Archive for the ‘South Africa’ Category

Three Ships 5 year old Blended Whisky 43%

Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: The nose displays some heavy peat, rich fruit and a gentle grain component. Lovely depth with orange, tangerine and a hint of salinity, iodine and light tar.

Palate: The palate is soft and more grain led with a touch of peat and wood. A little bit watery but pleasant enough.

Finish: Medium length. Slightly smoky, but again mainly grain on the finish.

Conclusion: Great nose. It’s a shame that the complexity doesn’t follow through on to the palate.

Three Ships 5 year old Blended Whisky 43%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Nose a beautifully deep nose of honey glazed exotic fruit with hints of aged plumy dried fruit and oily grain. Pleasantly evolving to show hints of lemon, menthol, lightly sawdusty oak, parma violets and malt.

Palate: Soft and exquisitely balanced in the salty/ sweet department! Full and juicy with some earthy/ smoky peat and youthful medicinal notes. (3.5)

Finish: A long, youthful and spicy finish.

Conclusion. A beautiful nose, but maybe the palate doesn’t quite have the complexity, but it’s pleasant enough.

Three Ships Premium Select (Blended) 5 year old 43%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Edgy and lightly honeyed with coffee, subtle marzipan and herbs.

Palate: Opens with slightly oily apricot and herbs along with hints of coffee. Dark chocolate and malt. There’s no shortage of edgy grain whisky character on the middle.

Finish: Medium length with a very grainy finish.

Conclusion: Pleasant enough although the finish is a little bitter

Three Ships Premium Select (Blended) 5 year old 43%

Re-Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Edgy barley and light honey with hints of white fruit and building smoke. With time hints of fleshy apricot and banana come through to fill out the nose.

Palate: Full and ample with honey coated apricot and white fruit. A thin sliver of barley comes through along with a touch of smoke and mentholated herbs.

Finish: Long and peppery with lingering coal smoke and the grain putting in an appearance.

Conclusion: A very pleasant blend.


Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish (Blended) 43%

Tasted: Dec 2014

Nose: Opens with manuka honey and herbs. Hints of barley and nutty, coconut milk oak follow. Very creamy and smooth with hints of lychee, banana and a little herbal spirit at the edge.

Palate: Soft and smooth with apricot and blanched almonds. Lightly creamy with coconut and unsweetened pineapple. The oak becomes a little bitter.

Finish: Long and intense. Lovely bitter/ sweet balance.

Conclusion: Another finely balanced blend.

Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish 43%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: A good complexity of gooseberry, greengage and barley to begin with. Hints of moist, juicy sherry support and a weight. With time a touch of cinnamon, vanilla and rye-like herbs emerge.

Palate: Not as evocative and complex as the nose. More of the grain spirit is on display with hints of youthful malt biscuits along with a touch of sherry spice and vanilla.

Finish: malty and a little cardboard. Quite disappointing.

Conclusion: It was all downhill after that lovely nose!


Three Ships 10 year old (Bartholomew Diaz Tin) 43%


Tasted: May 2011

A clean, sweet, slightly leafy sherry nose with hints of herbs and liquorice. Quite aromatic and nutty with some sugared almond notes. It’s pleasantly sherried with maybe a smidge of peat (of the slightly medicinal variety) but where is the distillery character?

The palate is gently sherried (probably from refilled butts) again slightly leafy. Bold, mouthfilling and spicy with the alcohol appearing to be quite piquant. A short-ish, very dry finish as the tannins grip, but if you like sherried drams this is not too bad, but I wish that there was some distillery character.

Three Ships 10 year old (Vasco de Gamma Tin?) 43%

American Oak

Tasted: Jan 2013

Nose: Lightly oiled apricot and barley with a touch of light sawdusty oak. With time it develops some citrus orange notes along with some crumbly spice. Lovely depth.

Palate: Quite full, opening with the creamy oak and sugar coated barley melding together rather pleasantly. Some maturing coffee oak notes appear on the middle along with a touch of floral honey. Superb depth and structure.

Finish: A lovely, fruity finish

Conclusion: A very enjoyable malt with a good structure and complexity.

