South Africa’s first whisky produced from a single grain has become one of the world’s best grain whiskies and is crafted in the picturesque Bainskloof Mountains.
The success of Bain’s comes down to one innovative man and his passion, Master Distiller Andy Watts.
In 1991, Andy became the sixth manager of The James Sedgwick Distillery. In the quarter-century since he has become a world-renowned Whisky Master by winning countless awards and accolades.
Launched in 2009, Bain’s Single Grain Whisky is a double matured whisky produced from 100% South African yellow maize and is South Africa’s first and only 100% single grain whisky. It is first matured in specially selected first-fill bourbon casks for a period of three years, then transferred to a second set of first-fill bourbon casks for a further 18 to 30 months to extract a full rich flavour like no other.
“The colour is a warm, golden amber and the nose is a combination of toffee, floral and vanilla aromas. On the palate it gives a hint of spice, softened by the sweet undertones of oak. The finish is warm with an extended mouth-feel and exceptionally smooth,” says Andy Watts.
Inspired by the Cape Mountains and its natural beauty, Bain’s Single Grain Whisky is the first of its kind in South Africa.
It pays tribute to Andrew Geddes Bain who, in 1853, built the Bainskloof Pass that connects the town of Wellington, where the distillery is located, to the interior of the country.
In 1850 James Sedgwick, captain of the clipper “Undine” and the pioneer after whom the whisky distillery is named, sailed into Table Bay and almost immediately decided to make the area his home. Nine years after settling at the Cape, he established “J. Sedgwick & Co, purveyor of quality liquor, tobacco and cigars” and in 1886 the company purchased a distillery in the picturesque town of Wellington.
Over the years, the humble distillery, which lies on the banks of the Berg River, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art operation that manages the entire whisky-making process.
From massive milling and mashing facilities to the huge blending tanks and maturation cellars, this distillery is nothing short of breathtaking.
A walk around the facilities juxtaposes modern technology with the romance of whisky-making traditions as much of the old apparatus sit alongside their slick counterparts.
In 2014 Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky won the top prize for the Best Grain Whisky in the World at the prestigious World Whiskies Awards. (WWA) It also won the award in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
These are the global awards selecting the very best in all internationally recognised styles, and promote the winners to consumers and trade across the globe.
The International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) recognises the world’s best wines, spirits and liqueurs and since its launch in 1969, has been regarded as the premier competition of its kind.
When it comes to whiskies, experts from across the globe judge contenders based on blind taste tests followed by technical and chemical analysis. Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky won gold and was named best in its class in 2010, a gold medal at the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 IWSC competitions and a double silver award at the 2016 competition.
Andy Watts advises candidates to take every opportunity to taste as many different styles of whisky to educate your palate. Hear more here…
The accolades and awards continue to mount up with Andy Watts announced as Global Icon: Master Distiller/Master Blender 2018 and Global Icon: Brand Ambassador of the Year 2020 (Icons of Whisky).
The James Sedgwick Distillery was awarded Best International Whisky Distillery of the Year 2015 (New York International Spirits Competition) and 2020 Global Icon: Sustainable Distillery of the Year (Icons of Whisky).
Follow Andy Watts on Twitter: @TheWhiskyMaker https://www.instagram.com/bainswhisky/
Don’t miss Sandy Harper’s superb in-depth chat on Whisky here…