Bringing together whisky and good friends

C’mon James Sedgwick Distillery, Bottle It Already!

The James Sedwick Distillery - Home of Three Ships and Bain's Whisky

The James Sedgwick Distillery has been making waves around the globe. In the last two years they’ve walked away with several accolades and awards, most noticeably the Whisky Magazine’s World Icon Award for the distillery itself as Brand Innovator in 2011, World’s Best Blended Whisky (the Three Ships 5 year old – 2012) and World’s Best Single Grain Whisky (the Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky – 2013). The publicity from these wins, and the local marketing push as a result thereof, has seen more and more South Africans discover – and fall in love – with our local treasure. You just need to take a look at the whisky auction taking place on the Three Ships Facebook page to see how much people want this whisky, giving up their Facebook cover photos to Three Ships for months at a time all in exchange for winning a bottle of the limited edition Three Ships 10 year old. With the next release only in 2015, you can see why there is such a demand!

South Africans enjoy their South African Whisky

Andy Watts, master distiller at the James Sedgwick Distillery, and his team are producing great whisky. Take this year’s FNB Whisky Live Festival for example, the biggest seller at the on-site bottle store at the festival was Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky. Why? It’s a brilliant single grain whisky, well priced, and you have folks like Denzel Heath (one of the country’s top mixologists) creating interesting alternatives to the traditional way of enjoying a whisky.

Internationals too…

JSD fans aren’t restricted to the locals though. Ian MacMillan, master distiller for Burn Stewart Distillers (Bunnahabhain, Tobermory, Ledaig, Deanston, Black Bottle, etc) in Scotland spent a couple of days at the distillery before Whisky Live and had nothing but good things to say about the grain whisky being produced at the distillery. And then you take a look around the globe and see Three Ships and Bain’s being shared, and enjoyed, by whisky connoisseurs. For example, Johanne McInnis a Canadian whisky lover of note, hosted a World Whisky tasting that the 5 year old in the line-up and it went down a treat! And then there’s Erik Burgess, a whisky loving Kiwi and part time ambassador for the New Zealand whisky company who has nothing but praise for our local whiskies and always seems to have a bottle on hand. You get my point? The list goes on and on…

Things are happening at the distillery

Production is running at an all time high at the distillery, with the 2 new warehouses that were completed a short while ago already full, resulting in a new warehouse being built as we speak. All this means that there is going to be a lot more great whisky coming out of JSD. In fact, there have been several hints and sightings of new expressions that have me – and several other whisky lovers – very excited. Several months back Marc Pendlebury, owner of WhiskyBrother (a speciality whisky shop in Joburg) and I were among the lucky few to taste 2 experimental cask strength whiskies from the distillery, finished in Pinotage casks! (They tasted fantastic!) Add to that the 12 year old grain whisky (the next Bain’s release?) folks sampled at Whisky Live and other private tastings. Now I hear whispers of a PX (Pedro Ximénez) cask finished whisky…

All these amazing whiskies are stacking up at the distillery, some ready for bottling by the sounds of it. So the question begs… Why aren’t they being bottled and sold already?!!?

Seriously guys, how much longer do we have to wait before whisky lovers everywhere get to enjoy the fruits of your labours? We’re ready for the some new expressions, please let them see the light of day soon.



  1. November 18, 2013    

    Indeed mate, indeed.

    adding my voice, those are lovely whiskies, been a fan for a while now.
    let us have our hooch, and now. 2015 is way way too far away.

    keep the water of life flowin’

    Gal, Whisky Israel

  2. November 18, 2013    

    Oh yeah, come on JSD – give us some more tasty whisky

  3. November 18, 2013    

    Without knowing the details of your marketing plan, there is obviously a demand. Reputed whisky drinkers clearly value your product, it’s good business to capitalise on both demand and goodwill. Go for it! Release the drams. You know it makes sense.

    Dave (

  4. November 18, 2013    

    2015…?! Ack… that almost seems cruel to those of us who have found, love and want more of these great drams! I’m going to go make my FREE the whisky signs now!


  5. November 18, 2013    

    I hear you, finished the last drop of 10yr the other night! Proud times indeed for JSD, now lets get those special bottlings out!

  6. November 18, 2013    

    Couldn’t agree more! I love all the whiskies coming from JSD, and I’m very fortunate, privileged and thankful to have tried a few cask samples, and everything is brilliant.

    JSD (and/or owners Distell) please, please, please, give us more amazing, proudly SA whisky.

    P.S.: Great post Mark! 🙂

  7. darrell emslie darrell emslie
    November 19, 2013    

    This would be great. They need to get these whiskys out for us to sample

  8. Erik Burgess aka @TheWhiskyKiwi Erik Burgess aka @TheWhiskyKiwi
    November 19, 2013    

    JSD produces a quality product from what I tried to date, 5yo Blend, 10yo Single Malt & Bourbon Cask finish.

    I don’t care where it comes from if it tastes great

    Andy Watts also takes time out from making this precious spirit to interact on Twitter with his followers and those of Three Ships.

    I gave a sample of the 5yo Blend to the Chairman of Glasgow’s Whisky Club and he was very impressed.

    Keep up the great work and let’s spread the SA whisky love.

  9. whisky slut@waynewolmarans whisky slut@waynewolmarans
    November 20, 2013    

    C’mon Andy and JSD let the fans taste the labour of your love !

  10. Ian Ian
    November 20, 2013    

    I tried the Bain’s soon after it was released (a year or two ago?), and found that it tasted like a bourbon. I wasn’t a big fan. Is the latest one any different?

  11. December 7, 2013    

    Dear Santa

    I have been (quite) good this year. Please could you send me a James Sedgwick Distillery special bottling.

    Many thanks

  12. Gerhard C Gerhard C
    January 2, 2014    

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to go visit the JSD? Are they open to the public for the occasional visit?

    • Mark Mark
      January 3, 2014    

      Hi Gerhard, JSD isn’t open to the public. They’ve been talking about a visitor centre for a couple of years, but nothing has come of it yet. On the odd occasion if you get in touch with the folks at the distillery they may let you visit, depending on their schedule, etc but it’s not guaranteed.

      • Gerhard C Gerhard C
        January 3, 2014    

        Thank you Mark! Appreciate the info. From what I’ve seen in photos and such, the JSD looks quite beautiful. A visitors centre would be such a treat to South African whisky lovers. At least I get to enjoy the remaining half of my Three Ships 10yo bottle. 2015 is a long way off.

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