The Distillery has been named Best Brand Innovator 2011in Whisky Magazines’ Icons of Whisky competition. The award is in recognition of the state-of-the-art facilities at the distillery as well as the innovative whiskies produced here.
The Icons have been established to acknowledge the people and the places behind the world’s best whiskies and an independent panel compiles a shortlist from the entries received for the various categories. The winners are chosen by vote and this year, only a few votes separated the winners from the rest of the pack.
According to Andy Watts, manager and master distiller of The James Sedgwick Distillery, it is great to see South Africa now seriously competing against the best in the world.
“The award reflects the global nature of the whisky industry and today, people are taking note of countries such as ours, realising South Africa has the facilities and skills to produce exceptional whiskies.”
Watts is only the sixth manager in the distillery’s 125 year history. Under his watchful eye the production facilities were recently upgraded and a new tasting room was created. Watts, has since his appointment in 1991 as manager of the distillery, been instrumental in shaping a South African whisky platform.
He has established many firsts for South Africa on the whisky front with a single malt and a 100% locally blended whisky for the Three Ships brand and more recently the first single grain whisky, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.
The award-winning whiskies produced include the Three Ships whisky range of Select, Premium Select 5-year old, Bourbon Cask Finish, the limited edition Three Ships 10-year old single malt and the 100% single grain Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky.
Three Ships and Bains' Whisky Tasting Notes
Three Ships Select
This original Three Ships Whisky, launched in 1977, is a smooth-tasting blend of fine South African and Scotch whiskies that have been aged in specially selected oak casks for a minimum of three years. Pale gold in colour, it is warm, well balanced and gentle on the nose, with a taste that has a slight sweetness with estery overtones, a hint of oak and a pleasant, clean finish.
Three Ships 5 Year-Old
Three Ships 5 year-old presents a skilful blend of specially selected South African and Scotch whiskies, each matured for a minimum of five years. Full and golden in colour, with a sherry-red tinge, it is robust and full, aromatic and peaty on the nose. On the palate the whisky is slightly sweet but with a full, peaty character and offers a lingering, warm finish.
Three Ships Bourbon cask Finish
Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish is the first ever whisky in which both malt and grain components have been distilled and matured in South Africa. After the initial maturation of three years, the final blend matures for a further period in first-fill bourbon oak casks. The whisky has a rich golden syrup colour and soft, estery, warm nose. The slight honeyed sweetness with vanilla notes on the palate is complemented by subtle hints of pepper and spice. The finish is lingering, with a hint of flavour from the bourbon casks.
Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt. Whisky
The limited edition Three Ships 10-year-old Single Malt is created using only the finest quality malted barley and matured for 10 years in specially selected oak casks to bring out its subtle elegance. The whisky holds a warm coppery colour. The hint of peat, although not smoky, combines effortlessly with the estery notes of a slightly sweet fragrance alluding to dried fruit and fudge producing a full-bodied and round whisky with a long, warm finish.
Bains Cape Mountain Whisky
Made from 100% South African grain, Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, is South Africa’s first single grain whisky. Double-matured in specially selected oak casks, the whisky spends an initial three years maturing before being released from wood and then re-vatted for a further two years’ maturation to continue the distinctive extraction of flavours.
It shows an exceptional interaction between spirit and wood to produce a mix of toffee, floral and vanilla aromas and flavours with a hint of spice softened by sweet undertones. The result is a warm and extended mouthfeel with an exceptionally smooth finish.
Colour: Warm, golden amber
Nose: Combination of toffee, floral and vanilla aromas
Palate: A hint of spice softened by the sweet undertones of oak
Finish: A warm and extended mouth-feel with an exceptionally smooth finish.