Oloroso Sherry

Review: Lohin McKinnon 150th Anniversary Barley and Rye Lightly Peated Single Malt Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
3 yrs; Ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso barrels
Recipe
Malted Barley and Malted Rye
Distiller Central City (Surrey, British Columbia)

A special release commemorating Canada's 150th anniversary, this was a very unique combination - a lightly peated single malt was combined with a malted barley whisky to create what may well be described a very unique whisky.

This whisky won the award of excellence (innovation) at the Canadian whisky awards, and for good reason. Peated whisky in Canada is rare and a blend of malted rye (rare) aged in ex-bourbon casks and lightly peated barley in oloroso sherry casks.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

An interesting one – vegetal notes, but they are bright and not heavy or spicy! Long roasted sweet potato, tamari, apricots, raisins, balsamic reduction, light smoke. Almost a bit sulphury. The smoke characteristic comes out on the palate, and it takes more of a smoky, vegetal, mineral character than the fruitier nose. Perhaps some woody honey, like acacia, too. The best part of this whisky is that you can almost miss the rye – it comes through in a flash – and it is such a nice flash – and then we’re moving on elsewhere. The finish still seems to keep those roasted root vegetables at the core, and the smoke carries onward and onward and you get all sorts of interesting notes like pickled jalapenos. And the sherry character at last comes through on the end, and quite nicely.

 At the Canadian Whisky Awards, this won a silver medal while their other two whiskies only won bronze – but I still prefer the other two I’ve tasted (their standard single malt and their wine finish). I like it, and it’s exceedingly interesting and there is lots of complexity built into it – but it still needs more time. But still, very interesting….(and I like interesting whiskies!)…

Value: Average. A very unique bottle, but not high value at the price (nor low value, either).


Review: Glenfarclas 25 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Glenfarclas 25 2.jpg
ABV
43%
Aging
25 years; Oloroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glenfarclas (Ballindaloch, Scotland)

Another Glenfarclas matured exclusively in Oloroso sherry casks, and for 25 years - so it has lots of time to pick up all the spicy richness stored in European oak.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L 28 04 14 3 10:4 88

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

The nose is very interesting – darkly spicy, with lots of clove, star anise, coriander seed, brown cardamom, and bitter oak – and yet this is contrasted with a light-spirited white grape sitting over the whole thing. Hazelnuts and almonds also here – it is entirely different than the 17 year old I recently reviewed. There is even a bit of earthy, smoky, peat like character very slightly in the background – and some fresh broccoli. On the palate, it is lightly fruity, primarily, with grape and gooseberry – but loaded with the same dark spice and some chillies in a very long, developing palate. There is a rumbling, earthy and fruity finish with lots of buckwheat, grape, clove, and nutmeg. I really like it. Frankly, a bit surprised given the previous expressions of Glenfarclas that I’ve tasted – it’s not as overloaded on the sherry, but is quite a bit more balanced and intriguing.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $200 - even for a good bottle of old scotch (and the cheaper side of 25 year olds) this doesn’t quite cut it for me. But I don’t like to buy most bottles that cost more than $100.


Review: Glenfarclas 17 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
17 years; Oloroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Glenfarclas (Ballindaloch, Scotland)

An older sherry matured whisky that has had quite the love at spirits competitions - it sits as the fourth level of aged glenfarclas after the 10,12, and 15 year old - once again the result of 100% oloroso sherry cask maturation - not something you usually see.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L 06 03 14 3 06:19 88

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Interesting, rich, and very complex. Layers of honey, blackberry, lots of parmesan notes, caraway, white grape, some really nice rancio notes interwoven without them being fully immersed in the sherry. Also a bit of bubblegum-like candy to it. A nice full spicy finish, leaving behind a bit of fino sherry as well. I'm not sold on some of the cheesy flavours though, though this affects the nose more than anything else – but it does knock my score down 2 points. Regardless, a very nice whisky.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, at $137.


Review: Writer's Tears Red Head Irish Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Writer's Tears Red Head 2.jpg
ABV
46%
Aging
Oloroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
Single Malt
Distiller N/A (Ireland)

A triple distilled Irish single malt, matured in Oloroso sherry, 46% and non-chill filtered. Nice! It's one of three whiskies in the standard Writer's Tears lineup, with the standard, this, and the cask strength (more limited) - a nice lineup.


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L7103L2140 12:54

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Surprisingly sharp and grassy – I wouldn’t have thought so much for a single malt. Wine, some rancio, raisins, apple, and loads of spices – clove, star anise, celery seed, white pepper. Great complexity – so many spices! The palate carries all the flavours, but with great richness – dried fruit, clove, cinnamon, prune, currants, milk chocolate. Very much in the Irish whiskey style, yet very much influenced by the „old world” flavours reminiscent of spicy port, cognac, armagnac, and old world wine. Terrific. As with the standard writer’s tears, great finish. The spices all come out and they are held together (quite nicely) by the fruit. Slightly drying too – I will never complain about this.

Very much in the same style, but better, than writer’s tears. The spices are terrific! I quite like this, and it is upped in complexity from the standard Writer's Tears. I cannot but help recommend, particularly given my love of spices...

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $65.


Review: Dalwhinnie Distiller's Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
17 yrs; Oloroso Sherry Finish
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Dalwhinnie (Dalwhinnie, Scotland)

The distiller's editions are all vintage dated, this one from 1997 and bottled in 2014, and features Dalwhinnie spirit finished in oloroso sherry casks.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: 2014 (distilled 1997)

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Very much what I would expect from a sherry-finished Dalwhinnie – spicy and dried fruit notes overlayed on top of the rich, honeyed, malt from Dalwhinnie. White grape, white raisins, applesauce, vanilla, wet earth, and some very pleasant malt. Malt loaf, cinnamon, and lots of cloves, and honey dates. The palate has lots of honey and malt, with the sherry hanging back until the finish where it comes in with cinnamon, tannins, and dried fruit which mingle in with a growing maltiness, earthiness, and oak. Very pleasant.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low, based on $115.