Thanks to /u/Jolarbear for this sample.
South Africa. The name evokes so many ideas that I can’t tell if I’m informed or not. I imagine an amazing part of Africa, that still has it’s own problems, yet is working to become more metropolitan.
Anything else I say will make me feel so much white guilt that I’ll throw out my sheets, cry, and give all my money to Unicef. Suffice to say, I don’t know much of South Africa save for stories from friend’s trips.
I do know that they have a few distilleries. One of which in the Bainskloof Pass, which if I didn’t know better, I’d say I made up as it sounds funny to me. In this pass they make one product (that I can find), the Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, South Africa’s first single grain whisky.
This whisky is made with South African grains. It’s double distilled, then aged for 3 years in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, and then transferred to new first-fill ex-bourbon casks and aged for another 2 years.
And as this is single grain, I’ll screw up somewhere and use the wrong word. Great. Thanks Bain’s.
So, will this break my tongue’s back over it’s knee, or mumble it’s way through my tastebuds? Let’s see.
Region: South Africa
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Lemon, butter, marzipan, oatmeal, stewed pears, nail polish remover
Starts out pretty standard, and then ends up having some unique notes (oatmeal, marzipan).
Also, speaking of marzipan, you can’t make it from duck eggs. Odd eh?
Getting back, there’s this background nail polish scent that needs to go away. Far away. Not helping, and kinda messing with the mojo.
Taste: Lemon candy, brown butter, cashew, vanilla, apple juice, alcohol
Decent amount of flavours, and they pop up well. There’s a burning flavour at the end. Also I hate apple juice.
Never have liked apple juice. Even as a kid. I was that weird, annoying kid. Granted some say it saved me a lot of cavities. My sweet tooth made up for it.
Maybe waking up an hour early and writing reviews makes me sense of attention all wonky.
Finish: Cherry, alcohol, caramels, ginger, wood shavings, zucchini, lemon mousse
Again, some burn that denotes this as not quite ready. Given they have 5 years in the casks, I’m wondering if the temperature warrants going as quickly as they did or not. Granted I’m comparing it to India, and my understanding of meteorology in each area is about the same as my ability to turn my toes inside out.
It’s earthy, and the ex-bourbon casks are noticeable. There’s also the start of some unique notes (lemon mousse).
Conclusion: Good start for a whisky. Honestly, for a young single grain spirit, this isn’t half bad. Compared to other whiskies… I don’t know if I’d buy this. It needs more time in the cask. I’d recommend they start using something else or age it longer or finish it in South African wine casks to really push it forward.
World Whisky review #90, South African review #2, Whisky Network Review #470
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #223