South Africa’s Three Ships Whisky Offers Up A Special Global Release

By Hannah Kanik / November 26, 2020

Three Ships Whisky out of South Africa recently launched a special release 12-year-old single malt in limited quantities, a first for the UK and Europe. It was crafted at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, close to Cape Town’s City Center, and is the first release in the Master Distiller’s Private Collection.

Master Distiller Andy Watts distilled malted barley in copper pot stills in 2007 and matured the spirit for a minimum of 12 years in a special selection of older and younger American oak casks. The warmer South African climate, it is said, creates a much higher angel’s share, with this accelerated process giving rise to “a spectacular single malt with a depth of flavor, balance and extraordinary smoothness.”

Master Distiller’s Private Collection Three Ships Whisky 12-Year-Old

Master Distiller’s Private Collection Three Ships Whisky 12-Year-Old (image via Three Ships Whisky)

Watts noted he is overjoyed to be sharing this South African whisky with consumers abroad.

“Crafting a single malt is definitely the pinnacle for every Master Distiller and it’s an honor to be able to launch this special release for the overseas market,” Watts said in a prepared statement. “The whisky represents our innovative approach to crafting whisky that excites and expands the World Whisky category.”

The Three Ships brand launched over four decades ago and recently won the World’s Best Blended Whisky award at the 2012 World Whisky Awards, among others.

“Making whisky is not something that happens overnight. It takes immense planning and a lot of patience!” Watts added. “It’s incredibly rewarding for me to see just how far we have come since those first days of producing whisky in South Africa.”

The Master Distiller’s Private Collection Three Ships Whisky 12-Year-Old Single Malt has official tasting notes that speak of it being “light golden in colour with layers of shortbread, dried fruit, soft leather, cherries, roasted nuts and notes of floral and mocha on the nose. The evident smoky, peaty influence is complemented by pepper, dried peaches, citrus, hints of Christmas Pudding and an earthiness that reminds of a pine forest.

“The finish is warm, creamy and savoury, the finish is long with delicate liquorice that lingers in the mouth.”

It is available now for around £40-50, being un-chill filtered and bottled at an ABV of 46.3%.