Three Ships Pinotage Cask 15 Year


When it comes to my whisky journey, I’ve been blessed to have met many great people in the whisky industry and have tasted more than my fair share of truly exceptional whiskies. And now I can add another one to that list – the second release in The Masters Collection, namely the 15 year old Three Ships Pinotage Cask Finish, made by a man who I have the utmost respect, admiration and love for – Andy Watts.

I was one of the lucky few to attend the launch in Kramerville on the evening of 29 September 2016. It’s an important date and I’ll tell you why.

For many years, hardcore lovers of Three Ships have been hounding Andy to produce a whisky finished in Pinotage casks. A South African grape varietal, it just made sense that a local whisky should use local casks, sourced from a wine farm inside the Distell stable. Of course, Andy was way ahead of us and had this very whisky quietly maturing away in the warehouse.

And it was on a lovely Highveld evening that the world (well, at least a few of us) got to taste this fine dram at a truly auspicious launch.

I’ve always been more interested in what’s in the glass (intrinsics) as opposed to how it is presented and marketed (extrinsics), but I must admit, the marketing and PR team in the form of Follow Ebith Jurgens on Twitter (Distell) and Follow Linda Christensen – Jigsaw PR on Twitter ( Jigsaw PR) put together an exceptional evening. The venue was bathed in pink/purple lighting, the decor all white with some intricate flower arrangements serving as centrepieces. After welcome drinks and canapes, we moved onto the dining area and things got interesting when we were directed to put on headphones and stare at our white place mats!

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.

Region: South Africa

Aroma: The aged grain components shine through here for me. Woody vanilla, old varnished wood.

Flavours: Delicate vanilla and woodspice at first and then an intense rush of very rich fruits. Plums.

Character: Long. Quite dynamic.

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