Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky has been awarded the title of World's Best Grain Whisky. Founder and distiller Andy Watts was also awarded the title of global Icon of Whisky Master Distiller/Master Blender for 2018.
The awards, held annually by the U.K.'s Whisky Magazine, attract fierce competition from well-known Scottish, Irish, U.S., Japanese and Taiwanese whisky brands, who were all in the running for the top award.
Congratulations @BainsWhisky on being awarded the #World'sBestGrainWhisky at the @WWA2018 awards. Andy Watts @TheWhiskyMaker, founder distiller of this proudly South African Whisky, was awarded the 2018 Global Icons of Whisky Master Distiller/Master Blender. pic.twitter.com/kf40e7XhFf— @DistellGroup (@distellgroup) March 23, 2018
The results were announced at a gala dinner in London on Thursday. Watts, who was there to receive the awards, said the win was overwhelming news for the brand and for South Africa. "By receiving these two world titles in one night, it is the most humbling experience of my 34-year career in the whisky industry."
"We have overcome the odds against the perceived perception that only traditional whisky-producing countries can be taken seriously. Our industry in SA is only 40 years old, and although we've had many hurdles along the way, we have become innovative in our approach to manage our unique warmer climate, found creative ways to use home-grown raw material to our best advantage and constantly strive for crafting exceptional whiskies."
Watts explained that Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky — which is the only whisky in the world to be made from 100 percent South African maize (mielies), is incredibly smooth due to its unique double maturation over a five-year period in casks previously used for bourbon.
The warmer climate is also a contributing factor which accelerates the interaction between wood, spirit and air during maturation, resulting in a much smoother whisky at a younger age – a smoothness usually associated with more mature whiskies.
The whisky was first named World's Best Grain Whisky in 2013 and has received gold and double gold at all the major international whisky competitions.