Three Ships 5 year old Premium Select whisky - Tasting Notes

Andy Watts, master whisky distiller and manager at The James Sedgwick Distillery, was recently in the Netherlands, and brought us some samples to explore of the Three Ships Select, Three Ships 5 years old Premium Select, Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish and the South Africa's first single Grain whisky Bain's. 

My notes on the Three Ship Select and the 10 year old can be found by clicking on the links. The next expression I am discovering is the Three Ships 5 year old Premium Select whisky. What do they tell us about the 5 year old?

Launched in 1991, Three Ships 5 Year Old Premium Select whisky is an artful blend of specifically selected South African and Scotch grain and malt whiskies that have been aged for a minimum of five years.
This bold and unpretentious member of our fleet of whiskies has been awarded the World's Best Blended Whisky by the Whisky Magazine's 2012 World Whiskies Awards. This South African and Scotch blended whisky was previously named as the best whisky outside of Scotland aged 12 years and younger in the 2009 Whisky Magazine's Worldwide Whisky Awards! Three Ships 5 Year Old Premium Select was also a gold medal and class winner at the 2010 IWSC in London.

Cinnamon and whole grain bread mixed with the sweet walkers shortbread notes. Vanilla, butter, bit burned toast, grassy, malty and in the back a light smoky feel to it? It makes me think also a bit of grilled mix vegetables and some thick slices of chorizo baked through that. Some earthy mushrooms, ginger, spice and fruit hidden underneath that

Fruit, spice, smooth buttery clover honey and chocolate. There are lots of fruits like a smoothie with mango, banana, peaches and vanilla. Sweet raisin, baking spices like cinnamon and a hint of ginger. The backing spices and dense fruitcake notes are stronger then the baked veggies on the nose. Those were more present there. There are some fresh citrus notes like orange, grapefruit and pomolo. Also very sweet marshmallows, cherries on heavy juice, custard and mint come to mind...

Medium length finish, sweet, sticky honey mouth feel with chocolate and vanilla

Scored me an 7 out of 10. It is warm, sweet, and fruity. Bit too honey and raisin sweet on the teeth must say on the finish but very nice, its a smooth whisky...

Thanks Andy for sharing this one with us, very lovely dram! Looking forward to exploring the other samples! 

Three Ships Select - Tasting Notes

Recently we got the pleasure to share a couple of drams with Andy Watts, master whisky distiller and only the sixth manager at The James Sedgwick Distillery since it was established in 1886. 

A very passionate person about making whisky. He brought us some samples to explore of the Three Ships Select, Three Ships 5 years old Premium Select, Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish and the South Africa's first single Grain whisky Bain's. 

Thanks for sharing those with us Andy, it was great being able to meet you in Amsterdam. Our wish to visit South Africa only became more strongly now and we hope to be able to make the trip soon and to visit the distillery.  First I am tasting the Three Ships Select what was launched in 1977. What are they telling us about it and the distillery?

It's a high-quality, smooth-tasting blend of fine grain and malt South African and Scotch whiskies that have been left to age in specially selected oak casks for a minimum of three years.

With the exception of Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt, the fleet of whiskies produced at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington are blended whiskies made from a combination of finished malt and grain whiskies. Both the malt and the grain are distilled separately and then, only after a minimum period of three years in wood, do we combine the fruits of our labour to form a blended whisky.

Our internationally acclaimed fleet of whiskies is a testament to a heritage of pioneering craftsmanship that has resulted in South Africa's first whisky brand, the first blend of South African and Scotch whiskies, SA's first single malt whisky and SA's first 100% South African blended whisky.

Please have a look at their website for more information on the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington or here to read more on the first single Grain whisky in South Africa Bain's. Had a taste of the 10 year old earlier, one to have a closer look at again some day for sure. Now first on to tasting the Three Ships Select.   

Soft and creamy nose. Grain and malty notes at first then some light fresh citrus notes combined with some 7-up. Light metallic but also some floral notes like buttercups and dandelions. Vanilla, sweet notes combined with red apples.   

Light citrus notes combined with the vanilla sweetness. White chocolate, raisins and strawberries. Also some banana, white grapes, red apple and red berries emerge on the palate. 

It is a bit creamy at first, but then changes a bit to a hint of wood and metallic. Makes me think a bit of some walnuts, just a small hint of cinnamon and ice tea combined with a very big slice of lemon in it.  

