Showing posts with label sherry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sherry. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11 Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review & Tasting Notes

One of my favorite Highland Scotch distilleries is The GlenDronach. The distillery exploits fine sherry casks to age its newmake and create something normally above-par. Located in Aberdeenshire, it was founded in 1826 by James Allardice; its name comes from the Gaelic Glen (meaning valley) and Dronach (meaning brambles or blackberries) from the Dronach Burn, which is the river that provides the distillery its water. Together, The GlenDronach means the valley of the blackberries.


Things were great for nine years until the distillery was destroyed by fire in 1837. Not interested in giving up, Allardice quickly rebuilt it. Allardice went bankrupt in 1842 and had to divest himself of his assets, including The GlenDronach. In 1852, Walter Scott, the former distillery manager of Teaninich, became the owner until 1877. Over the next 40-some-odd years, it changed hands several times and was eventually acquired by Captain Charles Grant in 1920. His family maintained ownership until 1960 when William Teachers & Sons purchased the distillery. At that point, The GlenDronach went through a refitting that included adding two stills.


In 1976, Teachers was purchased by Allied Distillers, and the deal included The GlenDronach. The distillery was shuttered in 1996. Six years later, Allied revived it, and in 2005, Pernod Ricard purchased Allied, but it wasn’t interested in keeping The GlenDronach. In 2008, BenRiach Distillery Co., Ltd., led by Billy Walker, purchased it and honed in on aging whisky in ex-sherry casks instead of former Bourbon barrels. Things went well and caught the attention of Brown-Forman, who bought it, along with BenRiach and Glenglassaugh. Dr. Rachel Barrie was brought in as the Master Blender of all three distilleries, while Billy Walker went to The GlenAllachie.


One of the most recent decisions made by The GlenDronach was to introduce chill filtration to its whiskies. This change was controversial among fans of the brand. I simply care about how the whisky tastes, and, as I stated earlier, this is one of my favorite Highland distilleries.


Today I’m exploring The GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 11 single malt Scotch. While it carries no age statement, it is bottled at 59.8% ABV (119.6°). It is naturally colored, and as it is cask strength, it was not chill-filtered. It is priced at $100.00 and widely available across the United States.


This eleventh batch of The GlenDronach Cask Strength embodies The GlenDronach‘s celebrated style of Spanish Oak maturation in fine Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks from Andalucía. Add a drop or two of water to this latest expression to reveal a cornucopia of flavor - from richly spiced bramble wine and treacle toffee, to lingering Seville orange peel and nutmeg layered with caramel and maraschino cherry.” – Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender


Before I get to the #DrinkCurious part, I’m grateful to The GlenDronach for sending me a sample of this whisky in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s get to it.


Appearance: I sipped this whisky neat in my Glencairn glass. The reddish-brown liquid produced a thick rim that stuck like glue. Tiny droplets formed that seemed less than excited to go anywhere.


Nose: I brought the glass to my face and smiled as aromas of honeycomb, plum, cherry, orange peel, vanilla, and almond wafted out the neck. I opened my mouth and inhaled the vapor, producing a dried cranberry taste.


Palate: The texture was syrupy. A combination of orange and dried cranberry met the front of my palate. More fruit, this time dried cherry, blackberry, and raisin, created the middle. The back offered dark chocolate, English toffee, and dry leather.


Finish: Long and warming, the finish included dry leather, dark chocolate, dried cherry, raisin, and wood tannin.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Earlier, Dr. Barrie suggested adding a drop or two of water. I’m pretty Type-A about adding water, and I used an eyedropper to add two (and only two) drops of distilled water.


The smell of caramel exploded from the glass, followed by almond and milk chocolate. In other words, it smelled like a Milky Way candy bar. The texture thinned from syrupy to creamy. My palate found maraschino cherries, strawberries, macadamia nuts, nutmeg, and cocoa powder. The tannins were magnified. It was tasty, but I did prefer this whisky neat.


Cask Strength Batch 11 drank slightly higher than its stated proof. My head spun a bit, albeit I was so enamored by the flavors that I wasn’t shy about sipping. You’ll not even remember it lacks an age statement. You’ll just be happy you purchased a Bottle. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Monday, October 24, 2022

Sagamore Spirit Rye Collection Reviews and Tasting Notes

Maryland used to be a big deal in American distilling. Back in the day, before Indiana became the powerhouse of American Rye, there were Pennsylvania-style or Maryland-style ryes. The Pennsylvania version was spicier; Maryland was more mellow due to its higher corn content. 


"[I]n 1910 there were 44 distilleries operating in Maryland, 21 of which were in downtown Baltimore. It also led them to the discovery that prior to Prohibition Maryland was the third leading distiller of whiskey in the U.S. behind Kentucky and Pennsylvania, and at one point led the nation in rye whiskey production." -


Founded in 2013, Sagamore Spirit was the brainchild of Kevin Plank, the then-CEO of Under Armor, and Bill McDermott.  They enlisted MGP’s former Master Distiller, Larry Ebersold, to create a recipe of two rye mashbills he envisioned. As it turned out, those consisted of a familiar 95% rye/5% malted barley mash and a 52% rye, 43% corn, and 5% malted barley mash.  


Sagamore Spirit’s distilling team consisted of Max Hame and Christopher Schultz, working with Ryan Norwood, its director of quality. 


One of Sagamore Spirit’s goals is to bring back a resurgence of Maryland-style rye whiskey. A second part of the plan was to create a grain-to-glass distillery by building partnerships with local farmers and purchasing as much Maryland-grown rye as possible. It has been producing its distillate in a 20,000-square-foot facility and blending 20% of that with 80% sourced MGP rye.


Sagamore Spirit maintains a 120° entry proof; subsequent proofing is deliberate with everything it makes. It has been sourcing barrels made of Maryland-grown oak from Independent Stave Company (ISC).


Recently, I was invited by Whiskey Mavens to take part in a tasting with Ryan Norwood and Illinois Marketing Manager Jessica Deans. We tasted five whiskeys: The Signature, Double Oak, Cask Strength, Rum Cask Finish, and Sherry Cask Finish. I’ve taken that opportunity to review each one. All five begin with the Signature as its base whiskey, and I’ve sipped each one neat from a Glencairn glass. 


I thank Whiskey Mavens and Sagamore Spirit for providing me with these samples with no strings attached. Let’s #DrinkCurious and discover which is the best.



Sagamore Spirit’s flagship whiskey is bottled at 83° after resting for four to six years in new, heavy-charred oak. A 750ml package runs about $38.00.


Appearance: I observed a pale gold liquid that formed a medium rim. Slow, sticky tears fell down the side of my glass.


Nose: An aroma of nutmeg, vanilla, caramel, and mint escaped, and when I drew that air into my mouth, I tasted roasted almonds.


Palate:  Signature possessed a medium body, and at the front of my palate, I found flavors of orange peel, dark chocolate, and nutmeg. Midway through were caramel and honeycomb, while the back featured mint, clove, and oak.


Finish:  That mint, clove, and oak stuck around for a medium-to-long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I was surprised this was only 83° because it drank higher. It was an enjoyable pour and something I’d be happy to have in my whiskey library, which equals a Bottle rating on my scale. It was the third-best of the five whiskeys I tasted that night.




Double Oak



Sagamore Spirit took its Signature whiskey, then finished it for an additional 18 months in lightly-charred, medium-toasted oak barrels. The result is a 96.6° whiskey with a suggested price of $66.00 for a 750ml package.


Appearance: The bronze-colored liquid formed a thin rim. A wide curtain fell but left behind fat droplets that crawled back to the pool.


Nose: A lovely punch of caramel struck my nostrils, followed by brown sugar, honey, and toasted oak. The brown sugar carried through as I inhaled the vapor into my mouth.


Palate: Double Oak had an oily texture. The front of my palate came upon caramel, toasted coconut, and brown sugar, while the middle was nutty with hazelnut, pecan, and roasted almond. Cinnamon, clove, and oak were on the back.


Finish: The long finish was spicy with mint and cinnamon. Toasted oak trailed.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Double Oak was stunning, and I savored it from nose to finish. Of the five I tasted, it was my favorite. Obviously, this one takes my Bottle rating.




Cask Strength


If Signature had not been proofed to 83°, Cask Strength would be that whiskey. It aged between four and seven years and weighs in at 112.2°. You can expect to pay about $72.00 for a 750ml bottle.


