South African-produced rum is so good that even international brands are playing second fiddle.
This is according to the success of a number of home-grown liquors at the inaugural SA Rum Awards recently.
Beating more than 40 brands, the bragging rights went to De Vry Distillery’s Die Warm Rasta Rum, which won the top award.
The rum, which is produced in the Free State, won best rum and best column and potstill awards, and was named Most Exceptional overall.
Commenting on his win, distiller Pasch du Plooy said, “It’s a surprise and a great privilege to win this award, especially against some of the well-known, high quality international rum brands.”
So what is it that gave them the edge over other rums?
It’s the way they distill their rum and their barrels, Du Plooy reveals.
“Rum is our first passion. The key is ageing. We mature Die Warm Rasta for up to three years in barrels which are a combination of charred oak from American Bourbon barrels and new French Oak. Between this, our climate and our top quality ingredients we are producing a rum that we are very proud of.”
Awards convenor and judge Leah van Deventer said, “We’re delighted with how well the local rums performed in this competition, taking 50% of the gold medals. It speaks to strong levels of emerging innovation and creativity in the independent South African distilling industry. Exciting times lie ahead for rum.”
Other big winners include Bacardi for its Carta Negra which won best column still prize, Cape of Storms Fyn Botanical which was awarded best flavoured/spiced and Mhoba Bushfire which was recognised as best Agricole/Cachaca and best potstill.
Of the 44 entries, 20 rums were recognised with gold medals. It was an even split between local and international brands.
The judging panel was comprised of spirits-industry experts Van Deventer, Kurt Schlechter, Chantelle Horn and Coco Reinharz.
Here are the gold medal winners at the awards
Bacardi Anejo Cuatro
Bacardi Carta Negra
Cape of Storms Fyn Botanical
Cape of Storms Oak Infused
De Vry Die Warm Rasta
Defiant Gold Eswatini
Don Papa 10 YO
Don Papa 7 YO
Don Papa Sherry Casks
Havana Club Anejo 7 YO
Innocent Spirits Amber Barrel
Mhoba American Oak Aged
Mhoba Select Release White
Still 33 Captain Stone