Brandy is one of South Africa’s great spirits. It has been intimately intertwined with the country’s history and there is no denying that the nation has made brandy its own.
Brandy and coke is pretty much the national drink and for the purist, it’s probably sacrilege but to the average South African it’s been likened to mothers milk.
Whether or not you prefer it neat or mixed, there are plenty of fine brandy options on the market. With big brands like Distell and KWV occupying most of the shelves space in stores, I decided to dig a little deeper and look for a craft brandy that’s relatively unknown.
Packaged in a strikingly beautiful slide open gift box, the Karo Cape XO comes with a story…
It begins on Karoolkie, a small 6-hectare farm in the center of Barrydale. Here, a block of Colombar grapes grows under the Karoo sun.
For Gerald Phillips and his wife Carol, the journey from owning
a block of single-origin grapes to holding the first bottle of Karo
Cape Brandy was written in the stars. During a Tarot card reading with famed astrologer Rod Suskin, Gerald was told two things: that he would peak at the age of 78; and that something special was going to happen involving ‘wine’.
Little did Gerald know that this prophecy would ring true 15 years
later and culminate in the creation of a very special brandy. On the
day of his 77th birthday, Gerald Phillips proudly raised a glass from
the very first bottle of 3-year-old premium Karo Cape Brandy XO.
This unique hallowed spirit is double distilled in copper pot stills
and matured in French oak barrels for 13 years. Blended under
the watchful eye of renowned Master Distiller Kobus Gelderblom
the final result is smooth and lingering with a pleasing aftertaste
of vanilla and apricot, the final blend results in a unique flavour
combination of delicate dried peaches and litchi with a hint of
delicate herbs from the Karoo bush.
Just as foretold all those years ago, the result is nothing short of
Be sure to grab a bottle if you are lucky enough to find one at any bespoke liquor outlet.