Mystic Boer brandy started as far back as 2008 when they started to talk about a shared passion for music and high spirits, and talked at length about the establishing a brandy brand that, intrinsically and in its branding would be progressive and forward thinking, and would stand for quality and integrity. There are currently two batches you can get your hands on – The Premium Batch and the 100% Potstill. Here’s a little more information on each of the batches: The Premium Batch: A premium blended brandy with a very interesting history. A lucky find one could say. This batch of 570 cases was “found” not far from where Valiant grew up in the Boland(“Jy eindig waar jy begin het”) It has a potstill content of about 74%, as opposed to most SA blends having a 30% statutory content. The potstill content was first distilled in 2008 and placed in small oak barrels till 2011, when it was blended with standard brandy and the lay in tanks, forgotten, in a way, till 2017. The company that had produced it had decided to get out of the brandy business, so did not take the final step in blending it to 30%. And so they found it, and knew instantaneously that they were dealing with something special. They say that nothing more happens to brandy if stored in steel tanks, and maybe this is so, but they can say with surety that what they found in those tanks is special. 100% Potstill: A combination of 3, 5 and 6 year old potstill brandies. All distilled in Copper potstills and aged in small oak casks. Working with the blender they set about coming up with a brandy slightly sweeter, less wooded than most and finished it off at 38% alc by volume. The Potstill blend was achieved by barrel selection, the aim to achieve the best blend of smoothness, character, and finish. This is what Valiant had to say about his Mystic Boer: How was it tasting the first batch of Mystic Boer Brandy? And who took the first sip? I was playing a gig in Nashville, USA about a year ago when I got the pictures of the first batch being bottled, packaged and shipped in South Africa. I was naturally envious of the ‘First Tasters’ and consoled myself with a variety of Southern bourbons. When I hit these shores again about ten days later, I wasted no time in acquainting myself with Mystic Boer Brandy. ‘Kicks that bourbon’s ass,’ was my first impression. There are quite a few brandy distillers popping up the past few years in South Africa. Do you think there is a Brandy uprising currently in motion in South Africa? The worldwide trend in artisanal liquors, such as craft beer and craft gin, etc etc, has certainly extended into brandy as well – but on a much smaller scale. This is because you cannot make brandy simply by adding a few fruits or berries, or flavourants, to a barrel full of grape spirit and call it gin or vodka, or whatever. Making brandy is an intricate, time-consuming process which requires skill and patience. This is why you will find that most of the small scale, high-end artisanal brandies on offer actually come from existing wine farms, where the distiller would already be a skilled winemaker, with intimate knowledge of what it takes to make a proper brandy. Our Mystic Boer brandies took a lot of effort, over quite a few years, to perfect. Our guiding principle from the beginning was: ‘it’s about what’s inside the bottle’ – a high-quality product for the discerning consumer. How do you reach beyond the standard Brandy drinkers and into the general public to sell Mystic Boer Brandy? It’s not easy to sway consumers’ tastes – especially when it comes to drinking habits, where brand loyalty plays a major role. Our challenge is twofold – to get existing brandy drinkers to try a new brand, and to get non-brandy drinkers to try a product they don’t naturally lean to. So a lot of inventive marketing strategies come into play. But again – the proof is inside the bottle. Once you’ve sampled the Mystic Boer Brandies’ stylish, smooth warmth, and savoured that long, mellow finish, you’ll probably be hooked. For life. The packaging is pretty awesome, too. And the pricing is just right – affordable, but not cheap. A great gift for someone special – or for yourself. What is the ideal setting to enjoy Mystic Boer Brandy? It could be anywhere where you feel free, happy and at home, surrounded by good friends and great music, laughing and telling tall tales, feeling loved. Or you could be by yourself, pensive