Three Ships 10 year old (Vasco de Gamma Tin?) 43%

Re-Tasted: Jan 2014

Best African Single Malt

Nose: A beautiful nose of dusty violets, crumbly peat and blood orange. Stunning maturity with a touch of charred wood, bog myrtle and cumin sprinkled barbequed meat. Yum!

Palate: Full and dusty on the palate with some old Bowmore-esque violet notes. A beguiling mouthful of herbal malt, dusty peat, tar, oil and creosote all set against a windswept, salty background.

Finish: Very salty, which does dry the finish; however the dusty peat lingers and coats the tongue with an ashy residue.

Conclusion: Superb stuff – I’m not spitting this!

Three Ships 10 year old (Vasco de Gamma Tin?) 43%

Re-Tasted: Feb 2015

Nose: Oily, barley’d and smoky with some gritty coal dust. Hints of oak, kerosene and almost pot still-like spices

Palate: Oily and smoky but there’s some ephemeral fleshy fruit – apricot and under ripe banana adding some balancing character. Again plenty of coal dust and spice.

Finish: Medium length with a dry, salty finish and a good lingering intensity.

James Sedqewick Three Ships 10 year old (Van Reebeck Tin) 43%

Re-Tasted: June 2015

Lovely aromas of dusty American and poached pear in syrup along with hints of oily rum-like dried fruit and camphor which give it an agricole-esque kind of vegetal character. Pleasantly aromatic with crystallised barley, smoke and sweet peat.

The palate is soft, succulent and juicy with syrup coated apricot and baked pear. Hints of moist fruitcake and gentle rum-like dried fruit come through on the middle with a touch of herbs. Long with cleansing citrus, pine sap, peat smoke and green nuts in the finish. Beautifully balanced and elegant.

James Sedqewick Three Ships 10 year old (? Tin) 43%

WWA 2016 Best South African Single Malt

Re-Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Juicy and crisp with citrus laced sherry and chocolaty spice. In fact it’s exceedingly critic almost to the point of being acerbic but somehow it comes back from the brink.

Palate: Unsurprisingly very citric with a hint of struck match. Pleasantly juicy, dried sherry fruit, smoke and citrus!

Finish: Long and spicy with a dusty, chocolaty finish.

Conclusion: Thankfully the blemish isn’t too bad.

Three Ships 10 year old Limited Edition 44.6%

Tasted: Oct 2016

Nose: A seriously impressive nose! immensely fruity – Peach, pear, mango and pineapple, all liberally sprinkled with granulated sugar. Subtly oaked with late earthy and citric notes which balance the sweetness.

Palate: Less exuberant than the nose, but still a lovely mouthful. Showing more malt and sweet biscuits along with barley and some gorgeous honey. Hints of mature-ish oak, banana and apricot come through.

Finish: Long and fresh as the citrus kicks in along with a touch of sweet but earthy peat.

Conclusion: Normally I would complain about the palate not displaying the exuberance

Three Ships PX Cask Finish 46.2%

Single Cask

Tasted: Feb 2016

Nose: Impurities city! Plasticy and feinty with turpentine and heavy oils. There is some fruit beneath but it’s well hidden.

Palate: Not as plastic as the nose with some heavily oiled and petrolly fruit. A touch of barley sweetness but it’s nowhere near integrated.

Finish: Good length with a touch of granulated sugar and gentle earthy peat.

Conclusion: The finish was the best part, but in truth this was bottled too soon.


Bains Cape Mountain Grain Whisky 43%

Tasted: April 2012

The nose opens with a touch of oily Oloroso, followed by a depth of fat, corn like grain with a bit of a granity hardness and citrus. The sweet grain eventually pummels the sherry into submission and lets some natural toasted caramel out (American oak?). A very interesting nose.

Full, sweet and mouth-filling. Some lightly oiled corn like grain mingles with some sweet American oak vanillins. However I can sense that somewhere in the depths some sherry lurks. Quite dense with waves of spicy, slightly dried fruit on the middle and with time in the mouth it does become pleasantly oiled.  The oak does grip like a vice at the end, so beware. However overall this is a really interesting grain, which shows a lot more character than the Three Ships 10 year old…… And for the price it’s a definite steal!