Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Added colouring: No
Owner: Wilson & Morgan
Official website: www.wilsonandmorgan.com
After the Arran derby between Madeira Cask Finish and Marsala Cask Finish, here’s a new double review on the blog: two whiskies from 2021 that share ageing in ex-Sherry Oloroso casks and, above all, the bottler, Wilson & Morgan. For the rest, they are completely different propositions: one comes from a Highlands distillery, the other from a Speyside distillery; one is peated, the other is not; one is rather young (8yo), the other is already more mature (14yo), one is low grade and the other is full grade.
Beathan 2013 – 2021
Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry Oloroso first fill
Average price: € 45.00
Beathan, evidently, is a stage name, under which hides Glenturret, one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries, which usually produces a very fresh and floral whisky, but periodically releases some batches of peated whisky. This particular one, in the final stage of its maturation, has undergone an 8-month passage in first-fill ex-Sherry Oloroso casks, and then been bottled at 46% ABV, without chillfiltration.
Its natural colour is full gold.
On the nose, the entry is on notes of grilled grease, olives in brine and tyre, with a light dusting of pepper. The finishing translates into an impression of sweet liquorice and a biscuit-like fragrance of amaretto, with shortcrust pastry not far behind. A hint of burnt wood frames the whole, while, like an attempt at seduction far away in time, a faint floral memory brings back the DNA of the distillery.
On the palate, the entry is moderately peppery and the whole soft and welcoming. Here the contribution of the former sherry casks seems decidedly more pronounced, with sensations of custard and yellow-fleshed fruit consumed in front of a bonfire, or more specifically, peaches in syrup near an ashtray.
The finish is long and warm, with a hint of smoke linking notes of yellow orange and pepper.
For the balance and composure that distinguish it, it certainly doesn’t seem like a young whisky. It’s a lot of fun to drink, and for the price on the market, it’s worth buying immediately.
Linkwood 2007 – 2021
Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon, ex-Sherry Oloroso
Average price: € 70.00
This whisky, on the other hand, comes from Linkwood, and after 14 years of total maturation, with a significant final passage in ex-Sherry oloroso casks, it was bottled cask strength at 58.3% ABV in 540 bottles that are still widely available. As with the Beathan, natural colour and no chillfiltration.
In the glass there is a beautiful shiny amber colour.
On the nose the welcome is on typically Sherried notes: sultanas, figs, dates, walnuts and almonds, with a nuance of wild berries (blackberry) and an interesting balsamic accent that seems to lighten the commitment of the alcohol content. A “darker” scent of black cherries in alcohol and a fragrance of jasmine complete an inviting profile which, with the addition of a few drops of water, turns slightly herbaceous, with a hint of cereal in the background.
The opening is rather peppery and the alcohol, so tame on the nose, stings the palate. Here too it is a triumph of sherried notes, with figs, sultanas, custard and a definite hint of dried fruit. With water, it becomes softer and more welcoming: the spice loses weight, the creamy side becomes stronger, with a really tasty hazelnut, and a hint of wood emerges.
The finish is long and lively, decidedly tannic, with a final memory of custard. The addition of water causes it to shorten abruptly.
Had we not known that this was an ageing finishing, we would have thought it was a full maturation in ex-Sherry casks, because the result is a full sherried whisky that has nothing to envy the acknowledged masters of the genre. Pity about that alcoholic note on the palate.