Appearance: The gold presented as more traditional than the Signature. A medium rim formed sticky droplets that clung to the side of my glass.


Nose: I found a bouquet of orange zest, caramel, nut, toasted oak, and cinnamon. I tasted vanilla when I opened my lips to draw the air in.


Palate: The mouthfeel was oily. On the front of my palate, I discerned mint and caramel, while dark chocolate and almond were in the middle. Oak and cinnamon spice was on the back.


Finish: The heat that remained challenged me to find flavors. It did reveal cinnamon-soaked toothpicks, ones that have aged perhaps as long as this whiskey. It was the only thing I could pick out, and it ran for a medium duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I drink cask-strength whiskey all the time. I felt something was lacking with this version of the Rye. Aside from being too hot, there were fewer flavors to discern than the Signature. I think there are better cask-strength Ryes available at this price that I’d rather drink, and when you take that final component, this hovers somewhere between a Bar and Bust. It was also my least favorite of the five.




Rum Cask Finish


Sagamore Spirit has a Reserve Series that allows the distillers to get more creative. In the case of Rum Cask Finish, Jamaican and Columbian rum casks were acquired, although there was no disclosure as to whose rum was in these before the whiskey. Rum Cask Finish is bottled at 98°, and the suggested price was about $70.00.


Appearance: The deep amber had an inviting presence. A thin rim released slow tears.


Nose: Banana, coconut, brown sugar, vanilla, and oak teased my olfactory sense while caramel and mint rolled across my tongue as I breathed in the vapor.


Palate: A silky texture led to molasses, caramel, and nutmeg on the front. Chocolate, almond, and coconut formed the middle, bringing banana, black pepper, and oak on the back.


Finish: A long, building, and complex finish consisting of molasses, chocolate, almond, black pepper, and oak, and then, out of nowhere, I tasted coffee.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Sagamore Spirit Rum Cask Finish was my group runner-up. Aside from that unexpected ending, the combination of sweet and spicy was nearly perfect. The asking price won’t disappoint, and I’m happy to convey my Bottle rating for it.




Sherry Cask Finish



The final of the five is another selection from the Reserve Series. This time, Sagamore Spirit took the Signature and finished it in hand-selected 132-gallon Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry butts for 18 months. This release commands a $79.00 price for a 750ml bottle and is just hitting store shelves.


Appearance: The Rye absorbed color from the PX cask and provided more of a deep orange amber. A medium-thin rim generated slow, sticky legs.


Nose: A fruity bouquet of raisin, fig, and plum married nuts and caramel. A taste of raisin rolled across my tongue when I breathed inward.


Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and oily, while I was introduced to rye spice, dark chocolate, and raisin flavors on the front of my palate. The middle offered mint, vanilla, and walnuts; then, I experienced cinnamon, almond, and oak on the back.


Finish: The medium-length finish had components of raisin, dark chocolate, nuts, and oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I lust over PX-sherry cask-finished whiskeys. Strangely, this Rye had to compete with the Signature for third place, and the only reason Signature trumped it was the price. I need to make it clear that Sherry Cask Finish is good. The top four were all tasty; some were just better than others. Sherry Cask Finish earns its Bottle rating from me regardless of where it is placed. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Friday, October 14, 2022

The GlenDronach Grandeur Batch 11 Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

One of my favorite ways to age whisky is in Pedro Ximénez casks. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with using virgin oak, former Bourbon barrels, wine, or other kinds of sherry. There is, however, something magical about how that PX sherry imparts fruity goodness on the liquid sunshine held within.


Unfortunately, the mere presence of a PX cask doesn’t translate to great whisky. You need to start with good distillate, hand-selected cooperage, and a master blender who knows what they are doing. Who is a reliable candidate to fit that bill?  The GlenDronach.


If you’ve never experienced a whiskey from The GlenDronach, you’ll want to remedy that situation. Located in the Highlands region, it was founded in 1826 and is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in all of Scotland. Its ownership changed hands several times until Allied Distillers mothballed it in 1996. Six years later, it reversed its decision and returned to full production. In 2005, Chivas Brothers took the helm for three years until, in 2008, The BenRiach Distillery Company, Ltd. purchased it, only to sell itself to Brown-Forman in 2016. And that’s when Dr. Rachel Barrie, it's Master Blender, unleashed her magic.


