IWSC Spirits Judging in South Africa: medal results revealed

Spirit news

Mon 1 Jul 2024

By Mila Gorchakova

Last week our team of international judges gathered in Stellenbosch to taste and assess over 80 South African spirits at our first South African Spirits Judging. The tasting was overseen by the IWSC Spirits Judge Ivan Dixon, who was joined by our Spirits Ambassador in South Africa, Leah van Deventer and a team of local experts.

The judges were impressed with the overall quality of South African spirits, awarding a total of 70 medals, including 14 gold and 4 gold outstanding. “We saw an amazing diversity within categories with plenty of highlights and moments of excitement,” shared the judges.

The standout category was brandy, scooping as many as 21 medals including 5 gold and 3 gold outstanding. The judges noted that “South African brandy has a point of difference and world-class excellence. The overall quality was far above average, with the aromatic style and fruity yet complex nature of these spirits deemed to be a standout.”  

One of the gold outstanding winners, KWV 15 Potstill Brandy by Warshay Investment (Pty) Ltd ta KWV impressed our judges with "an intense and deep aroma" revealing "layers of round dried fruit and hints of fruitcake. On the palate, a soft sweetness emerges, perfectly balanced with mouth-warming complexity."

Another gold outstanding medal went to Van Ryn's Single Potstill Brandy Aged 12 Years. The spirit revealed a “enticing aromas of ripe fruit" with "refined complexity and intensity. The palate reveals a luscious medley of sweet, rich fruit".

Van Ryn's Single Potstill Brandy Aged 15 Years also won a gold outstanding medal, the judges admiring its "delightfully complex" nose with "moreish aromas of fruit, biscuits and nuts".

South African gins also performed well, with the judges awarding this category over 20 medals, including 3 golds. Our experts noted the high quality of classic/traditional gins, while also admiring the “unique and different gins focused on indigenous botanicals which shone”.

One of the gold medal-winning gins, Shagalabagala by Cape Craft Lab (Pty) Ltd, impressed our judges with its “bright and intense nose of citrus and juniper with spicy top notes and a lively and zippy palate with attractive complexity.”

Another highlight of the judging were South African whiskies, which, according to our experts “delivered fabulous quality”. Three gold medals and one gold outstanding were awarded to whiskies, the standout one being Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky Single Grain. It revealed an “alluring nose with some savoury notes blended with fruity aspects. The palate boasts layers of dried fruit and cereal, complimented by hints of vanilla, toffee and tropical fruit”.

Congratulations to all the winners! Full medal results of the IWSC 2024 Spirits Judging in South Africa can be viewed here.

Gold Outstanding and Gold medal winning spirits from South Africa