A small distillery with a big reputation amongst whisky fans. Much of that reputation comes from their sherry matured offerings. However, there are much lighter coloured, ex-bourbon matured expressions that in my experience are very good too.
I recently sampled two contrasting versions from the distillery, with my thoughts below;
Bourbon – 12 year old (2003 10th release) Cask Strength 56.7%
Nose : Powerfully fruity on the nose. First thing I get is tropical fruits – mango and papaya, followed by orange zest, fresh lemon juice sourness and then dunnage warehouse earthiness. A few drops of water seems to accentuate those aromas.
Palate : Fruity, sweet and sour, with the lemon sharpness the predominate flavour, followed by a creaminess and a slightly malty character – Lemon cheesecake. There is orange in the mix too, along with a little blackcurrant, a decent amount of peppery spice and a good dose of salt. The salt and pepper remain in the moderate length finish, with green apple skins, orange cream, ginger and light oak.
Conclusions : Lots of great fruit flavours with a great balance to the sweet and sour sensations.
Score : 8/10
Sherry – 10 year old (2006 cask 271) 46%
Nose : Rich, sweet toffee and demerara sugar, with a hit of espresso coffee providing a bitter edge. I’m then getting Christmas pudding with a dollop of heavy cream, along with balsamic vinegar, prune juice, milk chocolate and tobacco. Dunnage warehouse earthiness
Palate : Rich, sweet toffee, and bitter roast coffee again, but this time there is some leather and oak too. The fruits come in next, with blackcurrant, raisin and prune. There’s a kick of gingery spice followed by more balsamic, tobacco and a hint of rubber. The finish is moderate and a little drying with continuing spice and fruit flavours. A creaminess then comes through with some oak and a pinch of salt.
Conclusions : Wonderfully luxurious and comforting dram, with lots of dirty sherried flavours.
Score : 8/10
Comparison : Completely different whiskies. No real surprise there. The earthiness on the nose and the salt and pepper on the palate the only similarities, and perhaps some of the creaminess, but I am clutching at straws a little. Both are excellent in their own right and deserving of a decent score.
Ideally I would have liked to have tried the cask strength Ibisco decanter version of the sherry matured, but I had to make do with what was available to me. From a price point, the bourbon matured version is certainly the cheaper of the two cask strength versions. It is available for around £75, where as the sherry is going to set you back £110. That price seems to keep creeping up with each release too. This 46% version I tried sold out long ago, but the current bottlings are around the £60 mark.
(Score descriptions can be found in the About page)
Pictures courtesy of Master Of Malt and used with permission