Three Ships Single Malt South African Whisky – December 2021

The Whisky:-

Crafted at the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, a small town about an hour’s drive from Cape Town’s City Centre, the Three Ships Whisky 12-Year-Old is the first release in the Master Distiller’s Private Collection. It is a single malt that is natural in colour and un-chillfiltered.

Internationally awarded Three Ships Whisky Master Distiller, Andy Watts, distilled malted barley in copper pot stills in 2007 and matured the spirit for a minimum of 12 years in a special selection of older and younger American oak casks. Although the warmer South African climate results in a much higher angel’s share, the accelerated interaction between the spirit, cask and atmosphere, gave rise to this delicious single malt.

The Distillery:-

The only commercial whisky distillery in Africa, The James Sedgwick Distillery is the Home of Three Ships Whisky with a rich history of producing award-winning spirits for the past four decades.

The distillery has been at the forefront of innovation with state-of-the-art equipment and ingenious sustainability projects, and was recently recognised by being awarded with the Sustainability Leadership Award at the Business Intelligence Group’s 2021 Sustainability Awards held in Philadelphia, USA, as well as the award of Sustainable Distillery of the Year 2020 Icons of Whisky Awards held annually by Whisky Magazine.

The sustainability projects at the distillery include:

By collecting the CO2 emanated during fermentation, the distillery repurposes this greenhouse gas towards the use in carbonated drinks.

The spent grains are separated from waste water and used as animal feed since it’s high in protein.-

Anaerobic reactor (UASB) to reduce the COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) in the waste water.

Capture the methane gas (a by-product from the anaerobic digester) in order to reduce coal usage

Through the reverse osmosis plant, the spent water is treated to a standard whereby it can be re-used in the process as boiler water. This is resulting in an approximate saving of 35% of our water requirements.


The distillery is situated about an hour’s drive from Cape Town City Centre and open to visitors on selected days for tastings and tours. The maturation cellar is the quiet lifeblood of the James Sedgwick distillery. It’s here where the angel’s share wraps an invisible blessing over the warehouse. The interaction between the spirit, wood and air is the complex collaboration of science, magic and patience all essential in producing a whisky of quality.

You can almost taste the whisky when spending time in this enchanting space where the various types of casks rest. And it’s during this ageing process where the spirit truly realises their character as Andy experiments with a variety of finishes and styles.

Where to buy: Summerton Whisky Club

If you are a Whisky Pioneer subscriber, we hope you enjoyed this whisky as much as we did. If you’re not yet a subscriber, and you’d like to explore exceptional whisky with us, join today to receive a 5/6cl bottle every month. Find out about our better bottles and how it works here.

BrandThree Ships Whisky
LocationJames Sedgwick Distillery, Wellington, South Africa
Expression12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky
Age12 years
Casks UsedAmerican Oak