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The James Sedgwick distillery in Wellington has become synonymous with South Africa’s home-grown whisky sensation, Three Ships.

In the capable hands of master distiller Andy Watts Three Ships has just grown and grown – in both volume, expression, stature and respect. No-one lifts an eyebrow or curls a lip when talking about South African single malt because these Three Ships whiskies have won a number of international awards for quality and excellence.

The latest limited edition bottling to be released – the fifth – has been 11 years in the making and with less than 3 000 bottles available, had whisky enthusiasts locally and abroad eagerly anticipating it hitting the market. So much so that in an online sale of 400 bottles late last year, 85% of it sold out in eight minutes!

The whisky is an 11 year old single malt shiraz cask finish and forms part of the Whisky Master’s Collection.

“To achieve the exceptional cask finish that is the mark of this Master’s Collection, the latest release was first matured for eight years in American oak barrels, before being finished in seasoned shiraz oak casks for three years,” Watts revealed.

His tasting notes speak of cherries, roasted nuts and Christmas fruit cake flavours with white pepper and other spice notes. It is complex, warm and lingers with a subtle peat note, as well as being bottled at its natural strength of 51.4% ABV and is un-chill filtered.

Watts is justifiably proud of it and describes it as “a fine example of how South African whisky ingenuity is revolutionizing the whisky category – it celebrates the tenacity of the dedicated team at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington.”