James Sedgwick distillery


James Sedgwick distillery is owned by South Africa's 'Distell' corporation and produces the following brands; Bains single grain whisky, Knights & Harrier blended whiskies and a 'fleet' under the name Three Ships which includes the Select, 5y & Bourbon cask finish expressions.

Location: Wellington, Western Cape Winelands, South Africa



  Bain's single grain whisky   Official Website for Bains Whisky  

Bain's, Single grain whisky, 43% ABV

Double matured in oak casks, first for 3 years, then re-vatted into casks for 2 more years

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass; Classic Malt

Colour; Rich gold, oak, almost amber

Nose: Very aromatic with almost floral wood, spicy butterscotch and light toffee.

Palate: Initially toffee and marshmallow, but soon followed by what I can only describe as butterscoth flavoured freshly sawn and slightly perfumed oak.

Finish; Very long, very smooth and very pleasant.

Overall Impression: I am surprised, very surprised. I have tasted many single grain whiskies and most have been quite disappointing due to their youthful ages. My two favourites were a 38y Invergordon and a 40y Alloa. Sure, they were better than this one, but not by a great margin and if I tasted this blind I would surely identify it as a single grain, but I would also place it as around 23-28 years old. Is this really only 5y? I am shocked and extremely pleasantly surprised. If I had to fault it, I would say it lacked just a little something in the body which may be improved by bottling at 46-48% ABV. This is a delightful whisky!

Whisky & Chocolate: Mango & Ginger praline by Franz Combination: The slightly sweet toffee, marshmallow & butterscotch of the whisky are catapulted into another dimension with the intense mango and light ginger of the praline. Incredible, I want more of this!




  Three Ships blended whisky Official Website for Three Ships Whisky  

Three Ships, blended whisky, 43% ABV

A blend of South African and Scotch whiskies

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass; Classic Malt

Colour; Gold

Nose: Malt, Alpine cheese and a spicy, home-made tomato soup filled with Italian herbs (served at one of my favourite lunch-time restaurants overlooking Chiemsee)

Palate: Smooth, fading quickly then returning with plenty of fruit including banana and papaya with a background of nutty malt.

Finish; Very strange, the intial flavours hit the palate then fade quickly, but soon return in the form of fruit and nutty malt to linger long.

Overall Impression: The makers describe this as having a 'big peaty nose'. It is quite big or should I say full, but I personally find no peat, just good quality Alpine cheese, maybe with the slightest hint of smoke. However, for a 5y blended whisky this really is quite good and very smooth.



Three Ships, Bourbon Cask Finish, 43% ABV

A blend of 100% South African whisky, finished in first fill bourbon casks

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass; Classic Malt

Colour; 18 carat gold

Nose: This has the sligthly woody, very floral nose of a bourbon. Perfumed rich oak sitting in a wild Alpine meadow.

Palate: Smooth and rich, but as with the nose, more bourbon-like which is certainly due to the finishing in a first-fill bourbon cask.

Finish; Long and florally bourbon, if just slightly dry at the end.

Overall Impression: I would undoubtedly say this were a bourbon if I were offered it blind, but that's not to say it's bad, just very bourbon-like. As for quality, I would place it up there with typical bourbons, not a great, but pretty good and very drinkable.











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