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Now, this is something I never thought I'd find at the LCBO - a single grain whisky from South Africa! Then again, since they brought in the Three Ships 5 Year Old, I should have expected this one as well (though strange that they haven't brought in any Three Ships single malts?)
Both Three Ships and Bain's come from the James Sedgwick distillery in Wellington. It is named after Scottish-born Andrew Geddes Bain, who constructed the Bain's Kloof Pass, which the distillery is located near to. The water used at James Sedgwick flows through Cape Mountain.
This was launched in 2009, marketed to appeal to women, who were a growing consumer demographic in South Africa. The whisky is 100% corn (locally grown), matured for three years in first-fill bourbon barrels, then transferred to a second set of first-fill bourbon barrels for another two years.
The colour is a deep gold. On the nose, vanilla icing on a chocolate cake, with Mackintosh toffee, vanilla extract and buttered popcorn. Reminiscent of a Canadian whisky. Quite gentle, but a little one note - though water brings out more floral and herbal qualities.
On the palate, some mocha, more toffee and lots of honey. A wee bit of orange in there. Some spices, but again, they are gentle. Sweet - but not too sweet, it has some bite to it - and easy to drink. Water smooths things out even more.
The finish is smooth and chocolatey, with some mint and leather notes. I would love to try this side-by-side with the Century Reserve 21 Year Old, a Canadian 100% corn whisky, which this reminds me a lot of. I'm not a huge grain whisky fan (I generally find them rather sweet, unless they are very, very old) but this young five-year-old is quite nice. Winner of the World's Best Grain Whisky Award at the 2013 World Whiskies Awards.