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Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky

South Africa via Canada?

0 784

@talexanderReview by @talexander

23rd Mar 2014

0

  • Nose
    20
  • Taste
    21
  • Finish
    21
  • Balance
    22
  • Overall
    84

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

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.

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7 comments

@YakLord
YakLord commented

I tried this at the Kingston Whisky Festival back in February and was really, really impressed. What I find interesting is your statement that it is 100% corn (I've seen it referred to elsewhere as 'maize'), which is corroborated by several other sources, yet the gentleman pouring at the KWF was very insistent that it was 100% rye...a simple error on his part?

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

Yeah, strangely people refer to corn as "maize" when talkin' fancy about grain whisky (or in the context of corn's historical position as the United States' native grain). Strange that the person referred to it as 100% rye! He couldn't have it more wrong - and as you tasted it, you can tell there is no rye in it whatsoever!

5 years ago 0

@YakLord
YakLord commented

It certainly didn't have that sharp rye note. Perhaps the man at the table (Brand Rep?) wasn't entirely sure about the content. Who knows...and perhaps we need to use 'maize' when it is referring to something 'craft' or 'artisan'? Regardless, Bain's Single Grain will be making another appearance at our World / International Whisk(e)y Tasting this Friday.

5 years ago 0

Astroke commented

Read your review and did the side by side with Bains and Century 21 as we speak. On the palate it would appear the C21 will kill the Bains, no, not so fast. Very similar, problem is about half way through I could not tell the difference with the exception that Bains is sweeter than the spicy C21. Interesting that both have the same price point (I picked up the Bains over a year ago discounted for $35 at the time) Your thoughts that they are similar are right on the money.

Conclusion...unless you are bottling the corn at 45% (H90) or more why bother aging it for 21 years?

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Astroke, well that's the question any master blender might ask themselves: at what age is the right time to bottle? Perhaps the Century 21 wasn't ready before 21 years old. Or maybe the age statement helped dictate a certain price point. Whereas, perhaps the South African was ready to blend and bottle at some other indeterminate age? Who can say? The magic of whisky is a conundrum.

3 years ago 0

Astroke commented

@talexander, decided to bring Century 15/25 into the mix, had this bottle open for about a year with just the long neck drained. This one actually killed both the Bains and the Century 21. I think I picked this up for $26. Great little Canadian this one.

3 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Astroke, I haven't had the Century 15/25 is some years but I remember it is pretty great.

3 years ago 0

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