Upon hearing the good news I immediately got in touch with Andy to congratulate him and his team and put some questions to him regarding the Three Ships 5 Year Old and the win.
WTF: Well done Andy, what are your thoughts on the win?
AW: This award of having the Three Ships Premium Select 5yr named as the World’s Best Blended Whisky is by far our greatest achievement to date. To come through 3 rounds of tastings against some phenomenal whiskies and emerge as the Overall winner is both a humbling and amazing achievement. We have always believed in our whiskies and the awards we have achieved over the last few years have obviously shown us that we are on the right path!
WTF: Can you give my readers a bit of background on the 5yo?
AW: The 5 year old was launched in 1991 as a blend of Scotch and South African whiskies. It’s origin was crafted after a technical visit I made to Morrison Bowmore Distillers in 1988. During that visit I was fortunate to spend time on the Island of Islay. A small Island off the West Coast of Scotland which is known worldwide for its incredible peated malt whiskies. I fell in love with the Island, its people and more importantly its whiskies. On my return to South Africa the idea of a peated blend was discussed and as they say the rest is history.
In the beginning it was a difficult journey because as you know peat is something you have to understand to appreciate in your whisky. We therefore knew it would be a long voyage and one which would need the whisky drinking consumer to be educated. With the help of tasting campaigns and the inception of Whisky Live we have seen the education levels of the consumer improve quickly and now the majority of Three Ships 5yo’s increasing consumer base know what they are going to find in this whisky. It is a whisky which Jim Murray in his 2012 Whisky Bible scored at 93 which on his scale rates “Brilliant” and he says “is the silkiest delivery South of the equator”. Maybe he was one step ahead? However this award bestowed by the Whisky Magazine includes the Northern hemisphere too… very satisfying!
Over the years the development of our own malt distillation program and the availability of more matured local stock has enabled us to slowly replace some of the Scottish component so that the blend is now very much proudly South African. Year on year we continue to face the challenges which working with peated barley and whiskies throws at you! I think what people still have to understand is that the addition of peat into the whisky making process and the blending of the matured whiskies is not an exact science. It is an art which can vary slightly so with each blend we work incredibly hard to ensure consistency.
WTF: How did your team take the news of the win Andy?
AW: This award will only fuel the dedication and passion which the team here at the James Sedgwick Distillery already have for their work.
If you want to find out more about this whisky, drop me a line, or visit the Three Ships Whisky website.
And for the South Africans who haven’t tried the Three Ships range yet, what are you waiting for? Priced perfectly for the local market there is no reason why you shouldn’t have a bottle or two or three at home. And remember, next time you’re pouring a dram of the 5yo, you’re drinking the best blend in the world.