Whiskybase

Three Ships 12-year-old

Overall rating
83.29/100
votes
142
Whiskybase ID
WB169152
Category
Single Malt
Distillery
Bottler
Distillery Bottling
Bottling serie
Master Distiller’s Private Collection
Vintage
2007
Bottled
2020
Stated Age
12 years old
Casktype
American oak casks
Strength
46.3 % Vol.
Size
700 ml
Barcode
6001108101914
Added on
04 nov 2020 8:57 pm by Coldorak
UncoloredNon-chillfiltered

Average value

€ 50.17

26 × in wishlist

142 × member ratings

271 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Three Ships 12-year-old

34 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 83.29 points

  1. MaltMusings scored this whisky 90 points Expert Senior

    This is the first release in the Master Distiller's Private Collection - the first official release exported from South Africa to Europe.

    Distilled from 30ppm barley (Scottish sourced peated barley) in 2007, coming off the stills at around 68% ABV. Andy selected a combination of older and younger small American oak casks to mature the whisky in, 90% refill and 10% first fill. South Africa's climate ensured that the whisky was still around 65% after 12 years. It was then bottled as a 12yo at Distell's 'standard ABV' of 46.3% unchillfiltered at natural colour.
    https://malt-musings.blogspot.com/2020/11/three-ships-first-uk-release.html
    • Nose
      Peat smoke dominates the nose, as soon as you pour the dram into the glass you can smell it. There's some cereal and nut notes (flapjack?) along with a slight salinity - again a hint ad Islay. A little time in the glass and some air reveals orchard fruit and berry notes.
    • Taste
      Smooth sweet arrival, honey or maple syrup which is immediately overtaken by the peat smoke, this time heathery - maybe similar to an Ardmore? Orchard fruit again comes to the fore, there's some herbal notes and a little dried fruit. Holding the liquid on the tongue gives some citrus zing then as the liquid disappears the smoke comes back, very drying - yummy!
    • Finish
      Long lingering smoke, a little orchard fruit and honey.

  2. redlightsflash89 scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    My first South African whisky. I love the country and I have great friends there, sent them a picture and the feedback was, you got a good one here. The bottle was sub 50€ so let’s see if this can excite me. I wish this was in cask strength but the price to performance ratio is absolutely amazing. I’d buy another bottle if I’d ever buy 2 bottles from the same bottling (I don’t)
    • Nose
      86 86
      starts with a lot of oak and spices (Oregano?) but also pepper and salt. Basically crisps, to be honest, followed by vanilla, honey and a lovely integrated smoke that is far in the background. I also get a weird perphume note in the further background but not disturbingly. The nose is very fun and super unusual because I never had such a spiced up nose before. Smells like I’m standing in the middle of a kitchen :D :D :D
    • Taste
      87 87
      Starts out very sweet again with vanilla and honey and sugar cubes this is then followed again by this weird spice combination, salt, pepper, potatoes first cooked, then raw, and a lovely oak sweetness and spicyness with a subtle but completely unusual peat note in the back. I also get burnt toast with peanut butter. But the sweet note won’t go away and it fits this perfectly. This is very good and interesting and like nothing I ever tasted before.
    • Finish
      87 87
      It confirms what the nose and taste give away, quite sweet and a lot of different spices, I get a very strong pear sweetness actually but it is always followed by salt pepper and Italian spices. I can’t wrap my head around this again with this fun sweet peat note and then it goes back again to these spices. I’m thinking of Italian and French seasoning, this is sooo cool I really like it.

  3. peatbogger scored this whisky 85 points Specialist

    12YO, and they even have a 15YO out, which means this distillery must have had a decision maker with a pretty good foresight. The result is also pretty good.
    • Nose
      83 83
      I would not call this typically peated. If there is any, I'm not able to define the type. It also have a quite oily note, and maybe this combined with the peat is what remind me of cod liver oil. Despite it's health benefits I'm not a huge fan of that, but fortunately there's quite a lot more going on in the glass.
      Good wood, nuts, some sour fruit.
      Also what I would call a "Springbanky" farm note.
    • Taste
      87 87
      Arrives with a sweet spice mix, very tasty.
      Evolves nicely into fruit and wood flavours.
      Quite complex, unusual but very good.
    • Finish
      86 86
      The finish is about medium long, starts off with a little herbal bitterness but ends on a sweet confectionery marsipan with dark chocolate cover.

