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The Cutting – A Brand New 5-Year Old Potstilled Brandy from the Hex River Valley

The Cutting – A Brand New 5-Year Old Potstilled Brandy from the Hex River Valley

The Cutting — A brand-new Copper Potstilled Brandy just recently unveiled by De Doorns Cellar. This has been a 5-year project along with KWV assisting De Doorns Cellar in creating a Potstilled Brandy that perfectly showcases the stunning Hex River Valley. I felt completely honoured to have been part of this launch!

De Doorns Chairman Luan Jordaan says: “It is our goal to create something that truly showcases the true character of the Hex River Valley. A drink that the locals from De Doorns will want to enjoy on its own or with their favourite mixer.”

But before I delve into detail about this brandy, let’s explore a little more about the South African brandy.

The Short and Sweet History of Brandy in South Africa

Brandy has been part of South African history since the late 17th century. It dates far back to when the Cape of Good Hope was still a refreshment station for traders traveling from Europe to the East.

Old map of the cape of good hope
Old Map of the Cape of Storms -Weirdly looks nothing like the Cape! Wonder if they had a mega pint or two while drawing this up!!

Preserving foods was key to surviving months at sea. This also includes wine. Just imagine sailing months at high seas heading towards India and passing the tropics, hot and humid weather was the order for months only to discover that your wine has turned to vinegar! The shock and horror! Now you might wonder how on earth does this happen?

Ship at sea fighting a storm. Barrel of brandy drifts away
Traveling the Indian Ocean created the perfect condition for the Acetobacter to transform your wine into acetic acid!

You see my wine darlings, there is a special kind of bacteria called acetobacter. It is found everywhere… in the air and on the grapes that are pressed for wine. Acetobacter just loves hot and humid conditions and thrives in temperatures between 20 to 37C. Before you know your wine has turned into acetic acid or commonly known as vinegar!!

Just imagine how quickly wine will turn into vinegar once headed out towards the tropics, especially if you don’t have the proper cellar conditions? Now how do we stop the wine from turning into rancid vinegar? The Europeans quickly learn Acetobacter cannot survive in wine that had an alcohol percentage of 20% and more, hence the production of fortified wines.

We all know that the very first wine was produced in South Africa in 1659 but did you know that we only started distilling Brandy in 1672? This took place when an assistant-cook aboard a Dutch East India Company ship called the De Pijl was anchored in Table Bay and distilled about a 1,000 liters of local wine producing 126 liters of brandy. This unaged spirit, termed “brandewijn” (burnt wine), sold out quickly to local merchants. Ever since then South Africa has been making some stunning and award-winning brandies.

Brandy in De Doorns

De Doorns where the cutting brandy is made
The Hex River Valley. There are over 200 table grape farmers in this valley! 3 liters of wine makes 1 liter of brandy.

The Hex River Valley is a valley that is made for the artists. It is a Valley of Vineyards and snow-capped Mountains, especially during the Winter months. During Autumn when the different vines give rise to a wonderful display of various colours. It truly is magical! One to experience yourself.

De Doorns is a small town, situated 32 km North-East of Worcester and 40 km South-West of Touwsrivier, is the heart of the Hex River Valley. It is also the Main Route to and from Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth!

In 1875 the Cape Prime Minister, John Molteno, constructed a Railway Station for the expanding Cape Government Railways. The Railway was built through De Doorns, connecting it to Cape Town from the interior of South Africa.

De Doorns means the thorns in Dutch. It refers to the Acacia Karoo thorn trees which originally grew abundantly in the valley. This changed rapidly in the late Victorian era when farmers in the valley started producing brandy. Farmers reduced their produce to the smallest possible bulk, for easier transportation via cart over the mountains to Wellington. Distilling of Brandy back then required large quantities of firewood. Virtually all of the Acacia Karoo trees in the valley were decimated for making brandy.

Brandy production created prosperity in the valley. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a number of “Brandy Palaces” were erected. This prosperous era saw the introduction of homesteads built in the Late Victorian Art Nouveau style. A splendid example of this is Arbeid Adelt Manor, a stunning restored homestead built lavishly in this distinctive style.

After the construction of the first railway system in South Africa, of the late 1800s, De Doorns became a major gateway. This gateway was and still is for transporting goods between the Cape and the interior of South Africa.

Fast forward to todays, De Doorns cellar was established by table grape farmers of the Hex River Valley in 1968. During the table grape harvest, farmers bring their extra table grapes to the cellar for pressing and making spirits. (De Doorns Cellar is the last wine cellar on the N1 Route.)

The Cellar primarily supplies bulk products to well-known wine and spirit companies. The cellar also produces a small percentage of selected bottled wines that are available to the public. De Doorns range consists of dry and semi-sweet wines. They make the tasty Demi-Sec sparkling wine, a dry Cabernet Sauvignon, and an excellent Muscadel. Their brand-new 5 year old brandy called “The Cutting” has now been added to their portfolio.

The Cutting Review

The Cutting is introduced to the market where its story derives from the Hex River Valley. Even the brandy’s name comes from a koppie that was cut between the N1 and De Doorns. It is also known as the Gateway to the Hex Valley.

So as I mentioned earlier The Cutting is a brand-new Copper Potstilled Brandy recently launched by De Doorns Cellar. It has been a 5-year project creating a wonderful partnership between De Doorn Cellar and KWV. This premium brandy absolutely showcases what the Hex Valley has to offer.

In all honestly after an exceptional long””drought” — it is refreshing to see Brandy making its way back in the Hex River Valley!

Role key players of making the cutting
Key Role players of The Cutting Brandy

I know Mr. Jordaan said that The Cutting is to be enjoyed with your favourite mixer. However, no offense intended. A potstilled brandy like this one should be celebrated and enjoyed slowly, sip by sip. It is an absolute sacrilege to mix this elegant brandy with Coke.

If you want to drink a dop, get yourself a Klippies or Olafberg!

This brandy showcases sophistication!

The striking black and gold foil label looks elegant and features the Hex mountain ranges in white. It is simple but eye-catching. The gorgeous caramel coppery colour completely compliments the elegance of the label.

few bottles of the cutting brandy
The Cutting Available at the De Doorns Tasting Centre at the Engen Garage for R240 a bottle!

The Cutting Brandy has a stunning coppery colour just as you would expect to find in the valley during Autumn.

On the nose you detect creme caramel and sweet vanilla. Absolutely delicious.

The mouth feel bursting with sun-dried apricots, hints of vanilla, honey and fresh apples brighten the palate with extra freshness and a touch of baking spice.

The Cutting Brandy is well-balanced, yet rich and long-lasting on the palate. A good amount of high-quality oak is used so as not to overpower, but rather adds a layer of character. It has an elegant mouthfeel.

Sip by sip!

It is super smooth and definitely feel it warming you up from back of throat down to the tummy. Hence the Afrikaans word Brandewyn. Will pair perfectly with a cold winter night!

Limited Stock! Only 900 bottles produced and will cost R240 for a bottle. In my opinion an absolute steal.

You will find it only at the De Doorns tasting room at the Engen Garage just off the N1.

Shipwreck Image: 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay
Old Map: Wiki Commons:

 I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of My Boozy Kitchen, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated / credited, are also my own.

Even though My Boozy Kitchen does more drinking than cooking I do endorse responsible drinking. Don’t drink and drive, rather stay at home and wine it’s cheaper!  Not for persons under 18 or 21 if you live in the United States!

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