The Africa leg of the Intercontinental Spirits Challenge in Stellenbosch showcased exceptional Cape Brandy, impressive rums, and diverse gins.
Stellenbosch, Western Cape, May 30th - The Africa leg of the global Intercontinental Spirits Challenge was held in Stellenbosch on the 24th and 25th of May 2023. The 24th was a screening tasting for the most prominent category: Gin, followed by a tasting of all the products on the 25th. With a focus on evaluating and celebrating outstanding beverages, the panellists had to assess entries from six countries, showcasing exceptional quality.
The jury consisted of Fiona McDonald, Leah van Deventer, Johan Venter, Dr. Caroline Snyman CWM, and Dr. Mare-Lou Prinsloo.
Of all the entries evaluated, 52% received well-deserved recognition, with no less than 19% receiving the prestigious Double Gold Award. The high percentage of Double Gold Awards demonstrates the calibre and craftsmanship exhibited by the participants.
Cape Brandy, a distinct category, showcased South African spirits' exceptional craftsmanship and rich heritage. The judges were captivated by the depth of flavour, complexity, and unparalleled quality of Cape Brandies. Notably, Sydney Back Potstill Brandy 15 Years and Oude Molen XO shone brightly, earning Trophy Awards for their outstanding character and finesse. Johan highlighted the Oude Molen XO for the intense fruit on the nose, excellent balance, and long soft satin finish. Other noteworthy Cape Brandies, such as Tokara XO Potstill, Bayede! XO, Mimosa's Alambic Potstill XO, Boschendal Potstill 10 Year Brandy, and Durbanville Hills 10-Year-Old Merlot Potstill Brandy, made a lasting impression, further establishing Cape Brandy as a category of remarkable distinction.
"The rums varied in style and approach," -said Caroline. However, the Deep South Amber Rum stood out for her because of the balance, complexity, and smooth lingering finish.
The Gin category were the largest category, reflecting the popularity and diversity of this spirit. Mare-Lou was especially impressed by the London-Dry category. This category's coveted Trophy Winner title went to L-Gin Classic, highlighting its exceptional qualities and craftsmanship.
DGB emerged as the most impressive producer, with an outstanding performance in the competition. Their commitment to excellence was showcased through one trophy-winning entry, three Double Gold Awards, and one Gold Award.
The Intercontinental Spirits Challenge serves as a platform to honour and recognise the talents of the participating producers, celebrating their remarkable contributions to the world of spirits. In addition, the competition strives to uphold the highest standards of professionalism while fostering a sense of camaraderie among industry peers.
The Intercontinental Spirits Challenge extends its heartfelt congratulations to all participants and award recipients for their exceptional achievements.