KWV's 12 year Barrel Select Brandy was named Worldwide Best Brandy, winning the 2014 Worldwide Brandy Trophy Award at the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition awards ceremony in London on Monday.
This is the seventh time that the South African wine and spirits maker has won the award, and follows its triumph at the International Spirits Challenge 2013, where its KWV 15 Alambic Brandy was named Best Brandy in the World.
"To win Worldwide Best Brandy 2014 is the highest accolade and demonstrates our Brandy team's commitment to innovation and quality of the highest standard," KWV Master Distiller Pieter de Bod said, adding that KWV Brandy was increasingly being recognised as a serious competitor to Cognac.
"South African brandy standards and processes are on par, if not better, than the equivalent Cognac standards, with the only difference being the location from where the grapes that provide the base wine for distillation are sourced."
Distilled in the world's largest copper potstill distillery at KWV's brandy cellars in Worcester in the Western Cape, the KWV 12 is distilled mainly from Chenin Blanc and Colombar grapes and matured in small French oak barrels to give it its unique smooth taste.
"On the nose there is dried fig, potpourri, citrus and a hint of white chocolate, and it has a great taste with a combination of dried fruit flavours with honey and oak wood, and is well balanced with a lingering aftertaste," De Bod said.
The award judges - including Masters of Wine, buyers, sommeliers, qualified educators and respected wine journalists - said the KWV 12 presents itself as "deep, old gold" and that it has "an attractive nose filled with dried apricot, raisins and spice".
They described the blend as a smooth, refined entry with a good balance of mature notes and some vigour, adding that citrus and some tropical flavours enrich the mouth. They said that vanilla and cinnamon play an important role, "as does the fine, old oak support and long, mellow finish".