Earlier this year I interviewed Andy Watts of the James Sedgwick Distillery, makers of the Three Ships Single Malt. In that interview he said: “The return of the Three Ships 10 year Old Single Malt within the next few months is also an exciting project. The 10 year old malts will be released by vintage which again is another first for our South African whisky industry.”
Well, that 10 year old whisky is now here – a sample arrived from South Africa recently, much to my delight. The Three Ships brand, as Andy mentioned in the interview, ranges from light floral blends to peated single malts. So it’s reasonably uncommon to come across an African whisky, let alone a peated African whisky. For more about the Wellington-based James Sedgewick Distillery and South African whisky, I wrote a more detailed introduction in this review of the Three Ships Aged 10 Years PX Finish (a very good whisky).
Three Ships 10 Years Old was distilled in July 2005 (two years after the distillery launched its first single malt), matured in American oak and is bottled at 44.6% ABV without colouring or chill-filtration.
Pinotage is a grape varietal developed in South Africa by cross-breeding Pinot Noir and Hermitage/Cinsault grapes. The result is a very tannic, earthy, fruit-rich wine which I love. So what better to use to finish a South African whisky.
The aged grain components shine through here for me. Woody vanilla, old varnished wood.
Delicate vanilla and woodspice at first and then an intense rush of very rich fruits. Plums.
Long. Quite dynamic.
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