellington, in the heart of the Cape’s Boland. The whisky pays tribute to Andrew Geddes Bain, the pioneering pass builder who planned and built Bain’s Kloof Pass which connected Wellington to the interior in 1853.
Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is available from leading liquor outlets and retails for approximately R200 per 750ml bottle.