  4. Slàinte Mhath scored this whisky 86 points Super Administrator

    Africa's only commercial whisky distillery has an interesting history, reaching back to James Sedgwick who started his business in 1850. Matured in American oak, the nose of Three Ships 12 is both expressive and complex. Yellow fruits, mixed spices and barley sugar are complemented by sour berries, heather and subtle peatiness. The sweet arrival is swiftly overtaken by aromatic flavors, unripe peach and quality oak, balanced by waves of peat smoke. Pepper, nutmeg and vanilla mark the dry and herbal finish. I am really impressed with this malt!

    RATING: 3.9/5.0 stars ≙ 86 pts → FIRST-CLASS [-]
    • Nose
      86 86
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      84 84

  5. Tom na Gruagaich scored this whisky 85 points Connoisseur

    First impression: tasty, but also a little demanding, the herbaceous note and also the spicy bitterness make the malt difficult to access, so I'm looking forward to further discoveries. But you can also say that this is definitely not exotic when it comes to the flavors. A lovely smoker who is unmistakably a single malt.
    • Nose
      Present, but quite gentle peat smoke, a bit musty, the wood is a bit dusty, the peat brings a certain flavor, something herbaceous, slightly thyme, becomes a little clearer, less dusty, sweetish, subtly fruity, but more over time on peat and fresh wood.
    • Taste
      tart start, but very gentle, the herbal notes dominate here with a more powerful tart note, the peat smoke is then immediately there and quite present.
    • Finish
      bitter, herbal influences, peat smoke, a bit musty bitterness, little fruit, but then towards the end a little vanilla and slightly sooty smoke.

  6. LukasJakubDrabek did not rate this whisky Shoplink Moderator

    Ralfy review 863: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y14Dx3dXv1w (87/100).

    "There's a better quality of cask been used here and it shows."

  7. Toffie76 scored this whisky 80 points Expert Senior

    Read some good things about that distillery , so I wanted to give it a try when I saw it on the e-shop of this very same website :)

    In short, not my thing. I found it unsettled and weird in many ways. Way out my comfort zone.

  8. L_Gillian scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      85 85

  9. markjedi1 scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur

    Moenie worrie nie

    Three Ships is a South-African whisky from the Distell group. That explains the ABV, for they bottle Deanton, Bunnahabhain and Tobermory/Ledaig also at this strength, which makes chillfiltration superfluous. Next to this single malt, they also have Bain’s Cape Mountain Grain whisky. But this Three Ships is a single malt and the 12 years old is currently the flagship (see what I did there?) release.

    Fresh, fruity and a bit candy-like nose with a lovely smoky edge. Yes, it contains peated malt, sourced in Scotland (30ppm). A hint of orange peel and even a light scent of stables. Then lots of orchard fruit and all kinds of berries. Very pleasant.

    Wood dominates on the palate, but it certainly does not become oaky. Honey, vanilla and maple syrup, followed immediately by the peat smoke that is much more outspoken than on the nose. It gives this South-African single malt both weight and width, if you know what I mean. Some green and eathy notes follow – quite nice, actually – as do some dried apricots. A wonderful and rather unexpected salty note appears, but is soon swamped by a fresh touch of lemon zest. Good balance.

    The finish is surprisingly long, smoky and sweet on honey and apples.

    Moenie worrie nie (‘don’t worry, be happy!’ in the local language). Not all good whisky is made in Scotland. Case in point. Around 55 EUR and worth every cent.

  10. Issie did not rate this whisky Connoisseur

    • Nose
      Immediately after pouring medium-thick smoke, slightly rubbery, the smoke reminds me more of wood smoke, honey, caramel, a little vanilla, with a little time and hand warmth the somewhat unpleasant smoke notes go back, the vanilla somehow goes in the same direction as I did from EX -Bourbon bottlings from Paul John know, I didn't notice that when I tried it for the first time, there is also a very slight fruity note of some yellow fruit
    • Taste
      Honey, caramel, vanilla, melon, gooseberry, some wood, some pepper, some smoke out the back

  11. karloff scored this whisky 78 points Specialist

    This was a sample courtesy of Peatbogger and I thank him again for my first South African whisky. Others seem to like it better than me. Am I having a night off? I don't find anything special about it so I won't be seeking it out.
    • Nose
      80 80
      This is on the edge of being very medicinal which is not my thing at all in a Peated whisky.
      Something drags it back and it's the fruit notes and the brine.
      Also smell eucalyptus leaf. I should rub some on my chest before I go to bed.
    • Taste
      78 78
      Those fruit notes that were fighting their way through on the nose are more prominent on the taste.
      That said it is not mixing well with the peat, the balance isn't there for me.
      It's also a bit chalky and dry.
    • Finish
      75 75
      The finish is a bit short and uneventful and a bit ashy on the death.

  12. Monte Gehro scored this whisky 85 points Expert Senior

    Notes from a blind tasting.

    At this price (€ 45 to € 50, June 2021) a real alternative to the other standard bottlings. A positive surprise of the evening.
    • Nose
      84 84
      Needs time to ventilate; Initially also alcoholic, very light peat, slightly sour fruits, herbs.
    • Taste
      85 85
      Very soft and mild start, oily, then spice, light heather, sweetness like forest honey, the peat is barely noticeable.
      Medium-length, pleasant finish.
    • Finish
      85 85

  13. dRambo scored this whisky 87 points Connoisseur

    At first the nose was a bit stinky when heated, evaporates in a short time, a warm, sweet, enticing peat nose remains - good PLV
    • Nose
      88 88
      sweet, warm smoke, light fruit, syrup
    • Taste
      86 86
      Resin, herbs, peat, gooseberry
    • Finish
      86 86

  14. hafssol scored this whisky 76 points Expert Junior

    The long way from Scotland to South Africa travelled by the slightly peated barley distilled for this whisky is quite clear in its tasting profile and especially in the nose. The palate is more fruity instead, with a touch of spice fading in a woody and more balanced finish.

    The overall experience is interesting, displaying a nice complexity but lacking remarkable peaks.

  15. MarcinCh scored this whisky 82 points Expert Senior

    Straw color. Oiliness.
    • Nose
      83 83
      Smoke. Peat. Rather sweet. At first it looks a bit like Highland peat, but then it changes. A bit of sea influence. Seaweed. Soot. Salty caramel. Maybe a little spice. Salt.
    • Taste
      83 83
      It's not too oily. Salt. Smoke. Soot. A pinch of spices. Salty caramel. Sea. White pepper.
    • Finish
      81 81
      Peat. Smoke. Soot. Sea. Seaweed. Salt. A pinch of spices. Delicate spice. White pepper. Medium-long finish.

  16. Mortar1703 scored this whisky 87 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      87 87
    • Taste
      88 88
    • Finish
      86 86

  17. Gareth74 scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    Spicy ginger pencil shavings. Take note.

    There’s something quite exciting about world whisky. It seems everyone is at it and, along with some really interesting packaging designed to appeal to a home crowd, the flavours of the whisky are equally tailored to palates that have grown up being exposed to different flavours. It would appear that South African whisky is no different in having a particular and noticeably different take on what whisky can takes like. This is from 3 Ships, a Distel (now Heineken) stablemate to Deanston and Bunnahabhain and the other’s I can never remember. This is their home boy (till they went Dutch). And like the other malts in the portfolio, it is remarkably different to its brethren and all the better for it. This is its own man. It’s not about fitting in. It’s about standing out (in a good way).

    For lack of putting a ship in a bottle, it’s instead, time to put 3 up my nose. Drumroll please.

    Mmmmmm. Nice. It smells like it’s come from somewhere hot. Like with Kavalan and Paul John , there something about the nose that says hot weather, it’s dense and concentrated and spicy with a little peat. There’s a lot of light fruit syrop though too. And ginger prickles and bourbon wood sourness that I get from Deanston (which I love). But it’s hotter and drier? It’s really quite sweet initially with hot dusty custard, too. Salty. Peat. Some old wine gums. Spicy apple crumble comes to mind, a little banana in there? It’s not overly complicated but it feels very active. Like it wants to climb out of the glass and get things going. I like it. Spritely. Feels younger in the nose that the 12 years would suggest.

    In the mouth and the arrival is sweeeeeeet and quite light and thin with a light peat smoke but it attacks the tongue and as the sweetness envelopes the prickly ginger erupts with lovely lemon posset and a solid oatiness and digestive biscuits and it’s then underpinned with some lovely oaky, woodiness and pencil shavings. Not drying or austere but woody and solid and unmissable. It spicy wood, tasty and toasty. Some creaminess slides in and out but really this is all about sweetness and wood and a good malty base. The big take away is the wood spice.

