In Wellington, over the magnificent Bain’s Kloof Pass, there roams the Cape Mountain Leopard; silently stalking, graciously watching, and living its mysterious life close to the James Sedgwick Distillery. Legend has it that this creature is the inspiration behind the Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, South Africa’s first single grain whisky made from locally grown maize.
Bain’s whisky is so versatile that it can be enjoyed neat or as an ingredient to a cocktail (if you want to insult your whisky-loving friends). So, what’s the story behind Bain’s Whisky and the only commercial whisky distillery on the African continent where it comes from?
Our story begins with James Sedgwick, a former ship’s captain for the British East India Company. He retired in Cape Town in 1850 and opened a bar, although this later served as a luxury goods shop. They sold all the important stuff, like spirits and cigars.
When Captain Sedgwick passed away in 1872, his sons decided to start their own business in their father’s name. They bought a distillery in Wellington that was established in 1886, cut out the middleman and began distilling their own whiskies and brandies. Business was slow in the first century of its operation, unfortunately, since social media and marketing didn’t exist yet.
That all changed in the early 1990s when Andy Watts became the master distiller. He learned to distil whisky from leading craftsmen in Scotland. His skills, vision and perseverance perfected the taste of Bain’s Whisky over ten years until its launch in 2009. Bain’s pays tribute to Andrew Geddes Bain who built the Bainskloof Pass, connecting Wellington to the interior of the country.
Instead of following other distillers’ processes, Andy created something new. He knew that whiskies made in this unique weather would not follow the same rules. What followed was a new style of whisky – the smoothness of Irish and the flavour of American whiskies.
Bain’s Cape Mountain Single Grain Whisky is made entirely from South African maize. It undergoes a unique maturation process where it goes in two sets of barrels: three years in first-fill ex-bourbon casks and then two years in a second first-fill ex-bourbon cask. The hot summer climate accelerates the interaction between the spirit, barrel and air during the ageing process. This is one smooth whisky for its age, and he knows how to play with the mature guys.
Bain’s is the kind of friend who would take you for a hike in the woods while eating a cupcake with vanilla frosting. Bain’s is not complex. He’s a simple oke enjoying the simple things in life, eating bananas and pears. Bain’s is pleasant company and won’t look at you funny when you’re enjoying your mother’s mieliepap or corn fritters. Just because he doesn’t like wearing suits, doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to behave himself amongst other world-class spirits.
There’s a story in each sip of Bain’s smooth, sun-kissed single grain whisky. And he often hangs out in Deeliver’s product list. Give him a call, and we’ll drop him off right at your door for a fun summer day. Shop Bain's here.