Thanks to /u/slackerdude for the sample.
I am a firm believer in supporting young distilleries in regions that aren’t as well known for whisky. Imagine if we hadn’t; we’d have no interesting Japanese whisky, or Indian whisky, or even Australian whisky.
Yes, I know, sometimes it doesn’t turn out ‘okay’. Sometimes it tastes poorly. However I still believe eventually something will rise out of lesser known regions.
Today’s is South Africa, with Three Ships 5 Premium Select. The James Sedgewick distillery, which makes this blended whisky. It’s a mixture of malt and grain whiskies, and won the 2012 best blended whisky in one of those contests that are rigged to heck and have no formal backing. You know the ones?
Also Jim Murray gave it a 93/100. While that seems pretty low for Jim, let’s not hold it against the whisky.
They use American oak in these, and while it may seem young, remember that South Africa has a warmer climate, so it is matured quickly.
Price: $34.95 (CAD) at the LCBO
Region: South Africa
Colour: 2.5Y 5/6
Nose: Varnish, mint, vanilla, butterscotch
Simple, very light nose. The American oak is evident here. Takes a long time to really tease anything out of it. The mint is the strongest part. Or maybe the varnish. They compete for it.
Taste: Mango, wood, marshmallow, pepper, ginger, lemon
Nice fruit notes. Quite sweet. I have to say, the taste is a lot better than the nose. The nose was light and barely there.
They don’t line up too well though. There’s a tiny bit of vanilla, yet not really enough.
Finish: Wood, corn, dried fruit, orange pulp
Very woody. Can tell this was aged quickly. The wood and corn elements are still there.
Remember how I said I don’t like Orange? Well like most normal sane people, I don’t like pulped orange juice more. And this tastes like pure pulp.
That’s not a good thing.
Conclusion: There’s potential here, however it’s quite muddled. No real nose, the taste is nice yet overly sweet and woody, and the finish can go die in a hole. No wonder Jim only gave this a 93.
Skip this one. I think they need more time aging and working on the product. The 10 year is better overall.
World Whisky review #91, South Africa review #3, Whisky Network Review #491
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