Today I’m exploring Grandeur Batch 11, a single malt Scotch that sat in both PX and Oloroso sherry casks for a whopping 28 years.


“The GlenDronach Grandeur is an unparalleled range of the finest aromas and character from masterful Spanish oak sherry cask maturation. A Single Malt of elegant finesse, this expression offers a symphony of sherry aromatics interwoven with dark manuka honey, roasted almond, and walnut. It is intense and full-bodied, as is the signature of The GlenDronach, with a crescendo of black cherry and espresso adorning each mouthful.” – Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender


I don’t have too many opportunities to experience whiskies approaching three decades, and, on top of that, one that weighs in at a healthy 48.9% ABV (97.8°). As you can well imagine, a bottle like that commands an eyebrow-raising price tag. In the case of Grandeur Batch 11, it is $800.00.


Before I get to the #DrinkCurious part, I thank The GlenDronach for providing me with a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: This elderly Scotch offered a rusty appearance and a heavy rim that stuck like glue. Thick tears were released, but for whatever reason, the ring remained.


Nose: As the whisky poured into my glass, a fruity aroma of plum, dark cherry, raisin, and black currant was already tickling my nostrils. A closer examination provided roasted almond, cocoa, and leather. Cherry and honey tangoed across my tongue when I inhaled the vapor through my mouth.


Palate:  I found the texture to be thin and oily, while the front of my palate encountered a punch of black cherry, black currant, and raisin. When I say punch, I mean it; there was an impact on my tongue. Midway through, I tasted leather, dark chocolate, and almond, while the back featured flavors of black pepper, espresso, and cigar.


Finish:  Long and warming, the finish was peppery, with plum, dark chocolate, cigar, and espresso. I felt it drank a bit above its stated proof.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I loved this Scotch. It was yet another example of Dr. Barrie’s immense talent. The nose, the palate, the finish; each told me this was a luxurious whisky. All things being equal, this would capture my Bottle rating. The elephant in the room is the price:  $800 is beyond my and many others' means. But that shouldn’t discount your chance at a dram of Grandeur Batch 11 if you can find it at a good whisky Bar. Cheers!



My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The GlenAllachie 12-Year Single Malt Scotch Review & Tasting Notes

The GlenAllachie (pronounced Glen-Alla-Key) is a relatively new Speyside distillery that's seen quite a bit of ownership changes in its short 55 years. Founded in 1967, its been open, closed, mothballed, reopened, used for strictly blends for Chivas Bros., then sold in 2017 to its current owners, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company.


The GDC completely revamped things with a plan to release whiskies bottled at no less than 46% ABV and are both naturally colored and non-chill filtered. It also allows 160 hours of fermentation time, claiming it gives them additional time to study what's in the tank. The campus is home to 16 warehouses holding 50,000 barrels of whisky!


Today I’m pouring GlenAllachie 12-Year, a single malt Scotch aged in Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, along with first- and second-fill Bourbon barrels and virgin American oak casks. Packaged at 46% ABV (92°), the average retail price for a 750ml bottle is $65.00. 


“[W]e would like to introduce the most important release in the history of The GlenAllachie Distillers Company; GlenAllachie 12-year-old, the heart of our range, a landmark bottling. Our best casks selected and bottled under the careful eye of our Master Distiller Billy Walker.” – The GlenAllachie


Before I get to my tasting notes, I’d like to thank Impex Beverage for providing a sample of this whisky in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious.


Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, GlenAllachie 12-Year appeared as dark mahogany. It created a thicker rim which formed fat, sticky legs.


Nose: From across the room, I could smell the sherry notes.  Raisin, green grape, fig, cherry, and dried apricot were accompanied by dark chocolate and oak. When I pulled the air past my lips, it was a big blast of banana pudding.


Palate:  The texture of molasses crawled across my tongue and didn’t go away. Dark chocolate, fig, and green grape were on the front, with raisin, clove, and leather on the middle. I found ginger, oak, and French vanilla on the back.


Finish:  The medium-to-long finish consisted of Mole Coloradito, ginger, clove, tobacco leaf, and oak.  


