"They managed to make this into a friendly sipper that is perfect for uncomplicated times"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
Named after Andrew Geddes Bain, the man who built the pass connecting the town of Wellington to the backlands, this is the first (and probably only) single grain whisky from South Africa. Together with Three Ships single malt, it forms the cornerstone of the South-African whisky scene, a successful that can largely be contributed to Master Distiller Andy Watts, who is managing things at James Sedgwick Distillery since 1991. This single grain is double matured, meaning that after a first three years in first-fill bourbon casks, the spirit was subjected to a second round of fresh bourbon cask-maturation. We can expect a lot of bourbon cask flavours here. Let the vanilla’s and oranges out!
The nose of this single grain is a big vanilla party, but with a decisive kick. A mix of toffee, banana chips, and Japanese soya sauce, which bring some umami notes. Add to that those peculiar Japanese sweet and spicy crisps, and peanut butter. You can tell it is young, for sure, but they have succeeded in finding a rather satisfying balance. More peanut butter, sugared almonds, honey glazed nuts, and hint of tanned pineapples. This seems to be perfect for an early evening with some nutty refreshments, and I must say that I quite like it so far.
On the palate at first there are banana candies and honey glazed almonds, simply sweet but very effective. Then popcorn, butter, cream soda, and some vegetal notes in the development. Lots of vanilla in the aftertaste, along with some dried grass. The development is quite short, but everything stays very friendly.
Being my first single grain whisky, for which I did not expect too much based on the things I read about them, this was certainly not a disappointment. I agree that there is sense of a distinctive wood influence to attain a sense of flavour, however, they managed to make this into a friendly sipper when you are not in the mood for something complicated. Just add some ice, a bag of fresh nuts, and go with it.
Many thanks to the for the sample (part of the Drinks By The Dram Whisky Advent Calendar Tweet Tasting)!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •