WORDS: RICHARD HOLMES IMAGES: SUPPLIED & SHUTTERSTOCK
Wena Wendlovu! Bayede! (You are an elephant. Hail the King!) This traditional greeting, reserved for the Zulu king, is the inspiration for a unique new brandy from the Cape winelands.
Distilled in the Oude Molen distillery in the Elgin valley, Bayede! XO Royal Cape Brandy is the first South African brandy to carry a royal warrant, distilled by appointment to King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu.
Bayede! is a certified Cape Brandy, meaning it’s made only from grapes grown in the Western Cape winelands, and is twice distilled in copper pot stills. After distillation a Cape Brandy must be aged in oak casks, smaller than 340 litres, for a minimum of three years.
In the case of Bayede! the brandy was blended from Oude Molen’s brandy store by Kobus Gelderblom, formerly brandy master at KWV for 17 years. For the Bayede! blend Gelderblom selected a mixture of French and American oak casks, all with a minimum age of 10 years, resulting in a brandy redolent with dried fruit, cloves and, unusually fragrant aromas of curry leaf.
“His Majesty selected Oude Molen to distil the first Royal Cape Brandy based on their reputation for outstanding quality and integrity,” says Antoinette Vermooten, Bayede! chief executive officer. “The Bayede! XO Royal Cape Brandy is worthy of the royal warrant and an outstanding showpiece for the brand.”
The neck of each bottle of Bayede! XO Royal Cape Brandy – which retail for R2,000 a pop – is topped with 10 decorative strings of traditional Zulu beads. Each handcrafted, the strings are intended to assist in small-scale job creation. Brandy also isn’t the only string to the Bayede! bow. Much like England’s Prince Charles has his Duchy Originals range of foods, Bayede! extends to wine, rooibos tea, pottery and beadwork, creating employment opportunities in rural communities.
“The addition of Bayede! XO Royal Cape Brandy to the top end of the brandy category is tremendously exciting,” says SA Brandy Foundation director Christelle Reade-Jahn. “The quality of packaging recognises the importance of aesthetics and underscores the quality offering.”
As Cape brandies look to expand their reach overseas, and into the premium market at home, the addition of a new brand with royal cachet can only help to raise the profile of South Africa’s award-winning burnt wine.