Brandy and Chocolate: Blind Tasting SA’s Oldest

Having recently got hold of some of the finer brandies in our South African stable, I decided to have a blind tasting with some friends (and of course a brandy and chocolate pairing.) KWV 15 year old brandy, KWV 20 year old brandy , Van Ryn’s Fine Cask Reserve 15 year old brandy and Oude Meester Sovereign 18 year old brandy squared off against each other…

Blind Tasting the oldest South African Brandy

Lining up the old brandies

The great thing about blind tastings is that it completely eliminates the very real problem of human bias. No matter how objective we think we are, we are all influenced by branding and our perceptions of various brands.

I personally was very interested to see how this blind tasting would go, as I have already scored a number for these brandies for the tasting room, and wondered how I would fair blind.

It certainly wasn’t easy. The thing is with brandies all so close together in age like this, is that so many similarities come through. While it is still possible to discern individual characteristics in them, they are all exceptionally smooth and soft on the palate, and all super easy drinking neat in a snifter.

Brandy and chocolate: A match made in heaven

We all love chocolate. Well, most people do anyway. But add another dimension to chocolate and pair it with a premium South African potstill brandy. You wont be disappointed. We paired up the brandies with some Lindt 70% dark, Lindt Intense orange, also dark, and slipped in a Lindt Creations Tiramisu as well.

Pairing brandy with Lindt chocolate

Normally I wouldn’t pair milk chocolate with such old brandies, but the main driver here was to compliment the coffee undertones in the Oude Meester Sovereign. And it worked a treat. Other winning pairings were Van Ryns Fine Cask Reserve 15 year old brandy with the Lindt Intense Orange, the orange and almond really concentrating the citrus in the brandy.

KWV 15 year old brandy paired really well with the Lindt 70% dark, and the KWV 20 year old brandy matched excellently with both the Lindt Intense Orange and 70% dark chocolate.

Blind Tasting the Oldies: What came out tops

Another great testament to the individual nature of the human palate was the wide range of results when we all scored the brandies and revealed the names of what we had been drinking.

Stace and Elize enjoying the brandies

Rating each brandy in order from 1-4, Van Ryns 15 got the most popular overall vote, followed within two positions by KWV 20.

One point behind was his younger sibling, the KWV 15 year old, followed by the Oude Meester Sovereign. That’s not so say any of these were bad brandies of course, all of them were very highly rated by everyone involved, and the passion and care in their craft comes through clearly in the snifter for all of them.



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