South Africa

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky (43%, OB, 2020)

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky

Whisky Review

  • ABV: 43%
  • Age: NAS
  • Bottling: OB
  • Category: South African single grain whisky
  • Cost: £24.45 available at The Whisky Exchange
  • Origin: The James Sedgwick distillery
  • Vintage: Undeclared
bains-cape-mountain-whisky

What they say

Bain’s owes its distinctive aromas and delicate smooth flavour to its unique warm South African climate that accelerates maturation and helps deliver an exceptionally smooth finish for a whisky of its age.

South Africa’s sun-kissed grain is world-renowned in the distilling industry for its superior quality. It makes sense then that Bain’s is so flavourful, even though its only ingredients are water, yeast and grain.

The warm South African climate also accelerates maturation and the rate of flavour extraction from the oak, resulting in a smoothness normally only associated with much older whiskies.

Adding to the exceptional flavour profile and leading the innovation of whisky-making around the globe, Bain’s is distilled in column stills and uniquely double matured. The whisky is matured in first-fill American Oak casks previously used for the maturation of bourbon, first for three years before being revatted into a fresh set of casks for a further 18 to 30 months.

Official tasting notes:

Bain’s innovative double maturation ensures maximum extraction of flavours from the oak cask. The result is an exceptionally smooth whisky with a rich, warm amber colour, a combination of toffee, floral notes and vanilla aromas and a hint of spice and oaky undertones that deliver an extended mouthfeel.

What I say

Dram #1 from WOLS 2020 T7 International tasting. The main game here was guessing the country of origin. There was a distinct ‘grain’ element to this whisky and a touch of spice. South Africa and Bain’s was mentioned by some tasters, I convinced myself this could have been Irish – the joys of blind tasting. This is a revisit as the last time I reviewed Bain’s was back in 2014, before I sat down to dinner with Master Distiller Andy Watts and went through the various components that make up this expression.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Dark gold (11/20), medium tears and fine legs.
  • Nose: Sweet and a little bourbon-y, plenty of vanilla, sweet golden syrup or honey, banana, apple, most likely plenty of maize/corn in the cereal make-up of this expression.
  • Taste: Light-medium bodied, smooth and banana-led, some fried/frittered banana, cornbread, buttery and oily, orange oil, yellow grapefruit with honey, oak wood, vanilla and a touch spiced.
  • Finish: Short, fruity and sweet then zesty and drying.

Overall

Reasonably simple definite corn-led grain whisky with bourbon-oak maturation, possibly from somewhere with a slightly warmer climate, I guessed a grain or pot-still Irish whiskey due to the sweet and spiced nature.

Score 83/100

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