I both like and dislike sherry matured whiskyIMG_4163

and for me sherry cask bottlings range from top notch to bottom. The SMWS Ben Nevis “Hot Toddy”  (see the advent calendars) was one of the worst whiskies I ever had. The 14 yo Akashi – very strange and even one of my favorite distilleries Glendronach makes sherry matured whisky with the “Rancid butter mushroom sour washcloth notes”…. Not for me!

Therefore I can´t say I loooove sherry whiskies – they come in all shapes considering nose, palette and finish.

Talking about finish –When we you read sherry finish you can find that it could be a 12 yo whisky finished in 1st fill sherry cask for 3-6 months or so. The first eleven and a half years it spent in an “ordinary” ex bourbon cask. Is it cheating to do this? Well it is up for discussion but I see it as putting in the last salt and pepper when you are cooking a dish. That last dash of salt is what makes the dish become perfect.

Now the two Japanese Whiskies from Suntory, Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 and Hakushu Sherry Cask 2012 are both solely matured in sherry casks and they are both  NAS whiskies as well. It´s a fight between siblings. Hakushu being the lightly peated one but both at the same ABV 48%.

The Yamazaki sherry cask was named “World Whisky of the Year” (i.e. best whisky in the world) by Jim Murray in the 2015 Whisky Bible. I do not agree….. but that is another story!

Here is my take on them:

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 IMG_4166

Nose: Raisins, dried fruit, wine (berry-wine), sweet.

Palette: Soft, a bit closed spirit at first, softens out and becomes more wine like. Sweet and full of dried fruit. Cherrystone notes. Oak bitterness, With water some liquorices appears, the berry wine comes forward

Finish: Some bitterness, the berry wine notes comes back. With water it opens up for the rancid notes. Fairly short finish.


Hakushu Sherry Cask 2012IMG_4164

Nose: Soft Peat, sweet fruits, some raspberry liquorices sweets. With water it opens up for more fruit and body. Maybe some soap.

Palette:First I get mushrooms (in a good way), Liquorices, softly peated spirit, dried fruit. Sweet. Water makes it thin. No improvement.

Finish: Light rancio, liquorices. Something herb like. Salty. And raspberry. It lingers quite long. With water it disappears quickly.

For me the Hakushu win this one. Because I´m not too fond of that berry-wine touch! Again we all have our own taste and as I said in the beginning…. The sour sherry notes with rancid butter and mushroom  is not for mer. Neither too much of the cherry stone notes or heavy sulphur but sulphur is not an issue here.

There are sherrycask matured whiskies out there that is more enjoyable!

Keep on looking!

And let me know when you find one.