This is a special release from Three Ships, a South African whisky brand distilled at the James Sedgewick distillery in the Western Cape. This one was matured in American Oak and then finished in a cask that was treated with sweet Pedro Ximenez sherry (possibly from spain although the parent company makes a popular local ‘sherry’ as well, Sedgewick’s Old Brown).
Three Ships is a brand that’s been making a bit of noise lately. I grew up in South Africa, the home of Three Ships, and what I remember of it was a cheap local alternative to imported whiskies, and considering the cheap price of whisky in South Africa, that’s saying something.
However over the last few years, and from what I’ve read much to the delight of the master distiller Andy Watts, the brand has been moving to compete in the World Whisky market and has been putting out some age stated expressions, and playing around with casks.
This is wonderful news as South Africa has a really well developed drinks market so the demand, materials and knowhow are there and hopefully will continue to be unlocked in the future. From what I’ve heard this release will be the first of several annual releases from Three Ships each with a special finish of some sort.
Aged 10 years. 46.2%ABV. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled from a single cask.
Nose: Quite a nice leather note. Sulphury sherry. Gunpowder. I don’t think this is peated but there’s an underlying smokiness to this. Red fruits. Radishes. Spicy carrot salad. Particle board. Woodspice. Dried oranges.
Palate: More leather. Rum & Raisin flavouring. Some red fruits. Bit of a dusty, earthy note, something I usually pick up in Glenfarclas. Marmalade. Very big bitter wood note on the swallow, along with some orange peel.
Finish: Long. Bitter wood. Red fruits. Pickled ginger. Woodspice that lingers for quite some time.
Would I buy this: Yes
Would I order this in a bar: Yes
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes
VFM: 5/5 (South African retail price)
Impressive dram. Felt a wee bit unbalanced with some bitter wood notes that stuck out where they shouldn’t, but other than that very enjoyable. Loved the leather notes, absolutely gorgeous. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Three Ships.