Three Ships crafts ‘world’s first’ Pinotage-finished whisky

29th September, 2016 by Annie Hayes

Three Ships Whisky has launched the “world’s first” whisky finished in a cask used to mature Pinotage – a South African wine.

three-ships-pinotage

Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Cask Finish is said to be the oldest whisky launched in South Africa’s history

Crafted by master distiller Andy Watts, Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Cask Finish is also said to be the oldest whisky launched in South Africa’s history.

To create the whisky, the grain and malt components were matured separately in American casks, then finished for different periods in eight casks previously used for Pinotage.

The ageing process imparts red berry fruit and earthiness to the whisky, which is said to “soften the malt component” and “complement the sweetness of the grain”.

The expression is said to be “light in style”, with prominent cherry, plum, tropical fruit and earthy notes on the nose, hints of the banana and pineapple on the palate, and a “lingering warm finish”.

“Whisky finishes are nothing new, but never before has a Pinotage cask ever been used. The idea first came to me in the early 2000s but back then our industry was still very young and the world wasn’t quite ready to accept such innovation from South Africa,” said Watts.

“But I had never let go of my dream so some years later I had laid grain and malt whisky to rest in American casks for the purpose of finishing the blend in Pinotage casks. That was 15 years ago.

“Seems like half a lifetime has passed since then! This moment of being able to stand with the finished product in my hand is, in 25 years as a master distiller, truly the pinnacle of my career. I’m literally on cloud nine!”

Three Ships 15 Year Old Pinotage Cask Finish is the second release in the Master’s Collection series which is set to unveil a new limited edition bottling each year.

Only 3500 bottles of the 4000 bottles are available for purchase, retailing for R1 500 per bottle.

Consumers will have the chance to purchase one of the first 500 bottles on 5 October at www.themasterscollection.co.za.

The remaining bottles will be available from 8 October, World Pinotage Day, from selected retailers.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our newsletter