South Africa is standing tall mid-way in the 2018 Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky awards held in London, with Distell being named Rest of the World Distiller of the Year and Andy Watts as the Rest of the World Master Distiller/Master Blender of the Year.
Words by Greg Landman
With strong competition from the innovative whisky countries favoured amongst whisky connoisseurs, South Africa beat contenders from Taiwan, Japan and Europe to go into the final stage to compete against the country winners of Scotland, America, Ireland, India and Australia for the World Icon titles. South Africa leads the rest of the world. The winners of each then compete for the Best in the World title which will take place at the prestigious World Whisky Awards Dinner to be held at the Waldorf Hotel in London on 22 March 2018.
South Africa is no stranger at receiving awards. The Three Ships 5 Year Old Premium Select was awarded as the World’s Best Blended Whisky in 2012 and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky created a few tidal waves when in 2013 it was named as the World’s Best Grain Whisky, making the world take notice of South African produced whiskies. Since then both brands have enjoyed phenomenal successes at all the major international whisky competitions taking coveted double gold and gold awards from more well-known, established international brands.
With the higher temperature enjoyed with the warm South African climate, the whiskies produced at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington about an hour from Cape Town, have a distinctive advantage above those produced in the colder Northern Hemisphere countries. The warmer climate accelerates the interaction between the spirit and wood, resulting in a higher loss in volume (Angel’s Share) but the benefit is a whisky that is incredibly smooth at a far younger age.