    And then it’s over. Eh? Wow. No idea how some reviews get a long finish of this. Pretty short. Just like that, the heat bundles onto the three ships and buggers off leaving a flag planted in your tongue saying ‘we woz ere’. There’s whisper of ginger and smoke and wood and a little caramel and the pencil shavings, but it passes so quickly. It’s weird. The finish is just clean and really makes you want another sip to got through the sweet ginger woody prickle as soon as possible.

    It’s a pity. If only the finish was more, well, more. If it was it would be grand. It feels like there’s the last page of a story missing here. One where they get into their ships and sail off into the sunset for more adventures. Maybe one day they’ll write that missing page. It’s still early days.

  18. Whisky Hamster scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    Enjoyable malt from the black continent. Does not need pseudo-sympathy, can hold its own among "substantial single malts" like Scotch. Price is fair as well. Recommended!

  19. whisky_whims scored this whisky 79 points Member Junior

    Three ships 12 year old is a South African whisky that is bottled at 46.3% ABV, has no added colouring and is without chill filtration. It ticks all the right boxes for me. It is also only £45 which makes it extremely affordable for an imported malt. Will it taste any good or will it be forever in the shadow of Scotch?

    Nose:

    Initially there is soft peat smoke at the front of this nose with a cod liver oil capsule smell as well, which is quite pleasant. It is herbaceous and spicy which quite reminds me of a lightly peated islay or peated Highland, think of Bunna or Ardmore. A lovely camphor smell which I am almost certain comes from the cask selection. A slight synthetic note that is familiar with grain or bourbon but it fits perfectly into this whisky. A coal burning fire, some oregano herbs and then a real sweetness in the shape of orchard fruits. Mint is the last thing I can smell on this whisky.

    Palate:

    Soft in the palate but really oily. There is papaya with distinctive woody notes. More herbal elements coming through from the nose. A rather weird taste that might not sound right but here goes: peat burnt toast. Imagine a peat oven or toaster that has been used to toast some bread, that is all I can relate it to. A real savoury taste draws your cheeks in a little, pistachio nuts. Some crunch now in the form of honey flapjack. Encroaching on the finish there is a mineral and mint taste.

    Finish:

    Medium in length with a lingering peat note. More orchard fruits that were observed in the nose. Some sort of seasoning/spice mix that reminds me of a European dish. A little vanilla to finish.

    Conclusion:

    For £45 this dram is absolutely fantastic. Well presented, affordable, tasty and quite complex. So I definitely think this dram is worth it! I wouldn't buy it again as there is too much to explore with regards to other world whisky and Scotch in general however I would buy something from Three Ships again because this impressed me. This is a great dram and I would urge you to consider trying it as you don't want to miss out. Yes, initially when I first opened it I thought it was overly savoury but given time it really proves itself. WHISKY WIN

    YouTube Review:

    For the full review check here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUNZyOfyQE&t=201s&ab_channel=WhiskyWhims

    My Scoring Process:

    My process is simple. I rate it on three factors: Is it worth it, would I buy it again and would I recommend it? I will the determine if the whisky is a whisky win or a whisky bin. A whisky can have 2/3 of these factors and still be a whisky win. Usually, anything lower than 2/3 is a whisky bin.

  20. magic_slim scored this whisky 86 points Connoisseur

    Peated and therefore an untypical Three Ships.
    I would have loved to taste this one in cask strength.
    • Nose
      86 86
      Peaty, medicinal and farmy with camphor and brine.
      Besides this Islay Whisky profile there is a little bit vanilla, herbs and white wine.
      Smooth, fresh and very well balanced.
    • Taste
      87 87
      Peaty, medicinal, lemony and spicy. Pepper, bread and salt with vanilla and pineapple in the background.
      Clean and smooth.
      Very tasty.
    • Finish
      85 85
      Medium long
      Peaty and medicinal.

