The award-winning distillery at Boplaas celebrates a milestone in April with the launch of its first single malt whisky, a spirit of remarkable historic pedigree. With a distilling heritage that dates to 1880, Boplaas’s latest limited-edition release is arguably the first of its kind to emerge from the Karoo.
Just 500 bottles of this true collector’s whisky have been produced.
“The single malt is the culmination of a dream we’ve held for a long time,” says Daniel Nel, sixth-generation distiller at Boplaas. “To be able to release it during the 10th anniversary year of our whisky journey makes this release extra special for us.”
The single malt was made using peated malt from Scotland and double-distilled in a copper potstill. It was then matured for five years in ex-Bourbon barrels before being finished in casks previously used in making Constantia’s famed Noble Late Harvest wine.
It was bottled, non-chill-filtered and with its natural colour, at 46% ABV.
“Every step of the process involved the finest attention to detail to allow this whisky to express its character in the purest form,” says Daniel. “Using casks that previously held Constantia Noble Late Harvest was a real coup for us. This wine is renowned for having been enjoyed by Frederick the Great, Queen Victoria and Napoleon. We’re sure they would have approved of our Boplaas Single Malt too!”
This historic association represents a full circle for Boplaas. From its earliest days, the farm had a standing order for its brandies in London, which required casks to be transported by ox-wagon from Calitzdorp to the Cape and then shipped to Europe.
Its new single malt builds on this tradition, which includes a diverse range of award-winning grain whiskies. In the glass, the new single malt whisky expresses aromas of sweet peat smoke and flavours of white peach, citrus and dried candied fruits. The long finish carries the taste of oak spiciness.
The flavour profile is particularly impacted by Boplaas’s location in the Little Karoo. “Low humidity and extreme variance in day/night temperatures step up interaction between the spirit and the wood of the casks,” explains Daniel. “This means our evaporation rate – the so-called Angel’s Share – is relatively high at 6% per year. But what we receive in return is a high concentration of flavours and aromas in a spirit that appears far older than it is.”
The exterior of every bottle also reflects the fine craft of whisky-making. A slick black label displays an etch-style sketch of a distillery scene – Daniel filling barrels with his loyal Ridgeback, called Whisky, beside him. “He’s my right hand in the distillery,” Daniel declares. Boplaas Single Malt is exclusively available from the Boplaas online shop at www.boplaas.co.za and the farm’s various tasting outlets.