Andy Watts – Master Distiller at James Sedgwick distillery – is the Desmond Tutu of South African whisky. Loved by all, smart as a whip and a national treasure. You could also call him a real spiritual leader. Get it? Cough.
We had the honour of welcoming Andy to our monthly whisky tasting at the Cape Whisky Club, as both guest and remarkable fount of knowledge. He joined us in sampling each expression of Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky – a world-first deep dive into his much awarded and much loved single grain.
First up, the dram that started it all – the original Bain’s, lovingly matured in two sets of first-fill ex-American Oak barrels for around 5 years. Andy’s decades long dream brought to life, a real masterpiece of blending, foresight and distillation. And supremely chuggable to boot.
Next up the infamous and much sought-after Bain’s 15-year-old, the first in the Bain’s Founder’s Collection. Initially released in limited quantities to honour the 15th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s 46664 initiative – and bestowed on some extremely lucky foreign dignitaries – it took a while to finally make its way to Travel Retail and into our greedy mitts. Fortunately, it was entirely worth the wait. Bain’s 15 is a high ABV, rich, complex and rewarding grain whisky that gives many cask-strength Scotch malts a serious run for their money.
Lastly, all three of the brand new Bain’s 18-year-old Founder’s Collection expressions. The set is an exploration into the effects of different sherry casks on the already prodigious Bain’s 15, with a further 3 year maturation in either Fino, Pedro Ximenez or Oloroso sherry butts. We decided to try them blind, with favourites predictably split among the three! Bottled at a more-than-respectable 50.5% ABV, these are a real treat for die-hard whisky nerds, a rare opportunity to experience the differences between the three much loved cask types with as few variables as possible.
Thanks to Andy Watts for swinging by to share a dram or five! You can follow Andy on Instagram or Twitter, and don’t forget to snatch up a bottle of Bain’s or his other much loved creation – Three Ships 5 – the next time you’re at your local. Cheers!
Join the Cape Whisky Club!
Every month the Cape Whisky Club hosts whisky lovers from all over the mother city to join in a shared whisky tasting. Anyone is welcome to join! If we like you, we’ll invite you to the private group and start sending you invitations for whisky tastings.