South Africa’s oldest brandy sells for R40,000

A one-off release of what is claimed to be South Africa’s oldest brandy, a 42-year-old single cask pot still from Distell’s Van Ryn’s brand, was sold at the recent Nederburg Charity Auction for R40,000 (US$3,000, £2,260, €2,600).

The organisers say it was sold to an international buyer and the money goes to “good causes”. The special edition brandy was created especially to mark 42 years of the Nederburg auction, the showcase for South Africa’s best wines. 

The brandy, which started its journey from the vine in 1974 when it was distilled and placed into a 1,000-litre French oak cask in the of Van Ryn’s maturation cellars. This special cask has been under the custodianship of four master distillers at Van Ryn’s.

“It was a rare privilege to be responsible for the final step in realising this unique brandy’s legacy,” said Van Ryn’s current master distiller, Marlene Bester. “Working with such an exceptional matured brandy might happen only a few times in any distiller’s career.”

Bester said the age of the brandy gave an incomparable smoothness to the mouth feel, while an alluring bouquet of chocolate, hints of coffee and subtle notes of red berries and spice on the nose and palate had developed to perfection over the past 42 years.

In 2014 the Van Ryn’s Charentaise Collection, a 10-year-old potstill brandy was sold at the auction for R25,000. The reserve price for the Van Ryn’s 42-year-old single cask potstill brandy was R30,000 and the winning bidder paid R40,000.

The Van Ryn’s 42-year-old potstill brandy was one of 18 lots sold at the annual auction. Just over half a million rand was raised for two community-based organisations — the Breytenbach Centre in Wellington and the Hope Through Action project in Paarl.