Casks #900353 & #900355
A pair of hard-hitting sherrybombs selected by my good self for my Sherry Bomb Whisky Appreciation Society Facebook group.
This is my fifth release for the group and, as usual, I wanted to do something a bit different. So this release was a twin-bottle set.
Working with the fabulous Ben & Dean at Murray McDavid, I was able to go full-on geek mode and release a pair that contained an Oloroso cask and a Pedro Ximenez cask.
Deployments 5.1 & 5.2 showcase the impact that different types of sherry cask can have on the same base spirit.
The whisky was distilled at the Craigellachie Distillery on the same date. The liquid was then placed into their respective casks at the same time, stored in the same warehouse, and then transferred into a second cask on the same date for the same duration. After 14 years, the Oloroso cask and the Pedro Ximénez cask have imparted their own personalities into the liquid – both in colour, nose, and flavour. But they both still retain the same style and personality of the distillery.
In releasing these 2 bottles together, my intention was that people could have some fun exploring what one type of sherry cask can do compared to another. The aim was for people to open both bottles together and spend some quality time nosing, tasting, and experiencing the subtle nuances imparted by the Oloroso cask compared to the Pedro Ximénez cask. Is one sweeter? The other nuttier? Which one is oilier? Is there something else in the Oloroso cask that definitely isn’t there in the Pedro Ximénez cask? It should be fun, indulgent, and a little bit geeky.
I chose Craigellachie for this Deployment release as they are one of a dying breed that still use worm tubs. These worm tubs help to give the spirit a meatier, fuller-bodied naturally occurring trademark chewiness. As a distillery, Craigellachie works hard to retain & preserve a natural note of sulphur, and not strip it out. Not the eggy sulphur note that you can get with badly managed casks, but a naturally occurring subtle character that is the impact from the design of the stills and the use of the worm tubs - which affect the amount of contact the spirit has with copper. The result is a beautiful balance of depth, light-funkiness, and robust meatiness.
Oloroso Cask #900353 - 58.9%
Appearance: Deep golden amber with thick, oily legs.
Nose: A big hit of nuts, fruit & sherry followed by malted biscuits drizzled in honey.
Palate: Toffee-sweetness with some meatiness. Full & rich sherry follows with a teasing white pepper tingle. There's the faintest hint of a matchbook strike paper followed by a drying nuttiness.
Finish: Long, with a rich, intensely robust, and meaty body. Oiliness covers the palate and allows the matchbook strike paper note to integrate beautifully with the sherried sweetness. Faint notes of tobacco leaf appear on the exhale.
Conclusion: Beautifully sherried, full-bodied, and multi-layered.
Pedro Ximénez Cask #900355 - 58.7%
Appearance: Deep golden amber with thick, oily legs
Nose: Huge wafts of sherry-soaked fruit, honey, sour wine, “Fruit Salad Chews”, gentle wood, tart berries, and some hay dance and merge. A delicate floral perfume appears at the end.
Palate: Glorious buttery sweetness flows into the mouth with a pleasant crackle from the alcohol. Honey & sherry-galore is followed by cherry pie, raisins, and caramel-soaked wood.
Finish: Long, with notes of freshly baked pastry from a fruit pie. A gentle gravelly/mineral note coupled with rich sherry stays on the palate for an age before gently fading away to a pleasant dryness.
Conclusion: A fantastic example of when to replace a pudding for a glass of whisky.
Cask Transparency Information
Oloroso Cask #900353 - 58.9%
1st cask: Filled into a Refill Oloroso Hogshead on 26th May 2008 2nd cask: Transferred into a 1st fill Oloroso Hogshead on 14th October 2019 Bottled: October 2022
Pedro Ximénez Cask #900355 - 58.7% 1st cask: Filled into a Refill Pedro Ximénez Hogshead on 26th May 2008 2nd cask: Transferred into a 1st fill Pedro Ximénez Hogshead on 14th October 2019 Bottled: October 2022
Exclusively available at Royal Mile Whiskies here
Priced at £184.95 (at the time of writing)
More about Craigellachie here