The Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve

The Glenrothes Sherry Cask Reserve was a way for The Glenrothes to showcase its house malt with a background of sherry aging. As part of the “Vintage Collection” released in 2015 it was also a way to dump together unused vintage-dated stocks and get away with classic NAS pricing (that is, more money for younger – on average – whisky). I suppose I can’t be too hard on that decision now that they’ve abandoned it in favor of age-stated bottles.

Bruichladdich Octomore 12.3

Sherry aging is uncommon at Bruichladdich unlike other distilleries, and it was refreshing for me to hear the reason out loud from head distiller Adam Hannett on our group call for the Octomore Twelve campaign. He said that Bruichladdich decided to discontinue sherry aging years ago when they found they couldn’t get any true sherry casks from the open market. Everything they received was sherry “seasoned” (meaning some sherry-like liquid was…

GlenDronach Port Wood

The port wine in question is a finish, but unusually the whisky is first aged in GlenDronach’s typical combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry casks. That makes this bottling kind of a “Double Fruit”, if you will. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, without chill filtration or added color, which is standard practice for GlenDronach, and always a laudable choice.

Broken Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon

So here we are, today, once again taking a look at a well-marketed bourbon without the faintest clue to where the liquid is actually distilled. At least Infuse Spirits, makers of the Broken Barrel brand as well as a slew of – hah – infused spirits, is trying to do something innovative. They are doing something similar to what John Glaser of Compass Box wanted to do with the original Spice Tree…

GlenAllachie (12 year)

Official information is a little scarce, but it seems like the 12 year is aged in a combination of virgin oak, PX sherry casks, and oloroso sherry casks. I can’t tell if those are full-term sherry or if they are finishes, or what kind of virgin oak that is (American? European? Was a swallow involved?) or if there was ex-bourbon in the mix that they aren’t…

Mortlach (15 year) – Game of Thrones “Six Kingdoms”

This Game of Thrones “Six Kingdoms” edition is Mortlach single malt that has been aged for 15 years in sherry casks and then ex-bourbon barrels. Oddly, the label and tin say it was “Finished in ex-bourbon casks” which is a silly way to convey that the whisky started in first-fill sherry (seasoned) casks and then was finished in ex-bourbon. You’d think they’d focus on the sherry. In fact, before I looked it up online I thought…

The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut

The Glenrothes Whisky Maker’s Cut is an NAS (no age statement) release that was matured only in first-fill sherry seasoned oak. Now that’s interesting. It may be the first time I’ve seen a bottle label explicitly spell out the pervasive industry practice of seasoning barrels with sherry and calling them “sherry casks”, since real sherry cask are essentially extinct. After aging for an undisclosed period of time, the whisky is bottled without added color and at a strength chosen by Glenrothes Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion: 48.8%. He chose that strength because…

Tamdhu (12 year)

Aged exclusively in sherry casks for the full 12 years of maturation for that pure sherry bomb goodness, Tamdhu uses both first fill and refill American and European Oloroso sherry casks. I’ve discussed sherry aging on this blog before, and the topic is (as ever) murky. It’s probably safe to assume that the company is using whatever “real” sherry barrels (those would be the European oak casks) it can get its hands on, while supplementing their supply with American oak (ex-bourbon) that has been “seasoned” with sherry.

Old Pulteney Navigator

It’s definitely maritime in that it smells like something slathered on a hull to make it seaworthy. I kid. Sort of. There is an intrusion of peat but absolutely no smoke, which makes it smell and taste earthy but without evoking Islay’s style of smoky peat. The overall effect is brooding and difficult, and that so-called partial sherry cask aging is thoroughly in the background…