Another Wednesday, another chance to explore the wonderful world of whisky. This week we’re looking at South Africa, specifically the Bain’s Single Grain Cape Mountain Whisky out of The James Sedgewick Distillery. Now James Sedgwick distillery originates back to the late 1800’s, when Captain Sedgwick passed away and his two sons opened a distillery in Wellington. The distillery kept going for years and years, never gaining much recognition outside of South Africa until Andy Watts, formerly of Morrison Bowmore Distillers, took over as Distillery Manager in August of 1991, the same year Somewhiskybloke came into the world. The Bain’s Single Grain, first of its kind in SA, is distilled of 100% South African Yellow Maize, before being matured in first fill ex-bourbon casks for three years, and then being re-racked into different first fill ex-bourbon casks for another two years. As you can expect, this packs the whisky out with flavour, and really makes a difference, but more importantly is the temperature. Wellington is a hot place, the temperatures reaching 40 degrees and above during summer time, giving staggering 5% angels share. All this, and the whisky costs only £30 a bottle. Now let’s get our nose into the glass and see what Bain’s has to offer…
Whoa, now there’s a creamy whisky. Immediately on the nose we notice thick vanilla cream, a good deal of custard and a gingerbread house all stuck together with royal icing. Toffee, fudge and brandy snaps all come together too, with silky caramel dusted with grapefruit rind and desiccated coconut, all next to a thick banana milkshake. Its gets a touch woody and acetonal towards the end, but the whisky stays strong with flavour all the way.
The palate is a desert treat; those sugars come back once again, more dark sugar as opposed to caster or icing, but the main excitement comes from the spice; cinnamon, ginger, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom and liquorice, a full forward hit of spice that dazzles the tongue, though is not over powering, giving time for the vanilla cream, banana and poached pears once again, before a lovingly velvet finish of butter cream, custard, melted fudge and icing sugar, ohh that tastes good.
It’s a damn fine dram, to be sure. As a single grain fan, I’m always interested to try new drops, and the Bain’s does not disappoint. It hasn’t done too poorly with others as well, picking up the World Whisky Award for Best Single Grain in 2018. Following all that, the whisky is great on its own, in a cocktail, hell I’ve even thrown this into a few dishes of main to give an extra special kick of flavour. And I mentioned before, it only costs £30 a bottle. Damn, now that’s something amazing. Grab a bottle of the Bain’s next time you see it, if you’re a grain fan you’ll love it, if you’re a world whisky fan you’ll love it, and if you don’t find it to your liking, throw it my way. I’ll make sure it gets drunk, and enjoyed the entire time.