We had the privilege of having Christelle from the the SA Brandy Foundation hosting a workshop at SABA International Butler Academy.
The word brandy (brandywine) is derived from the Dutch word “brandewijn”, meaning burnt or distilled wine. The Dutch used distillation as a method of preserving wine aboard their ships. Indeed, a tot of brandy was offered to the first man on board to sight land, leading to calls of “Land Ahoy” many days before the vessels actually docked.
The first brandy in South Africa was distilled aboard the Dutch ship de Pijl, anchored in Table Bay harbour in 1672. The assistant cook succeeded in transforming two leaguers (1164 litres) of Cape wine into “three ankers” (126 litres) of delicious brandy.
Today, South African brandy is acknowledged to be the world’s finest. Comprehensive legislation and a proud tradition ensure that our brandy is of the highest quality. The title of Worldwide Best Brandy at the International Wine and Spirits competition has been awarded to a South African brandy 15 times in the past 20 years.
- Always taste brandy from a clean brandy snifter or an ISO wine
- It is perfectly acceptable to add a dash of still water when tasting
brandy. Be sure to use pure, unchlorinated water.
- Don’t swirl your glass like you would when tasting wine.
- Don’t warm the brandy – it should be tasted at room
- Start nosing from about 5cm from the top of your glass.
Now move slowly down.
- Take a small sip and swirl around your mouth. The intensity of the
alcohol will diminish after a few seconds and the rich, complex
flavours will come to the fore.
- It’s always fun to have the brandy aroma wheel on hand to help
you identify the flavours you experience.
- Always taste and enjoy responsibly.