Sunday, April 14, 2019

Bain's Cape Mountain Single Grain Whisky Review


South Africa isn't exactly famous for whisky, despite the fact they've been distilling there for about 125 years. And, regardless of its history, there is currently only one commercial distillery on the entire continent!  That lone distillery is the James Sedgewick Distillery located in Wellington. Their Single Malt brand is Three Ships. But, they also distill a Single Grain whisky called Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky.

Bain's is a non-age statement 100% unmalted corn mash whisky that is first aged in first-fill Bourbon casks for three years, then again for two years in fresh first-fill Bourbon casks. It is bottled at 43% ABV (86°) and retails for $29.99. Bain's is not overly difficult to find, at least not in Wisconsin. 

One of the interesting things about South African whisky is that it ages similarly to Indian whisky. This is due to the very hot temperatures the two climates share. As such, it matures must faster than Scotch, Irish or American counterparts.

For the record, Bain's won Best Single Grain Whisky back in 2018 at the World Whisky Awards. If you're unfamiliar with my opinion of awards, for the most part, I find them to be money-making gimmicks rather than legitimate ratings of excellence. There are some exceptions. And, all awards aside, what matters is how it tastes. Let's #DrinkCurious.

In my Glencairn, Bain's appeared as a deep, rich gold. It left a very thin rim and created fast, thin legs that dropped back into the pool of liquid sunshine.

Aromas of many fruits lingered in the air. I picked up both tropical, such as pineapple and coconut, along with light berries, such as raspberry and blackberry. When I inhaled through my mouth, the tropical and berry gave way to citrus.

The mouthfeel was very light and thin. Up front on the palate was coconut and caramel, which was, to say the least, an interesting combination. As it drifted mid-palate, I picked up brown sugar and creamed corn. Further back was white pepper and oak.

Bain's offered nothing in terms of burn. The finish was very long with waves of pepper, dry oak and corn.

Bottle, Bar or Bust:  The palate combinations may raise an eyebrow and come across to some as gross. But, for some reason, they meshed well and I found Bain's quite enjoyable. It is absolutely interesting and unusual in terms of what a whisky offers, and for $29.99, this is an easy one to want as part of my library. As such, it earns the Bottle rating. Cheers!

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