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: This is certainly reasonably priced for a 46% ABV 12-year Scotch. The nose was beautiful, the palate flavorful, and the finish; well, if I go to a Mexican restaurant and there’s a mole sauce option, I’m all over it. The GlenAllachie 12 is just lovely all around and deserves my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.



Wednesday, July 20, 2022

The Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery's Filey Bay Single Malt Reviews & Tasting Notes


(photo courtesy of Impex Beverages)

What is the Spirit of Yorkshire? This English distillery began making whisky in 2016 with the idea that tradition is important and must be respected and weighed against a desire not to copy Scotch whisky production. Its founder, Tom Mellor, and the team worked under the guidance of Dr. Jim Swan, and the result is a proper grain-to-glass operation. It is also the first working distillery in all of Yorkshire.


The Spirit of Yorkshire prides itself in using everything possible from the land. The water comes from the chalk aquifers beneath the family farm, which they have been operating since 1945. The barley is 100% of that farm’s crops. The Molds for the bottles use the local earth to form them. This lets them produce whiskies made of Yorkshire versus making whiskies in Yorkshire.


“Our local area is hugely important to us, and so naturally, it’s where we’ve found the name for our Single Malt: Filey Bay. It’s our local beach, visible from the distillery windows; a beautiful stretch of sand that goes on for miles, from the outcrop of Filey Brigg to the headland of Flamborough Head.” - Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery


I have had English whiskies before, and I don’t mean Scotch. But I’ve never had a Yorkshire Single Malt before. Single malt is the same idea no matter what nation you’re considering. It is 100% malted barley from a single distillery. From there, you can get into differences, such as how Spirit of Yorkshire’s distillation process occurs in two of the largest Forsyth pot stills in the country outside of Scotland and a four-plate rectifying column.


Today I am sipping on four expressions of Filey Bay. Two are core expressions, and the others are single cask whiskies. But, before I get started, I thank Impex Beverages for providing me samples of each in exchange for no-strings-attached, honest reviews. Now, let’s #DrinkCurious and learn more.


Filey Bay Flagship Yorkshire Single Malt

As the name implies, this whisky is the flagship offering of Filey Bay. This single malt aged in former Bourbon casks for an undisclosed time and then married together before bottling at 46% ABV (92°). You can expect to pay $70.00 for a 700ml package.


“Bringing together some of our very best and oldest whisky, it has been matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon casks […] The true representation of our light and fruity house style, it’s complex and nuanced for those with an experienced palate but welcoming and delicious for those just discovering Single Malt.” – Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery


Appearance: The bright golden liquid left a fragile rim on my Glencairn glass. A combination of sticky droplets and long, wide legs made their way back to the pool.


Nose: The fruity, malty aroma consisted of apricot, apple, pear, and peach. I also came across cinnamon and toasted oak. Peaches and cream rolled across my tongue when I pulled the air through my lips.


Palate:  A light but oily mouthfeel began the tasting experience. The front was bright with orange, lemon, and apple. As it moved across my palate, honey, peaches, and pastry formed the middle, with gingerbread, hazelnut, and vanilla on the back.


Finish:  An amazingly fruity finish included peach, lemon, orange, and apricot. Vanilla, hazelnut, almond, and ginger rounded things out for a medium-long duration.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  Filey Bay Flagship could be an excellent introduction to single malt whiskies. I’m not a newbie and found it refreshing and easy to drink, particularly on this hot, humid summer evening. This whisky was delightful to sip, and I’m happy to rate this one a Bottle.




Filey Bay STR Finish


What is STR? That is when a distillery will Shave, Toast, and Re-char a barrel. It isn’t always wine barrels that go through an STR process, but in my experience, it is the most common. In the case of Filey Bay STR Finish, red wine barriques from Sunny Vineyards of Spain were utilized for the finishing process following normal aging in ex-Bourbon casks. Packaged at 48% ABV (96°), a 700ml bottle carries a suggested retail price of $80.00.


Appearance: The STR finish was brassy and generated a medium rim. Long, flowing legs fell down the wall of the Glencairn glass.


Nose: An aroma of rich, red fruits rose from my glass. Malted barley, orange peel, and toasted oak hid beneath them. Drawing the vapor in my mouth led to vanilla and a touch of lime.


