When we think about South African drinks, what comes to mind? We agree that the region has fantastic wines and beers, but they do specialize in whiskey as well. In fact, there is a large variety of South African whiskeys.
South Africa has their own whiskey makers that include Bain’s, the first South African whiskey, also known as the best grain whiskey in the world. There is a thriving spirits variety in South Africa. Along with Bain’s Captain, there are many other whiskey producers like Three Ships and Knights.
Bain’s Captain Mountain whiskey is the only commercial distillery in South Africa. It is the only distillery that makes whiskey with 100% South African grown corn. Let us take a look at the best whiskeys South Africa has to offer.
South African Whiskey Review
Here we list a few of the well-known and popular South African whiskeys readily available in the market.
#1. Bain’s Cape Mountain Whiskey
The most famous South African whiskey is Bain’s Cape Mountain whiskey, which is manufactured in James Sedgwick Distillery of Wellington, Western Cape. Bain’s South African whiskey is an award-winning and delicious whiskey that is also good value for money.
The whiskey got an award as best single grain whiskey. When we talk about its maturation, the whiskey is matured in ex-bourbon casks firstly for three years, then it is filled into ex-bourbon casks for more years for an extra dose of flavor. It is bottled at 43% ABV.
The Bain’s South African whiskey offers a unique floral and toffee aroma with vanilla hints.
The whiskey has cardamom notes with notes of oak sweetness on the palate. There are also hints of soft and balanced pear and apple.
There is a balanced finish with warm and sweet citrus zests.
#2. Three Ships 10 Years Old
The three ships ten years old is a single malt. This ten years vintage whiskey was filled in casks in 2007. It is a naturally colored and bottled whiskey with 46.3% ABV.
As the whiskey opens up with medium to light peat, it offers the aroma of pineapple and notes of banana.
The ten-year Vintage three-ship has much more to offer on the palate, and it comes with notes of vanilla, fruit cake, and custard powder. Also, you will find hints of shortbread.
It offers subtle and long notes of fruit and smoke.
#3. Drayman’s French Oak Reserve
The Drayman’s french oak reserve is one of the famous South African whiskeys, a single malt whiskey made by South African producer and distiller, Drayman. The whiskey is matured in special ex-french oak barrels. The bottle has 43% ABV.
The fantastic aroma of Drayman’s french oak reserve attracts many whiskey geeks. It has raisins on hot cross buns, with hints of dessert wine and spice to offer on the nose. The elegant oak’s aroma comes with poached peaches with vanilla hints.
Initially, you will get a bold, sweet honey taste on the palate, then orange zest and dark chocolate on the palate.
You will get along and lusciously finish at the end with oaked nutmeg and marmalade.
#4. Bolas 8 year Old Muscadel
This is the first release of Bolas distillery, which is a known South African Distillery. It is a single grain whiskey matured in ex-bourbon casks for five years before transferring to muscadel cask for three years.
The producer has only manufactured 120 bottles, which are individually numbered. It is a non-chill filtered and naturally colored whiskey that has 56.4% cask strength.
When we talk about Boplas 8-year-old Muscadle’s nose, the first thing you would smell is red apples, along with notes of berries and molasses.
The palate has more red berries, with cinnamon notes and oakiness of wood spice. The sweeter and spicy taste gives a delicious palate. The red apple notes also come a bit on the palate.
It is a value for money South African whiskey with notes of red apples, sweet berries, and cinnamon. Best taken as on the rocks.
#5. Three Ships 11 Year Old Shiraz Finish
The Three Ships 11-year-old Shiraz Finish is the fifth release of Master’s collection of South Africa, and it was released in 2020. The whiskey is matured for eight years in American Oak barrels, and then it is finished in Shiraz oak casks. Only 2994 bottles in total were produced. It is a non-chill filtered whiskey that has 51.4% cask strength.
The aroma of cherries and roasted nuts appeals to many whiskey lovers. It also has notes of Christmas fruit cake and smokey oak with hints of subtle orange.
It has a juicy taste with plush red fruit and hints of clove and nutmeg. Also, you will have flavor raisins and warm peat.
The mouthfeel is warm with subtle peat and a smooth finish.
#6. Bolas 8 Year Old Rum Cask
It is the first release of Bolas Distillery, South Africa. It is a single grain whiskey that is initially matured in ex-bourbon casks for a minimum of 5 years, and then moved to a rum cask for three years.
There are only 120 bottles of Boplas 8 years old rum cask manufactured. It is a naturally colored and non-chill filtered bottle with a cask strength of 50.3%.
It comes with the aroma of baked bananas and raisins. You will also get hints of dried fruits and nuttiness. You will also get sweeter notes of vanilla and caramel.
It has citrus notes on the palate with dry nut hints that offer nuttiness and sweetness.
There is a subtle and sweet finish to the Boplas 8-year-Old Rum cask.
Today we have listed some of the most popular South African whiskeys, all with their own incredible palates and aromas. English and American whiskeys get a lot of headlines, but South African whiskey is no doubt among the best in the category of single grain whiskey.