Three Ships 12 Year Old: Single Malt Whisky from South Africa

First edition of the Master Distiller's Private Collection released

The James Sedgwick Distillery, the only commercial whisky distillery in South Africa, produces the Three Ships Whisky in addition to their grain whisky Bain's Cape Mountain. There have been several Three Ships releases in South Africa, now they have launched the Three Ships 12 Years Single Malt Whisky on the European market.

Master Distiller Andy Watts is responsible for the distillation in the James Sedwick Distillery. The British native and former cricketer came to South Africa in the 1980s. He began his career in the spirits industry at Farmer's Winery (now Distell) in Stellenbosch. In 1999 the company moved to Wellington. Watts learned all about whisky production in Scotland and is now regarded as the leading light on the South African whisky scene.

The whisky for the current batch of the Three Ships 12 Years was distilled in 2007 and aged for 12 years in Wellington in a "combination of older and younger small American oak casks," according to the actual press release. Given the South African climate, there is a lot of interaction between the spirit and the wood, resulting in accelerated maturation. The Three Ships 12 Year Old is the first release of the Master Distiller's Private Collection. It was bottled at 46.3% ABV without chill filtration and in natural colour.

Tasting notes for the Three Ships 12 Year Old

Colour: deep gold

Nose: shortbread, dried fruit, leather, cherries, mocha

Palate: Smoky, pepper, dried peaches, citrus, pine forest.

Finish: A warm and creamy finish with delicate liquorice.


Images: James Sedgwick Distillery