The holidays are approaching. Meaning events, dinners, and household gatherings—lots of which you’ll need to attend bearing a present. Wine is the all-to-obvious route. So why not current your host with one thing extra thrilling (and stronger)—like wine cask-finished whiskeys?
Wine cask-finished whiskeys strike a steadiness of energy (all the time no less than 40 % ABV) and magnificence, because of the affect of the ending casks. Their earlier contents might need been a fortified wine like sherry or port, a candy dessert wine, or a desk wine. Both method, that liquid has left its mark on the oak itself—and, in flip, the cask modifications the flavour of an already-mature bourbon, scotch, or different whiskey that spends just a few months ending.
The barrel’s influence is most evident in flavors (suppose jammy or dried fruit), however it additionally exhibits up within the liquid’s texture. Wine casks can beef up velvety texture and plush mouthfeel, making a sipping expertise that stands as much as meals pairings—and simply as simply stands by itself.
If you happen to flip up to a cocktail party with a bottle of whiskey, it may be opened that night time and loved for so long as the liquid lasts. No want to complete it inside just a few days like wine. Quick- or long-lived, any of those 10 wine cask-finished whiskeys are sure to steal the present.
1. Royal Salute 21-12 months-Previous Polo Estancia Version
Blended scotch usually will get neglected within the single malt frenzy, however choices like this Royal Salute gem show why that’s a mistake. Created by grasp blender Sandy Hyslop, Estancia pays tribute to Argentina’s polo custom with a end in Bodegas Etchart Cafayate malbec casks. It’s uncommon to discover a malbec-finished whisky. The varietal provides wealthy fruit and chocolate notes in addition to texture, giving Estancia a luxurious, velvety physique with out turning into heavy or overly dominant with meals. Aged for 21 years, it’s priced extra in step with single malts a number of years its junior—one thing solely a mix can pull off.
2. The GlenAllachie 11-12 months-Previous Grattamacco End (and 13-12 months-Previous Rioja End)
Speyside single malt scotch distillery GlenAllachie has an entire sequence of limited-edition wine cask-finished whiskies, together with two that not too long ago debuted within the U.S. Each had been initially aged in ex-bourbon casks earlier than spending virtually two years in wine barriques—from Bolgheri’s Grattamacco vineyard for the 11-year-old ($110), and the Spanish area of Rioja for the 13-year-old ($130). Every whisky is bottled at a beneficiant 48 % ABV, highlighting the pure complexity created by the wine casks. Lower than 1,000 bottles of every made their method stateside, so maintain a pointy eye and seize for those who discover them.
3. Compass Field Canvas
Whereas sherry, port, and crimson wine are all frequent ending casks, Compass Field Canvas turns to a wine model that’s just about unparalleled to create its notes of marmalade, honey, and cocoa: vino de naranja. Produced in Andalucia, Spain, vino de naranja is an aromatized candy wine, made with white grapes and macerated orange peel that’s aged in a solera system. With such a uncommon ending cask, this blended malt whisky is assured to be distinctive. But when that’s not sufficient, Canvas gives an much more particular expertise by its label, which might be custom-made with your individual picture or picture by way of QR code.
4. Angel’s Envy Cask Energy
In comparison with scotch, Kentucky bourbon is a relative newcomer to cask ending. Angel’s Envy started main the best way a few decade in the past, providing its flagship port cask-finished bourbon that’s now turn out to be a staple on bars nationwide. The annual limited-edition Cask Energy ramps up the proof—and thus the inherent jammy fruit notes from the port casks, together with darkish plums, blackberry cobbler, in addition to burnt sugar. All the time in excessive demand, Angel’s Envy Cask Energy is extra obtainable than ever in 2021, with almost 15,000 bottles of the 120.7 proof bourbon rolling out nationwide this December.
5. Aberfeldy 18-12 months-Previous Crimson Wine Cask-Completed
Grasp blender Stephanie Macleod turned to Côte Rôtie casks for this restricted version. The famed French wine is made primarily with syrah grapes and typically viognier—lending it flavors which are each meaty and floral on the identical time. Within the Highland single malt, that is expressed as flavors of redcurrant and lingonberry alongside the distillery’s signature honey notes.
When WhistlePig branched out from rye whiskey just a few months in the past, it headed to the Emerald Isle, co-founding Limavady with longtime Irish whiskey grasp distiller Darryl McNally. The model launched with a triple-distilled single malt, aged initially in ex-bourbon casks and completed in PX sherry casks. Every cask is bottled individually, which means there could be slight variations, however each drop ought to showcase the candy dried fruit flavors and heat spice that PX imparts. At 46 % ABV, it’s an excellent option to match with dessert or a cheese course—or simply solo on the finish of the meal.
7. Bunnahabhain Aonadh
Islay’s Bunnahabhain Distillery doubled up on the wine casks for this restricted version, which was distilled on February 7, 2011 (to be exact). The whisky was crammed into two cask varieties (port and sherry), which spent a decade maturing individually earlier than being mixed for bottling. That full-term wine cask growing old, plus a cask-strength proof of 56.2 % ABV, makes this unpeated single malt impressively wealthy and rounded. Questioning learn how to pronounce the bottle’s Gaelic identify correctly? It’s “oon-ouch.”
8. City Department Sherry Cask-Completed
Lexington, Kentucky-based City Department Distillery opened in 2012 and has been making a few of the state’s most attention-grabbing whiskey ever since. Its new oloroso sherry cask-finished bourbon is the results of a number of years’ price of experimentation by grasp distiller Mark Coffman, who blended a 26-barrel batch with a number of distinctive single barrels to create the ultimate product. The ages of the whiskeys within the mix differ, however most are round six years previous—which City Department says is its candy spot.
9. Highland Park Cask Energy
Till this whisky got here out, cask-strength Highland Park was kind of solely obtainable for those who may discover the odd unbiased bottling—a disgrace, since this whisky at barrel proof is completely unbelievable. Matured primarily in sherry casks made with each American and European oak, it’s supposed to assist drinkers discover their very own palates and the way they greatest prefer to benefit from the whisky. Add water, add ice, heck, add soda if you would like. This characterful single malt can take it. Batch two is simply now hitting cabinets, and makes an excellent comparability with its predecessor or with any of the opposite sherry cask scotches on this record.
10. Macallan Double Cask 30-12 months-Previous
Well-known for its sherry cask maturation, Macallan fastidiously controls the method of making and seasoning barrels in Spain earlier than delivery them off to Speyside to be stuffed with whisky. Which may sound reasonably calculating, however it’s essential to persistently produce the world’s most collectible single malt. For its Double Cask sequence, Macallan makes use of each American and European oak barrels, every imparting distinctive flavors and aromas, because of the various rising situations of the totally different tree species. The 30-12 months-Previous joins 12-, 15-, and 18-12 months-Previous expressions, and is available in a lovely oak field that’s ready-made for a (very beneficiant) host present.
[$4,000; search local distributor; themacallan.com]
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