  21. holborndrinker scored this whisky 81 points Connoisseur

    A solid dram - sent a decent dram by Summerton as part of Whisky Pioneer's range. I would probably buy a full bottle on the back of this sample and be tempted to try more samples from Whisky Pioneer.
    • Nose
      80 80
      A hint of peat on the nose, delicate meat.
    • Taste
      82 82
      A firm mouth feel, the peat is present but isn't overpowering, cereals, nice balance to the dram.
    • Finish
      82 82
      The peat lingers pleasantly.

  22. craide scored this whisky 84 points Expert Senior

    Very nice malt with an amazingly good PLV. Only the bitter moments are a bit too much for me and disturb the quite acceptable overall impression.
    • Nose
      86 86
      At first light smoke, but not really much. somewhat rubbery, musty, cowshed flair, with a little time grapes, apples, green bananas push forward. There is also some organic muesli and malt, hay, and oat biscuits. Dusty, with a light vanilla-citrus freshness.
    • Taste
      84 84
      Soft, creamy start. Here, too, a not too intrusive note of peat smoke. Maybe also imagination due to the smoke in the nose. Honey-sweet and caramelized popcorn then cushion it a little and become clearer. Fruits and herbs are added. Vanilla, butter biscuits and bread dough are added from the background. The wood aromas have too many bitter moments for me here.
    • Finish
      83 83
      Medium-long finish, slightly smoky, more bitterness, sticky, musty, bland, discreetly you can guess fruit.

  23. Beatroute Malt scored this whisky 72 points Expert Junior

    Sour, short, immature, non-whisky.

  24. Dionysus scored this whisky 85 points Expert Senior

    • Nose
      83 83
    • Taste
      87 87
    • Finish
      84 84

  25. Totoro scored this whisky 79 points Connoisseur

    The American-oak casks may have been well-selected, but I'm not sure I like the spirit itself all that much.
    • Nose
      79 79
      Green grape, honey, and a dry / herbal smokiness that reminds me of camphor and eucalyptus. A bit wacky, though I can't quite put my finger on why that is. Pretty sure I wouldn't mistake it for a Scotch in a blind lineup, though.
    • Taste
      83 83
      Good body. Fairly oily, with a herbal-honey theme. The peatiness seems more harmonious here than on the nose. Reserved fruitiness (apricot?).
    • Finish
      76 76
      Turns bitter swiftly, with some barley sweetness as a counterpoint. The wackiness from the nose returns in the aftertaste, which is really not my cup of tea.

  26. neus007 scored this whisky 84 points Expert Junior

    • Nose
      85 85
    • Taste
      85 85
    • Finish
      83 83

  27. neus007 scored this whisky 84 points Expert Junior

    • Nose
      85 85
    • Taste
      85 85
    • Finish
      83 83

  28. Don Cassi scored this whisky 70 points Expert Senior

    The nose starts off medium-smoky (a bit smelly) with a chemical note that reminds me of laundry. Behind it a little overripe mirabelle plum and cereal notes.

    At first very soft and oily in the mouth, then becoming more and more peppery.

    In the finish a melange of light smoke, wholegrain and oak notes.
    Length: 4/10

    Very tangy, tangy malt from the black continent. Due to the lack of fruit notes, it doesn't quite fit into my prey scheme, but overall it is well made.

    Grade: 2-

  29. Sander79 scored this whisky 85 points Expert Junior

    • Nose
      86 86
    • Taste
      86 86
    • Finish
      83 83

  30. Martin1965 scored this whisky 89 points Expert Senior

  31. alex..w..fan scored this whisky 83 points Connoisseur

    21 21 20 21 83

    Not bad, interesting, and you can drink quite well), good luck!

  32. Feorag86 scored this whisky 87 points Expert Junior

    • Nose
      86 86
      Bananas, lavender, pineapple, mango, hazelnuts and smoked ham
    • Taste
      89 89
      Smoked slamon, papaya, wood, red pepper and paprika
    • Finish
      87 87
      Raw chocolate, vanilla beans, tamarind and passion fruit

  33. Jonathan13 scored this whisky 84 points Member Senior

    Surprisingly good ! Citrus on the nose, lightly peated, good color. Lemon tasting, honey and orange notes. Good finish.

  34. vriesdich scored this whisky 88 points Expert Junior

    Nose opens with wet leaves, earth tones, gentle peat and smoke, barley and pecan nuts.
    Fruitcake, peach/apricot, white pepper on the palate. Oily texture (this whisky is unchillfiltered:kudos).
    Warm and dry finish. A genuine winter dram.

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