and content in front of the fireplace, or watching the sunset from your stoep – basically anywhere where you are as happy as the Mystic Boer Brandy in your glass is delicious. Which Mystic Boer Brandy is your absolute favorite? And which one has been the most popular among the brandy lovers? Oh, I love them both equally. It depends on the setting, really – the Premium goes well with your preferred mixer – Coke, water, etc – and is ideal for any occasion, any time of day or night. The slightly more expensive Potstill is delectable over ice (no mixer), or even straight – pretty much like a cognac. A great after dinner drink. The Potstill seems to be quite popular among women, traditionally not big brandy drinkers, presumably because of its silky smoothness. Once again, there are no real rules – merely guidelines. You can drink your brandy with whatever, whenever and wherever – as long as it’s in good company. And as long as it’s Mystic Boer. Well, you probably would love to know our thoughts on the Potstill and Premium Batch Brandy? Poena (Why Ed contributor) and I had a few of each, in different settings to see how it tasted and what we thought of each: Early Saturday afternoon with Valiant’s music in the background. First, the Premium Batch mixed with Coke and ice. Poena: “Dis actually lekker. Soet op die tong. Fokkit, smooooffffff by die keel af. Dis nogal ‘n uniek smaak. Not bad at all. Is daar nog ‘n vol bottel oor? Hierdie gaan moer lekker wees voor en tydens ‘n rugby game. Shit, selfs by ‘n jol sal dit great wees.” Ed: “Ja, daar is nog ‘n vol bottel… Ek dig ook die smaak. Ek het ‘n ander taste verwag, om eerlik te wees. Hy is so rustig in die keelgat, voel of ek ‘n Brandewyn drink, maar daar is iets anders, wat ek dig. Dis baie beter as censored” After a few rounds of the Premium batch, we switched over to the Potstill on the rocks: Poena: “Kyk, ek is nie ene vir so Brandewyn drink nie. Dalk is ek nie so sophisticated om dit so te drink nie, maar ja. Dis nie sleg nie. Ek geniet hom nogal, moet net die hele tyd vir myself herinner dat ek dit stadig moet vat. Anders klim ek op ‘n perd met ‘n kitaar vanaand. Ek kan myself sien in ‘n japon in my studeerkamer, en ponder oor die lewe” Ed: “Selfde, bra. Drink ook nie rerig Brandewyn so nie. Maar ek kan dit geniet. Net dit rustig vat, want na daardie eerste paar sips, dan loop hy soos ‘n stoomtrein. Moet ek my pinkie in die lug hou as ek dit drink? Hierdie Potstill in die hand, met die musiek in die agtergrond en die vuur voor ons, is moer lekker. 10/10 vir hierdie bad boy in die setting.” The same night, after we finished almost half of the bottle of the Premium Batch. With only the fire crackling in the background, we had the last of the Premium batch. Poena: “Okay, hierdie het net beter geword met tyd. Ek het nie sooibrand of fokkol nie. Ek dink ek is verlief. Gaan once vir my so bottel koop, tjom. Dit het nogsteeds die lekker smaak gehou deuruit die aand. Ek kan nie genoeg kry nie… maar ongelukkig is dit nou klaar. Is daar nog van die ander oor?” Ed: “Ek geniet hom ook nogsteeds. Dis rerig een vir die boeke. Ja, dis nou klaar. Maar damn, hy was rerig great. Moes rerig nog ‘n bottel aangeskaf het voor ek gekom het. Kan ons maar nou saamstem dat Valiant ‘n wenner van formaat tans het?” Poena: “Fok ja” We finished the Premium batch and switched over to the Potstill, on the rocks. The “last” drinks for the night. Ed: “Kan rerig die aand eindig of selfs begin met so ‘n glas. Kan sekerlik maar nou ook behoorlik Potstill drink op die klippe. Want hierdie het my brein geblaas. Ek het nooit gedink ek sal Brandy on the rocks geniet nie… om heeltemal eerlik te wees. Gedink dis vir mense wat nie van Coke hou nie” Poena: “Same, tjom. Dis ‘n stouter op die tong na ‘n paar in die keelgat af was. Lyk my ek gaan more oggend ‘n bietjie lui wees in die bed as dit so aangaan. Maar dis die moeite werd. Kan ons nou ophou praat van dit en dit net verder enjoy?” Where can you get your hands on Mystic Boer Brandy? Well, listen up. Mystic Boer Premium and Mystic Boer Potstill is available almost everywhere at the moment in South Africa. Your local Spar Tops, Marko or even Pick n Pay. There are loads of others, if you want to find out if your local shop has Mystic Boer, visit their Facebook page. For more Mystic Boer and future developments, be sure to like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. Cheers!