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Whisky and pinotage might be worlds apart, but the combination has excited international judges who have a taste for the Three Ships 15-Year-Old Pinotage Cask Finish.

It’s the world’s first whisky to be finished in casks previously used for the maturation of Pinotage, and has now been awarded gold at the 2017 World Whisky Masters held by the Spirits Business Magazine in the UK.

The whisky was deemed “soft and buttery with flavours of buttercream and dark fruits.” 

The 15-year-old whisky was at the time of its launch towards the end of 2016, the oldest whisky released by master distiller Andy Watts who has been at the helm of the fairly young South African whisky industry for the past 34 years.

A smooth taste 

The whisky is complex, rich and entirely unique, capturing the heritage of the country by finishing the blend in the proudly South African wine cultivar cloned in 1925 by Abraham Izak Perold.

It’s a blend of grain and malt, matured separately in American casks before being finished for different periods in eight casks previously used for Pinotage.

The wine casks imparted the typical Pinotage varietal character of red berry fruit and a slight earthiness to the whisky which softens the malt component and complements the sweetness of the grain. 

With a red berry tinge the whisky is light in style with prominent cherry, plum, tropical fruit and the typical Pinotage earthy notes on the nose. 

The palate is clean with hints of the banana and pineapple ending with a lingering warm finish.