Not so long finish and sweet for sure. The citrus combined with the white chocolate creaminess comes back after the nuts and ice tea, and leaves a buttery mouth feel.

Scored me an 7 out of 10. It is fresh, fruity and sweet, very nice for a very warm summer day as we are having now. Not too overpowering, all flavors are gently and balanced appearing on the nose and palate... Nice and relaxed....

Soon to follow the notes on the Three Ships 5 years old Premium Select, Three Ships Bourbon Cask Finish and the South Africa's first single Grain whisky Bain's . 

The New Zealand Whisky Collecion - Single Cask 1990 - 23 YO - Tasting Notes

Tasting a lovely single cask bottling from the New Zealand Whisky Collection, release 1990, 23 years old. What can they tell us about this one before we dive into our glass to explore it?

These are single cask, cask strength bottlings. Each with hand written numbers and details. Current releases are 1992, 1990, and 1989. A true collector’s items.
Average ABV’s
1992 - 52%
1990 - 62%
1989 - 55%

Our Cask Strength range of Single Malts is a collectible series for the discerning drinker. Aged between 20 and 26 years, these are hand bottled straight from the wood at our Oamaru Cellar Door. No two barrels are exactly the same, so these always have a pleasant surprise up their sleeve. With alcohol content between 49-60%, these Single Malts will satisfy the inquisitive pallet and provide a tasting experience that cannot ever be repeated.

The sample we got from Erik Burgess and the label tells us it is at 63,5%. After giving it a quick sniff, it was clear that it was strong on the nose, and definitely needed a bit of water to smooth it a bit for the nose and palate. Then the party and fun began.

Sticky toffee pudding at first in my glass. Citrus and many floral notes follow with a strong breeze of menthol in it for a bit. Then the roses return with a hint of rye bread and honey suckle. More flower notes like lily (an oriental sweet smelling version) and primrose. Moving on now to the kitchen and getting raisin, cherry, honey, fennel, nutmeg, cookie dough, fudge, lime, pink grapefruit, dark chocolate, vanilla, meringue, crepes, and creamy. A very rich nose.

Warm and spicy at first with some nutmeg, honey, cinnamon, macadamia nuts and cocoa powder.
Some fondant and marzipan notes, with red apples, and there is the sticky toffee pudding appearing again.
Fresh citrus notes coming through the heavier sweet notes after a bit, with some off the flower notes from the nose also coming back. Many notes from the nose can be found back on the palate. A rich and balanced dram it is for sure.

Medium length finish. Bit the cocoa, cinnamon with honey and vanilla riding it out until the end...

At 63,5%, and giving this much strong flavors, and having such a kick it just was surprising to us.
Balanced and rich is the way to describe it, and to be enjoyed slowly. This one gets an 8,5 out 10 from me for sure, wow, love to have more of this beauty for sure.

For more information on The New Zealand Whisky please have a look at their website and discover the different expressions. Was the first time for us tasting whisky from New Zealand and we got send the 21 year old and 15 year old next to this one from Erik Burgess. Absolutely loving it, and love to find some of it in the shops here somewhere, but also wanting more and more to take the trip down there, that we are wanting to do for so long and just visit them. How much can we bring back on the plain from New Zealand? Mhmm lets find out :-) 

The New Zealand Whisky Collection - South Island Single Malt 21 YO - Tasting Notes

Mix of spice and sweet, black pepper, Turkish delight, nougat, fruity, nutmeg, coriander seed, bit tobacco and leather. Mint, light flower notes and grassy notes with a hint of wood. 

Powered sugar, white chocolate, dense fruitcake, red grapefruit, raisin, vanilla, red fruits like raspberry and cranberry. Bit feisty nose with dense notes. Opens up more with a bit of time and reveals the sweet vanilla rich notes... 

Soft flower, fruit notes, and a light earthy note coming through with some sweet fruitcake and nuts. Vanilla, raisin, cereal, pear, grapes, wine gums and most of all many fresh plums. 

Pepper and cookie dough, raspberry and cranberry, but most of all the fresh plums coming through big time. White chocolate and some salmiak... 

Medium length finish with some of the creamy of the white chocolate holding on and a bit dryness of the leather and tobacco. But all covered with rich vanilla. 

At first I thought a bit soft, but after a little bit the spice notes and richer sweet notes came more alive in the glass. Lovely expression scored it a 7,5 out of 10. 

