Best in show for Oude Molen at Michelangelo Awards '17

Sunday, 15 October, 2017
Oude Molen Distillery
Praise and medals rained down on Oude Molen Cape Brandy at this year’s Michelangelo International Wine and Sprits Competition, with the Brandy Trophy going to Oude Molen VS, and its premium XO picking up Gold and garnered a Silver for its VSOP brandy.

“For Oude Molen's VS ‘Solera Grand Reserve’ Cape Brandy, receiving the Trophy for the best brandy at the 2017 Michelangelo Awards is an exceptional achievement,” says Oude Molen Distillery CEO Andre Simonis. “It has long been a top seller for the brand at wine and spirits shows, so for this to be recognised by such esteemed judges is the ultimate accolade.”

A Very Special VS

He attributes one of the key reasons for the win to the fact that 50% of the 100% Cape Brandy inside Oude Molen VS has been matured at the distillery in a unique Spanish "Solera" system.

“In this system, Old Spanish Sherry barrels 3 rows high are continually filled each year with new brandy,” he explains. “Brandy from the bottom tier is drawn off for bottling, the bottom tier is then refilled from the middle, the middle refilled from the top, and top being filled up with new, unaged brandy.”

He points out that what this means is that young brandy is in constant mesh with older, more mature brandy as it works its way down the Solera system, dynamically altering it's maturation journey as it ages. “It also stays in this system for longer than its 3-year minimum prescribed age for VS,” he adds.

“All of this combines to give VS a refined maturity beyond its young grading, and this must have been what the judges picked up on too, in awarding it the highest score out of any brandy judged including some 15 and 20-year old entrants.”

Awards for the whole family

It wasn't just VS that impressed the panel, Oude Molen's flagship XO blend was awarded a Gold medal on the night, and VSOP a highly respectable silver. Simonis says that both of these variants are also innovative and break the mould with traditional brandy styles. “American oak usage in XO gives a fresh and unique tropical undertone to the brandy, other Brandy Master secrets give VSOP a rich depth of citrus and caramel on the palate,” he explains.

Simonis continues: "These awards are a great achievement for us as a brand, and prove that the decisions taken to try and make our Oude Molen variants more relevant with modern consumers are clearly paying off."

He adds that brandy has reached an unfortunate point of stagnation with South African consumers, and that the traditional styles employed for many years are being surpassed by creative and exciting product offerings from other spirit categories. “The only way to undo this is to innovate, and that's exactly what we're trying to do with our new Cape Brandy range."

Taste the champion

The first Oude Molen was produced in 1910 by Dutch born distiller, Rene Santhagens, who was the first man in South Africa to produce brandy according to the age-old French tradition. Oude Molen still makes its Cognac-style brandy according to these centuries-old techniques at its distillery in Elgin, which houses two of the largest copper pot stills in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Oude Molen Cape Brandy range can be tasted at the distillery - book your own guided tour and tasting now via the Oude Molen website at

Oude Molen Distillery CEO Andre Simonis
Oude Molen Distillery CEO Andre Simonis

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