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.
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.