Bain’s Single Grain Whisky
South African single Grain whisky is once again under the microscope at the ocdwhisky headquarters but this time I am delighted to have the 15 year old version at hand.
This is the new edition recently released into the travel retail market..Initially there was 2000 bottles released around June 2018 for the Mandela Centennary celebrations and the special guests attending the Barack Obama speech and gala dinner.
It has now been launched exclusively into the South African travel retail shops in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban as well as at the distillery for those who do a full tour and tasting.
This 15 year old is the oldest grain whisky to be sold from South Africa and is certainly causing a lot of interest from those that already know just how good the original release of the Bain’s Cape Mountain whisky has been..
Hailing from the James Sedgwick Distillery under the watchful eye of master distiller / master blender and creator of Bain’s whisky Andy Watts, this 15 year old is a continuous result of further maturation from the original single grain release.
This 100% South African yellow corn single grain whisky is initially matured for 3 years in First fill bourbon casks before being re casked for a further 2-3 years in a second set of First fill bourbon casks, this double matured whisky is then given a further 10 years of maturing in both 3rd and 4th Fill Bourbon cask before bottling..
Andy Watts commented “ I re casked the original Bain’s whisky into a third set of American oak casks for further maturation and tasted the whisky regularly in order to check its progress, at 15 years this whisky was at its optimum and so it was bottled.”
”Bain’s was always planned to be a stand alone single grain whisky, produced with South African yellow grain ( maize or sweet corn ) and was never intended to be used as a grain whisky for the use in blended whisky. None of the Bain’s whisky will ever go into blends as it’s not that style of grain whisky.. “
We all know very well that any whisky that is matured in a warmer climate will infact take on so much more of the woods flavours and aromas and could very easily spoil and become very oaky so the concept of that initial double maturation in order to make the whisky very flavoursome before an extended period of maturation in used casks is perfect for the extra length it is matured for without taking the flavours overboard..
This 15 year old concept was born from the original whisky with Andy wondering what would happen with the whisky if further matured.. If we go back to the original spirit being distilled back in 2000 which after an initial 3 years of maturation in the first fill Bourbon Andy thought it still needed more, this is when he decided that he needed a second set of First fill bourbon casks for a second period of maturation, in 2005 – 2006 when the whisky had reached the profiles he was looking for but not actually released onto the market Andy decided to experiment with some of the whisky. Not wanting more sweetness or spice he decided to use 3rd / 4th Fill casks to allow the whisky to progress much more slowly..
Bains 15 year old
Distillery.. James Sedgwick Distillery
Grain.. South African Yellow Corn
Age.. 15 years
Abv.. 52.5% ( Not Cask strength )
Availability.. Travel Retail
Natural colour and NCF..
Nose.. Vanilla leads into banana, pineapple and a little citrus note, soft chocolate aromas blend into subtle spices, honey and toffee notes.
Palate.. The spices are elevated and lead perfectly into the fruitiness.. Ripe banana and pineapple mix so well with vanilla, toffee and a little cinnamon then a softer ginger cake flavour arrives with a little dried fruit towards the end..
Finish.. Lingering spices with a tropical twist..
Thoughts.. I am a big fan of old grains and this 15 year old, albeit not old in terms of years maturing certainly sits within the older grain flavour profile..
The corn gives it that almost bourbon profile while still remaining a whisky, and the 52% alcohol feel is certainly lost when you take a sip..
I can certainly see this grain whisky sitting on my table with friends round, lots of smiles and before long another bottle kill to report..
With thanks to Andy Watts who at the time of writing was in the UK in order to showcase this 15 year old to the travel retail market and for sending me this sample of Bain’s 15 year old single grain whisky..