Cape Town - South African mealies helped a Cape grain whisky win a top international award, the Sunday Times reported.

“South African maize really makes very good grain whisky,” Jeff Green, the maker of Bain's Cape Mountain Whisky told the newspaper.

The whisky - distilled in Wellington in the Western Cape - was awarded top honours as a grain whisky in London by Whisky Magazine.

Over three hundred varieties of whisky were assessed in the competition.

Green said that using mealies was not unusual as most whiskies were actually grain whiskies made from maize or wheat.

The win was “unexpected”, said Green.

Nevertheless, although the Bain's Cape Mountain was young for the market, “in a very short time it has done exceptionally well”.

The whisky started being distilled in 2009 and was then matured for five years.

Green told the newspaper the South African climate influenced the “flavour profile” of the whisky as more flavour was drawn while the spirit matured in oak casks.

“It's a lot warmer here than in Scotland, obviously and that accelerated the maturation process.” - Sapa