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Distell honours Madiba's legacy with commemorative product

| Wine and liquor

To celebrate the 100-year birthday of one of the world's greatest icons and former South African president, Nelson Mandela, the Distell Group has released a rare piece of South African heritage - a Van Ryn's 27-year-old potstill brandy as well as Bain's 15-year-old single grain whisky - specially aged to symbolise important milestones in the momentous life of Mandela.

Only 2,500 bottles of each of the two products were produced, intended as gifts for 2,000 prominent guests and luminaries who attended a Nelson Mandela Foundation gala dinner which followed the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture. Guests attending the dinner, included former US President Barack Obama, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, former South African Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, and representatives of The Elders – a group of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights who included Mo Ibrahim and former Irish President, Mary Robinson.

The ultra-rare Van Ryn’s brandy, aged for 27 years, symbolises the number of years Mandela spent in prison while the Bain’s Cape Mountain single grain whisky, specially aged 15 years, denotes the 15 years since the launch of the 46664 HIV/Aids awareness and social justice campaign that aims to honour Mandela’s humanitarian values.

Mandela was sent to Robben Island in 1964, and he was the 466th prisoner to arrive that year - hence the prison number 46664.

“It’s an incredible honour for Distell and two of its award-winning brands to be part of this year’s centennial celebrations, paying homage to the memory of Mandela, his legacy, as well as the extraordinary milestones that he achieved during his lifetime. We are humbled and excited to be part of these celebrations and to share these exclusive and iconic beverages with some of those who attended the annual lecture,” says Bridgitte Backman, Distell Director: Corporate & Regulatory Affairs.

“We trust that the deep symbolism of these unique spirits will inspire reverence for the life and values of Nelson Mandela, a man whose years of incarceration only bolstered his commitment to the freedom and well-being of his people.”

Distell honours Madiba's legacy with commemorative product

Brandy distiller, Marlene Bester, of the lauded Van Ryn’s Distillery close to Stellenbosch, describes the 27-year-old 100% potstill brandy as “supremely smooth, rich and luxurious, deep gold in colour, with alluring aromas of dried fruit, raisins and fruitcake, a hint of vanilla, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco and marzipan. The taste is well balanced with hints of oak and lingering flavours of dark chocolate, black currant and dried fruit.” 

“The 15-year-old Bain’s single grain whisky started its life as the internationally awarded Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky and spent an additional 10 years maturing in older American oak to reveal new depths and layers of flavour and smoothness,” says Andy Watts, master distiller at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington where Bain’s is produced. 

“The whisky has a beautiful dark amber, golden orange, honey and treacle colour with soft floral notes, spice, tropical fruits, banana and teak aromas on the nose. The sweet butterscotch, raisins and banana loaf flavours coats the mouth with a complex, smooth and delicately lingering taste,” Watts elaborates. 

The two exclusive Van Ryn’s and Bain’s products will also be offered for tasting at two intimate events for invited guests, to take place in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

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