What do they tell us about this expression? 

Made from 100% malted New Zealand barley in the Willowbank distillery, Dunedin. This whisky has been aging in American Oak, Ex-Bourbon barrels for 21 years.

The original release of the South Island Single Malt was in an 18 and 21 year old. The barrels were picked via a multitude of barrel samples sent to Hobart, tasted and matched in CEO Greg Ramsay’s lounge room during the Rugby World Cup by Greg himself, production manager Tom Holder, and, to keep things civilized, good friend and lawyer Brendan. The results spoke for themselves, with the first batch picking up the coveted Double Gold in San Fran.

For more information on The New Zealand Whisky please have a look at their website and discover the different expressions. Hope that they will be more available here soon, love to try more of them. Thanks Erik Burgess for sending us a sample of this. 

The New Zealand Whisky Collection - Dunedin Doublewood 15 YO - Tasting Notes

Sweet, and at first a bit olive oily. But then it changes to full rich vanilla notes with raisin bread, anise, marshmallows, and also a bit spice. The spice raises through the sweet brioche, yellow sugar cane and fresh pastries. 

White pepper, cardamon, ginger and nutmeg. Fruit notes of apricots, banana, warm red apple with custard poured over it. Beautiful sweet nose, full and not overpowering on the spices or the sweet. A soft note of sweet wood is intertwined in this sweet combination. 

The flavors from the nose appear also on the palate and give a smooth transition. The raisin sweet and fruit, give combined with the ginger and nutmeg notes, a gingerbread feel to it.

Creme brulee, brioche, fresh vanilla pods and dark chocolate. Dark spicy sweet dense cake, light citrus note, mango and heavy fruitcake. Some cinnamon, liquerish wood, caramel and dark sugarcane sugar. 

Bit dry, but middle length finish. Cinnamon dry combined with some pencil shavings, bit metallic almost? But the chocolate is covering that up just enough not to be bothered by it really. 

Gave this one a 7 - 7,5 out of 10 on scoring. It is surely one I love to be able to taste more from, but it felt that it can use a bit more strength maybe to it? To just give it a bit more punch to it so to say. Thats a bit the doubt in the score where to go through really. But very nice, enjoyed this one for sure! Warming, sweet and fruity, very yummy. 

What does the New Zealand Whisky Collection tells us about this lovely blend from New Zealand?  

Made of 70% single malt, and 30% premium grain whisky produced from unmalted barley in the Willowbank Distillery. Aged for 6 years in American Bourbon barrels, before finishing in French Oak NZ wine barrels, giving ruby colour, depth of character and long-lasting, rich flavours.

The awesomeness of the Dunedin DoubleWood comes from the foresight of our predecessors, the Preston Family, to transfer a large number of six year old MasterBlended whisky from American Oak to French Oak ex-red wine barrels.

The new barrels came from the North Island and previously contained New Zealand Pinot and Cab Sauv. The Prestons released their DoubleWood after 2 years in French Oak. Our current release has benefited from at least nine years in the new barrels giving it a truly unique flavour.

It has won many awards like the silver medal at San Fran Spirit Awards 2013, best blended whisky at World Whisky Awards 2013 and a gold metal at Wizards of Whisky 2013. 

Thanks Erik Burgess for sending us a sample of this. Lovely, and surely something if I can find a full bottle off I would look for. It is smooth and full of different good flavors. Curious now to try out the other 2 samples we got from Erik a 21 and 23 year old.... Love exploring world whiskies :-) 

The Isle of Arran - Miss Black - Tasting Notes

Full and rich nose. Coffee, cocoa, orange, banana, syrup, tobacco, dried fruits, dense cake, fruits, toffee, chocolate, rich fresh honey straight from the beehive.  Soft nougat, custard, warm grilled pineapple... Just want to just sit back and enjoy, so full of lovely notes, just keeps coming.

The palate is also rich and full, just like the nose, it just seem to keep coming. Feels very balanced and there are some soft tobacco and leather notes to be found in it. Druid fruits, vanilla, rich cake, dark summer fruits, dark chocolate, strawberry, and raspberry.

The notes from the nose also can be found here. Fruity, sweet, creamy and spicy. Rich, very rich.

Long finish, the fruits, chocolate and sweetness linger on quite a bit. 

