Do you think the secret to whisky ageing is science, or is it an art? Science can help, like understanding the molecular make up of different species of wood, and using temperature controlled warehouses. But the art of knowing when to use a cask finish, how long you might age the whisky for, and how to blend different casks together: surely that's an art? We think: maybe, it's a little bit magic...
We're exploring the magic of the cask in our newest whisky tasting box: Cask Magic!
Cask Magic: our enchanting June whisky box
Fettercairn, Aged 12 YearsOur first Cask Magic dram: Fettercairn 12 Year Old
Loosely meaning "foot of the mountain", Fettercairn was one of the first legal distilleries, founded in 1824. They're most famous for their fascinating, unique stills. In the 1950s, Fettercain installed irrigation rings around the neck of their copper pot still, which runs cooling water down the outside to help create a purer spirit. Their 12 year old single malt is aged exclusively in American white oak ex-bourbon casks, showcasing the fruity pure flavours of the whisky.
On the nose, vanilla and pear, with soft spices. Refreshing nectarine and tropical fruit, with subtle roasted coffee, clove, and ginger. A memorable finish of sultanas and black toffee.
Jura, Rum Cask Finish
After the roaring success of other rum cask aged single malt releases, Jura have joined the fun with their brand new Rum Cask edition. Rum and whisky forms an unexpectedly delicious pairing, with the rum cask imparting tropical fruitiness, spice and vibrancy. In Jura's case, their single malt was first aged in white oak ex-Bourbon barrels, with the Caribbean rum casks providing the finishing touches.
Warm welcoming notes of guava and coconut, sugar coated almonds, apricots and a touch of citrus. Sweet vanilla, fudge, layers of mango, banana and guava. A lasting sweet cinnamon spice finish.
Mackmyra, GruvguldMackmyra Gruvguld, from casks aged inside a mine!
No strangers to innovation, Mackmyra explore an interesting locale to age whisky with this release. Small casks (30, 100 and 128 litres) of mostly unpeated malt and some peated were laid down to age inside the Bodås mine, some 50 metres below ground. Gruvgold means "gold from the mine" - this is liquid gold, indeed!
Berries, fruits and light oily notes. Toasted notes of vanilla, oak and caramel fudge. A light warm and oaky spiciness with a hint of tar and mineralities. Well balanced fruit, spice and oak. Blackcurrant, pear fudge and grapefruit. Pleasant spicy oak with hints of tar and tobacco leaves and a light oiliness. Finishes with more berries and spice, and a light dryness towards the end.
Compass Box, The Story of the Spaniard
The Story of the Spaniard is Compass Box's ode to Spanish wine. Originally created by CB's legendary whiskymaker John Glaser back in 2018, the recipe features a blend of high quality Scotch malts aged in various Spanish red wine and Sherry casks. The result is a sumptuous, rich whisky, perfect for drinking al fresco with a plate of charcuterie!
Full, soft and sumptuous on the palate with flavours of citrus peel and pears poached in red wine and spices. A long finish, with hints of vanilla panna cotta, berries and cherries.
Cotswolds Distillery, Peated Cask
If your distillery doesn't make a peated malt, how do you bring a smoky flavour to your whisky? Well, one trick (pardon the magic pun!) is to use a cask that already held a peated malt inside. That's just what the fine folk at Cotswolds have done, with peated quarter casks - and last year it scored them two international whisky awards. Adding a subtle smoky take on their highly-lauded single malt, this is England's answer to Islay.
Vanilla with light charring and a touch of dried fruits and spice on the nose. Creamy peat smoke layers onto the palate with light fruits and tannin-rich wood. Lasting finish of smoking embers, floral honey and woody sugars.
The Whisky Works - 20 Year Old SpeysideThe Whisky Works 20 Year Old Speyside, our "magic" sixth dram
It's another exciting release from relative newcomers The Whisky Works! Somehow managing to still fly under the radar of some whisky geeks, here's a whisky that should make them stop and take notice. This single malt comes from a now-closed Speyside distillery, on one of their last production runs back in 1998. It spent 20 years in American White Oak before a finish in rare cognac casks - which also previously held a cognac distilled in 1998. Only 1618 bottles were made of this never-to-be-repeated whisky: you simply have to try this while you can!
Sweet, grassy herbal notes with hitns of citrus and floral violets. Creamy milk chocolate, golden syrup, ginger and strawberries and cream.
How to get your Cask Magic box
So, cask ageing: science, art or magic? You can grab your box here and decide for yourself.
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