Still-Oaky Distillery comes with one of those great stories of trials and tribulations that are overcome through determination and hard work.
This distillery is the fruition of a dream and then a plan by a chef and software programmer who also happen to be husband and wife.
Fanie and Annerie Smit moved to Cape Town from Johannesburg to start their distilling company at a time when the world’s economy was struggling and Fanie’s father was very ill.
“Our dream was kindled on the slopes of the Magaliesberg and Still-Oaky realized in the Mother City of Cape Town,” says Fanie.
After Fanie’s father, Johannes, passed away they decided to name their premier gin after Johannes’s favorite tree, the Karee tree (Searsia lancea).
The Karee is a drought resistant and frost hardy evergreen tree and, in the Still-Oaky Gin, this tree not only memorializes Johannes Smit but it is also a symbol of the hardiness of this distillery.
Still-Oaky Distillery currently produces Searsia London Dry Gin, Roasted Rooibos Infused Gin, Aardvark Gin and Stowaway Rum.
At the 2020 Thirsty Travel Spirit tasting we got to sample the London dry and the Roasted Rooibos gins.
Searsia London Dry Gin
“Our Gin is distilled from an Apple base and a special blend of African, Indian and European botanicals,” says Annerie.
This being a London style gin, the spirit is very refined.
Annerie adds, “Because Searsia is distilled from Apple, the flavour of any fruit garnish is amplified by the natural flavour.”
At the tasting we found this gin to be very floral on the nose. Liquorice was very noticeable on the palate and the apple came through more in the aftertaste.
We all agreed that this was a great London style dry gin and was excellent on the rocks and best mixed with a soft tonic such as the RHBC Wawu and a soda water to ensure that the great natural flavor was preserved.
Roasted Rooibos Infused Gin
Annerie says, “Rough Rooibos is sourced from the Piketberg region and dark roasted and smoked before infusing into our Searsia London Dry Gin. This Roasted Rooibos Gin is a first of its kind with a note of veld fire smoke, complimented by the fresh forest scent of the Rooibos Fynbos.”
As one would expect, we found the rooibos to be pleasantly dominant on the nose and the palate with honey, vanilla and apple coming through more subtly. We found it best served on the rocks because we didn’t want to lose the amazing flavoring with a mix.