Would love to have had a bigger bottle of this beauty. Scored me a 8,5 out of 10. Thanks Isle of Arran Distillery and The Whisky Wire for this generous sample we received for the amazing #arranwhisky Twitter Tasting.

It is distilled on 23/05/1997, matured in a first-fill, ex-Sherry hogshead #1997/820 and bottled on 08/04/2014. Only 231 bottles of this one... This was released on 17th May as the third in a series of Visitor Centre Exclusive bottlings 'Miss Black's Bottle'. 

This edition follows on from Campbell's Cask and The Dragon's Dram. It was released on 17th May 2014 and was sold out on 9th June - a record for this series! 'Miss Black's Bottle' is an exclusive cask chosen by Visitor Centre Manager Faye Waterlowe who married her husband David in Lochranza on 17th May.

Isle of Arran - The Devils Punchbowl III - The Fiendish Finale- Tasting Notes

Getting a dense nose, with some custard pudding with heavy summer fruits in syrup and white chocolate and mint. Also some earthiness and saltiness in there, but also like a bit of a port note almost...? Dried fruits, sweet, complex, french pastries, aniseed, vanilla and grapefruit in the back.

Palate on this complex beauty gives me a Christmas cake, red summer fruit, little thyme bitter, and fresh citrus notes. Pepper, chocolate, liquerish, apricot jam, hint of cinnamon, apples and grapes. Many fruity notes... 

Long finish, complex and rich dram with a chocolate finish, sweet, rich fruit cake, and dried fruit…

This one scored an 8 out of 10 for me. Thanks Isle of Arran Distillery and The Whisky Wire for this generous sample we received for the amazing #arranwhisky Twitter Tasting. 

Arran - 17 YO - Tasting Notes

Lovely sweet and fruity, with fudge and chocolate. Some orange marmalade and fruity sweet. 

Rich fresh vanilla, tropical fruit and thick cream. Warm pineapple and some deep fruit sweetness combined, like honey and very rich. 

A good bowl of muesli / granola, some good fresh grind coffee and warm banana

Peppery, vanilla, coconut, and spices. Raisins at the front, with silky chocolate, fresh baked apples and syrup. Very warming and sweet. 

Full and rich palate. Fruit, tropical, berries, fudge and so much more keeps coming to mind when tasting this one.

It has a long finish, with some grapes, chocolate, rich cream, chocolate chip cookies, rich fruit cake, honey, and coconut. Pineapples, orange marmalade and bit pear juice also...

Scored me a 7,5 out of 10. Lovely dram for sure, it is heading a bit towards the 8 but just not there yet, but really lovely, and would advice this to people for sure! So many fruits and other rich flavors... Tasted this beauty from the Isle of Arran Distillery in the #arranwhisky Twitter Tasting from The Whisky Wire. Thanks so much for sharing this one with us!

Wemyss Malts - The Hive 12 years old - Tasting Notes

Dried fruit sweetness, dense fruit cake, some porridge with raisins, beeswax, soft flowers, honey, tangerines, some pomolo, chocolate and tutti frutti.

Red apple and some other fruits and after a bit the nose becomes more dense sweet almost bit like leather and more beeswax combination.

Syrup, sweet, dark floral honey, dark chocolate, red apple, banana, white grapes, tangerines, lemon, galia melon and beeswax again.

There are many fruit notes in there with some almost bitter citrus note coming to the front and overpowering a bit the sweet array of notes. There is some grape skin dryness and marmalade bitter?

Middle length finish, with some chocolate sweetness on there, combined with some wax.

Scored this one a 7 out of 10.  Maybe need to learn to appreciate marmalade more, that is very present in this dram... Honey, waxy and fruit sweet dram for sure!

Wemyss Malts - Smooth Gentleman 5 years old - Tasting Notes

Citrus, ice tea, sweet vanilla and flower honey notes. Raisin and chocolate sweetness. After a bit it gets candy sweet and pushes the citrus a bit to the back. There are some dried fruits in here combined with black liquerish candy and cinnamon in the back.

Creamy, lemon, orange marmalade, milk chocolate, and some bitter/dry notes of nuts and green tea. Some herbs like thyme and some light red pepper notes.

The finish is not so long and has a bit citrus and green tea in the end. The lemon comes back to the front through the sweetness here after have disappeared a bit on the nose earlier.

Scored a 7 out of 10 for me. Fresh and fruity dram...