As a wine lover myself, the next best thing to a nightcap (especially in winter) is a lovely glass of brandy. Served neat in a big glass next to the fireplace is where I am happiest, throw in some chocolates or a cigar and you have a winner! Brandy is of course a spirit made from grapes such as Chenin Blanc and Colombard. I was of course excited to taste the new Sugarbird XO Brandy as it has not only been aged for 14 years in french oak barrels but has also been “trickled” through some fynbos!
“South African brandy is the unsung hero of the spirit world,” according to Cape Wine Master, Winnie Bowman. But now – there is Sugarbird XO 14-Year-Old Potstill – presented in a quality heavy glass bottle, strikingly labelled, with understated elegance.
The Sugarbird brand is best known for its quality fynbos gin, and has now negotiated access to aged barrels of potstill brandy from one of the world’s finest, award-winning distilleries – right here in South Africa.
How Sugarbird XO Brandy is made:
Chenin Blanc and Colombard grapes, grown in the Breedekloof region, provide the distillate that is carefully aged in small French Oak barrels, for 14 years. Ultimately, once the ageing process has completed, this delicate liquid is trickle-filtered through honeybush and other fynbos botanicals by Sugarbird’s Artisan Blender, Edmund Paulsen, who says; “this adds a very subtle character to one of the finest ‘Cognacs’ around.” Finally, a little squeeze of fynbos honey gives it a natural smooth nuttiness.
Sugarbird’s MD, Matt Bresler, says: “Our initial focus was on creating a gin, differentiated by its locally-sourced ingredients. We feel we have done this to popular acclaim – recently winning Best South African gin in the 2021 Luxury Lifestyle Awards. As a result, we decided to try our hand at brandy: a product with a rich South African heritage. The Cape Floral Kingdom is on our doorstep – it is by far the smallest, but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, in terms of plant and flower diversity. It has given us a wealth of flavour profiles, first used in our gin, where it found harmony between floral and citrus notes, and now, in our potstill brandy.”
With a nose of sweet prune, dark chocolate and vanilla that follows through on the palate, the Sugarbird XO 14 Year Old is a great choice for sipping around the fire, either neat, or with a block of ice.
Where to buy Sugarbird XO Brandy:
Sugarbird XO Brandy is available at a RRP of R449.95 from Takealot, SmousOnline, and selected retailers.
With this XO Brandy, Sugarbird hopes to pay tribute to our unique South African distilling traditions, whilst proudly celebrating our vibrant and diverse country.
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