Getting to know Joseph Barry Brandy

Tasting the Joseph Barry Brandy Range.

What a great pleasure to be in possession of not only the Joseph Barry 3 year old and 5 year old brandies, but also the ever elusive and much revered 10 year old international award winner. I took these 3 fine potstills around to my folks place and had a post Braai Sunday Evening tasting…

Joseph Barry Brandy: What’s it all about?

Joseph Barry Cape Potstill brandy comes from Barrydale on the stunning route 62 brandy route, and unsurprisingly, the Barrydale Cellars winery. They produce a 3 year old brandy, Joseph Barry and Nephews Cape Potstill Brandy, a five year old, Joseph Barry Traditional Cape Potstill Brandy and the much revered Joseph Barry 1o year old potstill brandy.

Joseph Barry Brandy: What’s the line up?

The Classy Jospeh Barry Brandy range

All are super products, but perhaps most interestingly is the 3 year old brandy made with Muscat de alexandrie grapes, more commonly known as Hanepoot. Straight away strong aromas of raisin greet the nose, and unlike the normal dried fruit, peach and apricot nose, this brandy offers something very different on the nose. Its minimum aging term, coupled with the extra bottling strength of 40% do make it a little sharper on the back of the throat, but still for a 3 year old potstill it is a great product.

The Joseph Barry Traditional Cape Pot Still Brandy and sons, is however a more rounded product, and has clearly benefited from the extra aging. With a 50/50 split between Colombar and St Emilion grapes, the nose profile is much more traditional of Cape pot still brandy, with the classic dried fruit and peaches coming through. Still bottled at 40% abv it is rounder and smoother than the 3 year old, but still a bit sharp on the swallow, perhaps from the higher alcohol percentage.

The pinnacle of the range though, and recently benefiting from a stunning packaging overhaul is the Joseph Barry 10 year old cape potstill brandy. Made with the same grape combination as the 5 year old, the extra long aging and more traditional potstill bottling strength of 38% make this a simply superb product. Lots of fruit, and vanilla, and noticeably different to the 5year old, made with exactly the same grapes.

The great thing about brandy tasting…

Geoff gives Joseph Barry his seal of approval!

No matter what you taste, where you taste, or who you taste with, the great thing about the human palate is that everyone has a slightly different take on things. While it is evident of the progression from the 3 to the 5 being a marked improvement (as would be expected), my father suggested throwing in a Van Ryn’s 10 year old brandy for a quick comparison to the Joseph Barry 10. The Van Ryn’s being a Vintage and the JB being 100% potstill.

Interesting results on this one, the split was 2/2 in terms of who preferred which more. and it wasn’t even a male /female thing. My mother and I both felt the Joseph Barry pipped the Van Ryn’s, while My father and my wife Nadia, rated the Van Ryn’s as top.

So let that be a lesson. Different strokes for different folks. It did give me an idea though, for a blind battle of some10 year olds. KWV, Uitkyk, Van Ryn’s and Barrydale. I wonder what sort of results that would bring!

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