Last weekend Van Ryn’s hosted me and and a group of bloggurls at the renowned brandy distillery in Stellenbosch. The aim of the day was to educate us, the fairer sex, on the brandy making and distillation process. Turns out women have a more nuanced sense of smell, perfect for blending brandy, which we had the privilege of doing under the tutelage of Master Distiller Brink Liebenberg.
The day kicked off with a brandy cocktail and an introduction over oysters. We were then guided through the distillery by Brink as he talked us through the pot-still brandy making process, aging and cooperage. The highlight of my day was learning to blend brandy in the Paradiso Room, which I learned is seldom used and a privilege to be invited into. We worked our way through the flavours and notes of 8 base brandies, and then set out to create our ideal blend. My aim was to achieve my grandmother’s apple pie, think cinnamon and all the good things winter has to offer. I miraculously managed to achieve this and walked away with Best Blend, as voted by Brink himself. We ended the day with a tartare and brandy pairing, courtesy of Bizerca.
Established in 1845, Van Ryn’s is open 7 days a week for tours, tastings, pairings and cooperage demonstrations. Click here for more.