Tag Archives: Sherry Cask

Bowmore 10 Year Old Devil’s Casks II

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay Whisky
Distillery: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore
Age: 10 Years Old
Alcohol: 56.3%
Bottled: 2014
Initial Price: No Info
Current Status: Limited Availability with a few retailers in Europe at approximately GBP 200+

Review 

So as I mentioned in my previous review.. tonight was the night of the Devil’s.. I started with Arran and now time for this Bowmore.. which is a small batch release matured exclusively in first fill Sherry casks. That by the way is pretty evident from the lovely ruby color that this spirit possesses.

Nose: Bowmore often mentions maturing its finest whiskies in its legendary No. 1 vaults by the sea.. well if you ever wanted some help in imagining how that place would have felt.. this expression can give you nose… the smells of that peaty spirit maturing in those sherry casks.. along with rows of the other casks.. the dampness that comes from being right next to sea.. it all right there. After this brief introduction comes the first fill sherry influence… the cotton candy.. maple syrup.. black grapes.. basically a lot of sweetness.. and there’s a touch of perfection to it

Palate: The darkness of this expression slowly begins to reveal itself further as you move to the palate a lot more of those black grapes and sweet dark berries along with some mild notes of peat. This one has a very rich palate with each flavor coming out nice and strong. Initially the spice is more of clove and as the spirit oxidizes its more peppery spice that comes through. This is accompanied by some liquorice too.

Finish: A fairly long finish .. which leaves a mildly dry feeling in your mouth .. with some wood shaving and the final showing of the darkness with some sweet dry black raisins

Even at 56.3% there’s an exceptional smoothness to this both on the palate as well as on the finish.

On this particular night .. its this Devil from Islay that has got me smiling ‘devil’ishly at the end of it all!!

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Bruichladdich 7 Year Old Quadruple Distilled – Feis Ile 2014

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay Whisky
Distillery: Bruichladdich
Bottler: Bruichladdich
Age: 7 Years Old
Alcohol: 69.5%
Natural Cask Strength: Yes
Bottled: 2014
Initial Price: GBP 120+
Current Status: Scarcely available on auction sites at more than double the initial price

Review 

One of the reason why I am big fan of the Octomore series is the sheer brilliance of Master Distiller Jim McEwan to bring out a set of expressions where the ridiculously high peat levels in the young spirit get camouflaged by an array of excellent notes on the nose, palate and the finish. This time though Jim has gone ahead and added a completely new twist to the tale by taking the spirit through a unique quadruple distillation process and then maturing it for 7 years in an Oloroso cask to bring out, what is in my opinion, an Octomore that is completely unique in comparison to any of its predecessors.

You know it’s unique because the moment you bring it to your nose you are greeted by an uncharacteristic but extremely pleasant sweetness. It’s almost like you were taken to the warehouse where the whisky was matured and were made to stand right next to sherry cask in which the spirit lay and the lovely smells of sweet sherry and the wood from the cask fill the air. What then follows are lots of lemon and pear and more sweetness from candy. Given the fact that this an Octomore your nose does go looking for the peat and the iodine that do eventually make a guest appearance but you’ve really got to be patient to catch them. Adding a bit of water also brought out some coffee notes for me.

As soon as the whisky hits your tongue it’s the sweetness again that comes first.. more powdered sugar though. This is when finally the peat makes a full fledged appearance.. but then the dosage is absolutely spot on.. there is also a bit of dryness coupled with a fair sprinkling of peppery spice that begins to develop as you roll it in your mouth. I have to say though this is one extremely smooth and creamy spirit.. and its just lovely.

Finally the finish is fairly long … nice amounts of peat once again.. still not overdoing anything.. along with a smooth velvety finish possibly from the Oloroso.

At 69.5% ABV this is one whisky that has a lot of character, isn’t overpowering at all.. instead extremely smooth in its delivery and balance.

As I mentioned at the start this is a completely uncharacteristic Octomore.. and that for some could be the only downside there is to this expression given that they expect a certain flavor profile from this series.. For me though it just worked superbly and as usual I continue to be a fan of Jim and the Octomore..Slainte!

Glenfarclas 105

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Speyside
Distillery: Glenfarclas
Bottler: Glenfarclas
Age: 10 Year Old
Alcohol: 51.4%
Cask Strength: Yes
Bottled: 2013
Initial Price: GBP 45+
Current Status: Quite easily available with most whisky retailers globally

Review

I’ve both heard and read very nice things about this expression from Glenfarclas.. however for me this one was all about the Sherry …. that’s where it begun and that’s where it ended.. if you fancy that a lot then you probably love it as much. Can’t say that about myself though…

Nose: The beginning is like your nose was run over by a Sherry Train.. wow so much of it!! Along with it comes notes of dark chocolate.. bold spices…pears…possibly some wood and vanilla in there too..

Palate: The palate’s like a continuation of the sherry dominance.. although not as dry as you’d expect it to be.. there’s the characteristic sweetness .. with a lot of black pepper and cinnamon spices.. there was also some nutty notes in the mix

Finish: This was a Sherry story so every aspect of this expression had profound influence from the cask.. the finish too was drying .. fairly long.. and spicy too.. some where in there were also hints of mild smoke in the background

To be honest.. its a decent dram but.. definitely didn’t get me going wow about it. However given all the awards that this has won.. I’m very tempted to have to give it another shot.. and this time with some watering down to probably get some of that magic that I missed this time around..

Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Islay Whisky
Distillery: Bowmore
Bottler: Bowmore
Age: 15 Years Old
Alcohol: 43%
Natural Cask Strength: No
Bottled: 2014
Initial Price: GBP 50+
Current Status: Fairly available with most whisky retailers globally

Review

Bowmore’s a distillery with a great legacy but over the past few years they have been subject to quite a bit of criticism for a few below par releases. I have visited this distillery and I really love the place and that makes me a bit biased towards everything that they bring out and this is one of those expressions that keeps my faith going strong in this lovely distillery.

Nose:

Lovely heavy sherry notes characteristic of the Oloroso casks that have been used to mature this spirit for 15 years followed by some dry black raisins with vanilla and some nice woody tones that comes along.

A bit of oxidizing bring out some lovely dry flowers aromas with some green apples and mild citrus notes as well

Palate:

There’s some nice salty caramel notes as well some sweet toffee notes coming out together. Seems like the proximity of the distillery’s warehouse to the sea is adding the saltiness to the caramel notes. There are also hints of peat and smoke which is always good if your an Islay whisky fan. Noticeably this whisky is nice and syrupy on the palate which is pleasing too.

Finish:

I’d say the finish a medium one not too dry once again.. Some woody notes, a bit of peat.. mildly sweet and spicy flavors are that you get before its gone!

At approximately GBP 50.. I’d say this is a really nicely priced weekend dram.. 🙂

Brora 18 Year Old (1981/200) – Signatory

Type: Scotch Single Malt Whisky
Region: Highland Whisky
Distillery: Brora
Bottler: Signatory
Age: 18 Years Old
Alcohol: 43%
Single Cask: Yes (Sherry)
Natural Cask Strength: No
Bottled: 2000
Initial Price: No Info
Current Status: Scarcely available on auction sites

Review

A distillery that has been shut for over 30 years now.. and yet has people willing to pay crazy sums of money to get their hands on just about any bottle that is floating around in the market… definitely one of the signs of a legendary whisky brand…. well that’s what I thought.. so I decided to find out for myself..

Given the fact that getting your hands on almost any expression from this distillery would set you back by a few hundred pounds to say the least was a major factor in not having a dram of this whisky earlier. But to finally manage to get a hold of a miniature from Signatory was enough to get me all excited and curious.. and trust me when I say this …it was worth every bit of hype that surrounds this name.. ‘Brora’!! This is going to be one long review but that is the least I could say to express my appreciation for a dram from this gem of a distillery that has been lost to time.

Here’s a spirit that was distilled more than 30 years ago, left to mature for 18 years in a Sherry Cask and then bottled in a tiny 5cl bottle following which its been sitting in there for another 15 years..Just imagine how much this whisky would have to talk about after being silently cooped up for such a long time..

Nose: Your nose is instantly greeted with a lovely sweet aroma mixed with some really delicately spice notes.. ripe juicy orange and some faint but unmistakable peat notes. As it breathes and opens up further a second layer of fresh wood shavings, grass and sweetness coming from a fresh honey comb come straight at you all the while gently caressing your nose… Leave it a bit longer and you can get some light vanilla notes and some distinct caramel toffee in there as well.

What makes this expression so fantastic is the multiple layers of aromas that keeps coming out the longer you kept it..and each layer is absolutely perfect! Leaving it for another hour.. and nosing it gave you the impression of being in a supermarket which a lot of grains.. detergents ..toothpaste and some perfumes all stacked next to each other.

Maybe I’d go on to say on the basis of its complexity and near perfect balance I’d rate this as one of the best nose’s I’ve come across till date..

Palate: With a nose like that you are bound to expect the moon and the stars on the palate so with great anticipation I had the first sip.. sadly the tip of my tongue was greeted with a sugary sweet taste.. which wasn’t too pleasantly smooth enough to be honest.. there were some spices in there as well but that was nicely tucked in with only their heads popping out to give you the right doses of flavor.. and some mild peat and smokey notes as well.

The second sip after a short while.. was almost like the whisky had sensed my disappointment and decided to make it up with a power packed performance.. a much more mellow, smooth sweetness like honey flowing down on your tongue.. followed by the perfect spice notes and a dash of citrus in the mix was what was in store taking the overall score for the palate up by quite a few notches.

The final sip after an hour had a lot more lemony citrus notes, grass and some dry chalk all of which were pretty evenly balanced out..

Finish:

With a super duper nose and way above average palate.. the finish had to be perfect for this one to be a hit and yes it did deliver.. once again over two sips.. the first sip having a slightly shorter finish with some wood and vanilla notes and the second bringing out a lot more of the wood and the vanilla with a tiny bit of spices and this staying back a lot longer before finally bidding adieu!!

Balance wise.. this one would have a perfect score.. each note came out in just the right doses and was in complete harmony.. Alas this probably the first and last time I ever taste this silent beauty…