Doesn’t really take a huge deal of explanation, this one, does it?
What we’ve gone and done is take a range of delicious single malts, and finished them for a touch over 3 months in specially commissioned, 50 litre, First-Fill Sherry casks.
Traditionally known as ‘Octave Casks’, these smaller-than-average maturation vessels give a significantly greater surface area to volume ratio, meaning more cask-influence, and more of that superb rich, Christmas-cakey deliciousness that we all know and love from heavily-sherried whiskies.
This, we think, is a good thing, and that’s why we had our friends at Speyside Cooperage build them specifically for this project from cut-down Fresh Sherry Hogsheads.
For launch, we’ve gone with a collection of 12 whiskies from a total of 10 distilleries, including an amazing 21yo Ardbeg and a 15yo Macallan…
We’ve concentrated on 2 kinds of Sherry for the launch – Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez. There will definitely be an expansion on the types of sherry in due course, but for the introductory range we thought we'd go for the best-known and loved.
Perhaps counter-intuitively, the more powerful of the two casks are the Oloroso – lending big, brash, muscular sherry influence whilst the Pedro Ximenez lend a more subtle, light, raisin-character to the spirits matured therein. If I had to guess, I'd say that the lower viscosity of the Oloroso allows it to penetrate further into the cask walls, whilst the thick and syrupy PX is absorbed to a lesser degree.
It's fair to say that none of these whiskies are exactly – *ahem* – subtle... The cask influence here is *huge*. If balance, poise and sophistication are what you're after, these, my friend, are not for you. Run a mile and buy something Irish and from a bourbon cask. Bushmills 10yo is lovely.
If, however, you want an ultimate Sherried beast? Hi there. This is for you, and you are *welcome*. Welcome to the world of Darkness...
Darkness! Macallan 15 Year Old Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish – 52.3% – 94 bottles – £109.95
Darkness! Benrinnes 15 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 52.9% – 96 bottles – £59.95
Darkness! Benrinnes 15 Year Old Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish – 53.3% – 94 bottles – £59.95
Darkness! Ardbeg 21 Year Old Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish – 40.1% – 96 bottles – £ 119.95
Darkness! Clynelish 16 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 54.9% – 94 bottles – £74.95
Darkness! Dailuaine 15 Year Old Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish – 53.9% – 96 bottles – £69.95
Darkness! Aberlour 20 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 53.4% – 96 bottles – £59.95
Darkness! Aberlour 20 Year Old Pedro Ximénez Cask Finish – 53.7% – 97 bottles – £59.95
Darkness! Aultmore 16 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 53.6% – 81 bottles – £77.95
Darkness! Glen Moray 22 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 57.8% – 88 bottles – £99.95
Darkness! Tomintoul 18 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 52.7% – 95 bottles – £69.95
Darkness! North British 18 Year Old Oloroso Cask Finish – 50.4% – 94 bottles – £69.95
More of these will be along in due course, but due course in this instance is probably just before Christmas, so if you want to get your hands on these, act fast. Note the (ludicrously small) outturns. That's all I'm saying.