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…

Craigellachie (13 year)

This official bottling (one of three from the distillery including a 17-year and a 23-year, all new in 2014 after Bacardi assumed ownership) comes from a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, and is bottled at 46% ABV without added coloring and without chill filtration. … Upon further reading, I wonder if the famous sulphur note that everyone says is a hallmark of Craigellachie might be hitting my jaded senses as banana. That will require more investigation.

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.

Tamnavulin Double Cask

… It seems like the Double Cask refers to a maturation in American oak ex-bourbon and then a partial finish in ex-sherry casks. There is no age statement, and the whisky is bottled at the bare minimum of 40% ABV, with no mention of the use of color or chill filtration. This is all bad news on paper, so let’s see what happens in the glass.

Aberlour (12 year)

This Aberlour is aged in two separate cask types: “Traditional Oak” which is a funny way of saying ex-bourbon American Oak casks, and ex-Sherry casks. These are aged for 12 years and then married together in undisclosed proportions before bottling at the legal minimum 40% ABV. Interestingly, all of Aberlour’s official lineup is now labelled as a “Double Cask” whisky with the exception of a’bunadh. This may be their way of dealing with the expanding crisis of…

Boutique-y Whisky: Speyside #3 (8 year) Batch 1

An undisclosed Speyside distillery referred to only as “Speyside #3”, this is an 8 year-old Speyside single malt bottled at 50.7% ABV. A fellow Twitterer… Tweeter?… suggested that it might be ex-bourbon Glenrothes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nothing will teach you how little you really know about whisky than tasting blind or semi-blind. In hindsight it almost definitely is…