101 uses for brandy

No. 57:

The land on which Mount Nelson Hotel is now situated was granted to Baron Pieter Van Rheede van Oudtshoorn. This land was known as Oudtshoorn Gardens (at this time, the term ‘garden’ was used to describe a small farm).
Baron Pieter returned to Holland and while there, was appointed the new governor of the Cape. However, he died en route back to Cape Town, and Oudtshoorn Gardens was subsequently subdivided and sold.
When people died aboard a ship, they were normally buried at sea, but Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn was kept in a lead-lined coffin and preserved in brandy for four months until his ship reached Cape Town.
He was buried with ceremony, and his tombstone can now be seen on the outer wall of Cape Town’s Groote Kerk.

How fortuitous that there was a lead-lined coffin and several (or more) litres of brandy available on board for this purpose. Was that a regular cargo, I wonder, or did someone suspect that Oom Piet was going to pop his (quite literally, one would imagine) clogs?

There’s little information as to how he died, and there’s certainly no evidence to suggest that this is what happened to him, but when I go, I think that drowning in a lead-lined coffin filled with brandy would be both pretty cool and rather practical.

He probably would have tasted great upon arrival in Cape Town.

Anyway, his information, which I discovered by accident on the Wikipedia page for the (Belmond) Mount Nelson Hotel (don’t ask), explains the why the suburb behind the building (Gardens) is called what it is, and also the name of the next road left after the hotel: Rheede Street.

I also learned that during the influenza outbreak of 1919, the Mount Nelson was described as a “plague-free zone”.

Much like the rest of Cape Town that year, then.


After Friday’s cold front, the long weekend came good with some fresh, bright weather.

Making hay, we headed down to Cape Agulhas and did stuff like braai, y-bike along the road with the daughter, walk along the beach with the beagle and light a big fire (in the fireplace, not some sort of random arson).
I’d share a photo, but I’m still working on getting large photos onto blog posts. It’s not as simple as it seems. I’ll get there.

It’s red wine and brandy weather too.
Please excuse me while I recognise this.

Van Ryn’s

I don’t actually know who Mr or Mrs (or Mx) van Ryn was (I could look it up and I may well do so, just not right now), but I do know that s/he/they/it makes exceedingly good brandy.

After a busy day in the lab, with further commitments this evening, a quota photo of that distillery’s beautifully presented brandy and chocolate pairing is just what is called for.
Later, actual chocolate and brandy may also be called for, but that’s an entirely different story.


Those of you who know me, or who read this blog on a regular basis, will probably be aware that I am partial to the odd glass of brandy when and where I can slip one in.

And things over the last 24 hours have conspired to deliver not one, but three Marlon-related bottles of joy. Some 10 year old KWV Potstill brandy, some “ever so special” Courvoisier cognac and some St Rémy glass-encased deliciousness. I’m going to be kept wasted happy for several (if not more) evenings.

And then I spotted this – Brandy Homes:


Well, I have one of those now, but these are the places that brandy is made – the local distilleries. I’ve done several of them already, but now you can visit them all with this handy new feature on the sabrandy.co.za website:

A Brandy Home is a place where you can sit back, relax and learn all there is to know about brandy.
The story of brandy is fascinating – it takes five litres of the finest wine to make one litre of spirit. And then it has to mature untouched for at least three years.
There is so much to discover – the heads, the heart, and the tails. Not to mention the Angels’ share… Plan your visit to a Brandy Home today. It’s a great outing and something completely different!

And there are maps and guides and ratings – a nice resource. SA does a lot of really good wine tourism, and with the troubles caused by the new visa regulations, it’s such a sensible idea to encourage some additional brandy visits with summer coming up (which, along with spring, autumn and winter, is my primary brandy drinking season) and  worth checking out.

Disclaimer: No brandy was exchanged for this post (yet – my contact details are here, Brandy people), I just like the idea.