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Thursday, 10 March 2011

A First Class (Ship)ment

Since our birthday shenanigans, we've been investigating a few international whiskies that a few of you may not have had a chance to try yet. Our first hails all the way from the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, South Africa. The recent World Whisky Awards highlighted just how revered this distillery has become, with their Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish winning the category of Best Rest Of World Blended Whisky.

The distillery is to be found in the foothills of the Bains Kloof Pass on the banks of the Berg River in Wellington and their current expressions include a 5yo blend and the Bourbon cask finish. Recently, James Sedgwick distilled South Africa's first single grain whisky too, so hopefully we'll be seeing that heading to our shores soon.

I recently popped into Milroy's in Soho and the Three Ships 10yo single malt caught my eye, so I grabbed a bottle. Apparently this bottling is a limited edition, so probably worth seeing if your local retailer can locate it for you.

Three Ships - 10yo single malt whisky - 43% - 75cl

Nose: A very alluring soft and aged peat gently wafts in first, almost reminiscent of a lightly peated Ardbeg. Behind that, is a stewed rhubarb note, a hint of sweet candifloss and a wave of dry oakiness.

Palate: The initial sip is sweet and fragrant, rather like a sweetened Earl Grey tea, creamy cereal, soft red summer fruits and chocolate covered hazelnuts. The peat is again gentle, this time similar to my old favourite - Talisker 18yo, which is high praise indeed. It doesn't have as much depth as this Syke heavyweight, but it is a very passable and drinkable.

Finish: Sweetness lingers and the cereal notes coat the tongue along with the soft peat for a pleasingly lengthy finish.

Overall: What a little corker. Cost wise, this comes in at a fairly weighty £45, which for a 10yo is fairly expensive. But nonetheless a very easy drinking and approachable whisky from South Africa's finest. Think Spring Bok as opposed to Springbank!!