Meet the Best Brandy in the World: Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old

Last week, Van Ryn’s 15 year old was awarded the Best Worldwide Brandy trophy at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC).  What better way to celebrate this achievement than to savour the flavours of the award winning brandy with an epic cellar style brandy paired lunch with Master Distiller Marlene Bester?


A regular international medallist, the Van Ryn’s 15 year old fine cask reserve reflects the meticulous attention to quality paid by founder Jan van Ryn, who set the benchmark for excellence in South African brandies.

Van Ryn’s Master Distiller Marlene Bester takes pride in the fact that the distillery has won the International Wine and Spirit Competition Worldwide Best Brandy title five times and is now also a four-time winner of the ISC Best Brandy trophy.    “This is the most any South African brandy producer has achieved over the past 10 years,” she said.

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The International Spirits Challenge

Now in its 19th year, the ISC is the premier even in promoting outstanding quality spirits from across the globe.

It is supported by most of the world’s leading spirits producers – more than 1 000 entries from 70 countries are received – as the international standard for quality and excellence.

The ISC Tasting Awards winners are established through a rigorous judging process – seven days of tasting by panels of more than 50 respected and experienced industry professionals.

Each product is blind tasted and awarded a score for its aroma, appearance, taste and finish.  Scores are collated and recorded by the category chairman before Trophy, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals are awarded.


Tasting Notes – Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old

It shows an intensity of fruit characters with a twist of citrus and a delectable trace of chocolate.

A rich, burnished gold colour, its honeyed-citrus aromas unfurl to reveal a palate laced with chocolate, cigar box tones and sweet oak spices.

A creamy texture ends in a lingering but satisfyingly clean finish.  Drink neat, with ice or a dash of water.


Brandy Pairing


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At the lunch, a scrumptious three course meal was paired with Van Ryn’s 12 year old, 15 year old and the velvety smooth 20 year old.



Paired with Van Ryn’s 12 year old

Green salad with roasted pecan nuts, dried cranberries, biltong, black pepper feta chevin, topped with balsamic vinaigrette.

Main Course

Paired with Van Ryn’s 15 year old

Lamb Rogan Josh with rose petals and brown onion flavoured Basmati rice


Paired with Van Ryn’s 20 year old

Orange and bitter chocolate tartlet

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Isn’t it exciting to know that the best brandy in the world is manufactured right on our doorstep?  Congratulations to the Van Ryn’s team!  Siyazingca ngani!

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About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

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