Palate:  The texture was creamy with a medium weight. Cinnamon spice, plum, and caramel introduced themselves. On the middle of my palate, I tasted strawberry preserves along with almond, while the back suggested black pepper, barrel char, and clove.


Finish:  Red wine notes that were almost jammy became known and stuck around for a long finish. Oak tannins, black pepper, and cinnamon left my mouth with a dry pucker.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  I appreciated the fruitiness and the influence of the red wine casks. I might have expected those fruits to be muted since the wood was scraped and charred. Perhaps that char drew out the wine? Regardless, the STR finish was completely different from the Flagship expression. The STR was bold, thick, and left a smile on my face. That adds up to a Bottle rating. 




Filey Bay Fino Sherry Cask #674


Once the core releases have been tasted, new exploration comes with single cask whiskies. Rather than releasing the single casks on a schedule, Spirit of Yorkshire simply waits for them to be ready. That’s something I respect from any distillery.


The first single cask I’m reviewing is Fino Sherry Cask #674. It was distilled in 2017 and spent four years in a Fino Sherry Hogshead sourced from Jerez. This whisky is bottled at a cask strength of 61% ABV (122°), and a 700ml package will cost about $110.00. It is exclusive to the US market.


Appearance: Cask #674 was big, bright orange in my Glencairn glass. A medium-thick rim clung to the wall, releasing only a few thick tears.


Nose: The sherry influence had no problem shouting from the rooftops. Raisin, plum, almond, and dry oak permeated my nostrils. But I also smelled cocoa powder. There was candied orange peel when I inhaled that air through my lips.


Palate:  A thin, oily texture greeted my palate. The front consisted of dark fruits blended with nutmeg, while the middle offered lighter flavors of orange zest, pear, and apple. Then a strong wave of cocoa powder, bone-dry oak, and shredded tobacco overwhelmed the back.


Finish:  Bitter dark chocolate, tobacco, and a complete lack of moisture gave a medium-to-long finish.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  You must be a fan of extremely dry sherry to appreciate what this single malt serves. I did like the fruity start and striking finish. However, that’s also not for everyone. The high proof is not the issue; the dryness didn’t come from the alcohol content. If anything, it was indiscernible. If this is your jam, then this whisky won’t disappoint. But because this is so dry, I’m giving Cask #674 a Bar rating.




Filey Bay Pedro Ximénez Sherry Cask #685


The final whisky in today’s tasting is not yet available for purchase but should be at the end of July. It is a single malt aged in a Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry cask. While I enjoy sherry cask whiskies, those aged or finished in PX casks tend to be extra-special, and as such, I’m admittedly excited. It, too, should be cask strength at 61% ABV (102°) with a suggested price of $110.00 for a 700ml bottle.


Appearance:  Of the four whiskies, the PX cask was the deepest and darkest, appearing as burnt umber in my Glencairn glass. A thinner rim formed sticky droplets that just hung in place.


Nose: A rich aroma wafted from the neck of the glass, with raisin, dried apricot, molasses, and chocolate.  Dried apricot rolled across my tongue as I breathed air into my mouth.


Palate:  An oil slick coated the inside of my mouth. The first flavor I encountered was French oak and caramel. As the liquid moved to the middle, raisin, prune, and dried apricot melded with the oak, and the caramel vanished. The back was a mix of clove, black pepper, and dark chocolate.  


Finish:  Very long and spicy, the finish continued the clove, black pepper, and dark chocolate, while the French oak carried through. There was also a sizzle left on the tip of my tongue.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust:  This PX cask whisky didn’t disappoint. It was mostly what I had hoped for with an added twist of the French oak. Of the four single malts, this held the boldest flavors. Anyone who lusts for sherry bombs will find Cask #685 satisfies their every desire. I loved it, and have no issues crowning it with a Bottle rating.


Final Notes:  This was a fascinating sipping experience. I’m interested in what else this distillery has to offer, especially in its core expressions. Which was my favorite? You may assume Cask #685, and that would be a great, educated guess, but I’ll tip my hat to the Flagship Single Malt. The second would be Cask #685, and the third would be the STR Finish. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.