Such casks subsequently impart a winey sweetness to the whisky.
Traditionally, sherry casks came from Spain, and were European oak.
However, it is becoming increasingly cheaper for the distilleries to purchase their casks from the bourbon distilleries of the US. (For the whiskey to be called bourbon, it must be filled into virgin oak. Therefore, once the casks have matured their first fill of bourbon, the casks are usually sold off to the scotch industry). American wood is now being used to season sherry in Spain, so when people of speak of ex-sherry casks these days, they could be speaking of either American oak or European oak.
In any event, both sherry and bourbon now get the chance to impart their influence on single malt scotches.
Oh well, maybe when I'm rich...
- Spirit of Islay
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Heven't tried the 12 but i bet it's up to the standard of the 10,15,21 and 105 . The older ones have all been SMWS ( Numerous ages between 30 and 38 ) and all have been stunning for their age , one of the best one's (apart from Mel's 38yo !) was a 31yo we had at a showing of the "Whisky Galore" film at a local cinema , it was great sitting watching a great film with a superb malt in your hand , wish the SMWS would do it again , great night !
The Glenfarclas is now , IMO , a far superior single Malt to the Macallan , i think the Mac is hanging on to past reputations ,the past few 18yo's have been of differing quality compared to the earlier one's i was weened on !
Regarding Sherried Malts , as most people who know me , i tend to try and avoid sherried one's , my biggest mistake was buying a Glendronach 15yo , still here with only a wee bit drunk out of it !
I have enjoyed a few sherried one's , the Ardbeg 239x's , some of the Laddie Sherried valinches (the current one is very good) , an Adelphi 1971 Glen Grant is superb (christmas cake in a bottle!) but there are a few i will avoid ....
Sherried Linkwoods (over whelming sulphur ).
Sherried Jura ( as well as normal jura , had a 20yo SMWS which was awful) .
The afore mentioned Glen(jerez)dronach 15yo .
but it's everyone to their own thing and i prefer my malts from Borbon casks (says he who owns a Laddie Bloodtub and RS Hoggy...) , mind you Refill sherry can add that little something to a malt and not over whelm it !
You are apparently quite good in detecting flavors. The Glenfarclas range is matured on both sherry (second fill) and bourbon casks seperatly, then after 10,12,15 years they are married toghether to become glenfarclas. The older the more sherry % is involved. (This does not occur to the 30Y and the vintage range wich is usual 100% sherry). So thats why you find both sherry and bourbon flavors in the glenfarclas range.
I believe many distilleries (perhaps even most) mature their stocks in both bourbon & sherry casks, and then marry them together come bottling time. Each distillery will obviously have its own favoured ratio of one to the other. Michael Jackson's 5th edition of the Companion gives some information on this aspect for many of the distilleries.
Having said that, there are a few distilleries that make a point of stating that they use entirely ex-bourbon (Ardbeg and Glenmorangie come to mind).
Thanks for that information Admiral, i only knew this as a fact from Glenfarclas because i talk about it with Ian McWilliam any chance i got. Also i dont have the 5th edition of the Malt companion yet, but its on the list.
As for Glenfarclas, apart from the 105 the entire range is caramel free. And yes, i know this sounds hard to believe if you see the color, but you can test it yourself in the recent list of caramel added bottlings that was posted in the bowmore thread. Also Ian McWilliam has stated this many times too. and he seems honest enough to me.
on the part of the cask maturation, do you know a distillery that matures in first fill sherry casks? Im interested because so far its mainly second fill sherry/bourbon casks. and i'd like to do a HTH with both second and first fill combos to compare. perhaps the mac FO is first fill?
That said, I've always thought that Lagavulin has a peculiar orange hue....
Macallan mature the majority of their stock in first fill sherry, although the residual is filled into second-fill casks.
First fill sherry casks need to be treated with caution. A Talisker bottling recently spent 20 odd years in a first-fill sherry cask, and when it was released, it got very bad scores because the wood and the sherry had overpowered the malt.
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