Scotch Review: Assorted Cask Samples, Part II
Assorted Cask Samples: II / CS / Free
All are tasted starting neat, adding water if necessary, in a blender’s glass
These are samples of some various casks that are/were available for purchase on the secondary market. I will be taking a look at them from a different perspective than usual, more to understand the wood/distillery character over time, as all of these are quite young. I have also anonymized the sellers’ / cask-specific information as well; all of these are fairly young, and probably in the £4–12,000 range.
I will start these in order from lightest-to-darkest (barring a better random sorting system), and will use a compressed scale from 1–5:
(1) No good at all; ruinous; unsalvageable
(2) Bad, but maybe it just needs more time
(3) OK; could be fine with a few more years
(4) Good; nice stuff, you could bottle it now, or give it a bit more time
(5) Perfect; why is this still in the cask??
Macduff Hogshead 2007 58%
Colour is light gold, and very oily texture in the glass. On the nose, it’s cereal grains, hot new make, and lavender. Taste is super oily, estery, and woody; the finish is nice: tequila.
Verdict: 2-: a pretty tired cask, this needs a lot more time / recasking to be interesting. Some intriguing floral notes to explore in the future.
Miltonduff 2010 54%:
Colour is very pale. Nose is all new make, a little vanilla; floral and creamy. Taste is dry, chewy, and herbal with tea tree oil and jelly beans. Finish is some kind of hard candy lozenge.
Verdict: 2: Could improve with more time.
Benrinnes 2010 59%
Another special one, this is a cask I own. Color is pale, white wine. Nose is barnyard with immature fruits. On the tongue it’s delicious, with fruit tart, oaky-vanilla ice cream, and strawberry. A long sweet finish.
Verdict: 3-: This is quite promising! I am planning to rerack it into a refill sherry cask. The flavours here are quite nice, but it’s still a bit hot.
Glenburgie 2011 Hogshead 54%
Color is straw. Nose is young but refined, grassy, and floral, with hints of chocolate hint and cream. Taste is graham crackers, shirley temple, christmas spice, whipped cream, and vanilla, with a long oaky, lemon-tinted finish.
Verdict: 4+: this is solid! No complaints! Very nice!
Braeval Sherry Butt 55%
No age on this label; colour is medium-brown. Big dry sherry nose, BBQ and ham. Leather. On the tongue now we get a rich, thick, tropical fruits brownie, with chocolate syrup and dry sherry. The finish is long and tannic; robust.
Verdict: 3+: this is a little strange, Braeval and Sherry seem a bit at odds with each other; it’s good but I’d marry them longer.
Glenrothes 2nd Fill Sherry Butt 2011 50%
Got some colour; golden. Nose is intense, new makey, hot; turpentine and acetone over sour milk and off cabbage. In the mouth it’s quite pleasant, hints of sherry coming through, a slightly malty inoffensive base. No finish to speak of.
Verdict: 2: Promising, but needs more time.