Due to the summer break, Whisky Experience now has a 3-month blank on its tasting schedule. For Aaron and me this will be tough. After all, we attended the fun and friendly whisky gatherings, which the company’s owner Norbert hosts in the center of Hamburg, quite often. And we always had an amazing time. To bid our (temporary) farewells properly, we arranged an out-of-line date with Norbert last Saturday, focusing on the influence that different casks and finishes have on a whisky.
As you can see from the pictures I took, we were presented with quite an exquisite selection of drams, originating not only from all over Scotland but also from Ireland and France. We started with the Balvenie Caribbean Cask and the Hyde No. 4, both of which were finished in rum casks. True to its name, the first was jam-packed with exotic fruits such as banana, coconut and kiwi. The rum finish also left strong marks here, adding notes of raisins and vanilla. Due to its light complexion and gentle mouthfeel, this was a fantastic starter. In direct comparision to the 14-year-old Scotch, the half-as-old Hyde No. 4 from Ireland was a lot more juvenile and wild – a punchy malt that showed us how much fun a young spirit can be!
We proceeded with two precious sherry bombs, namely a 16yo Dalmore bottled by The Maltman and a 15yo Glenfarclas from an Oloroso cask. While the first received a sherry finish, the latter spent all of its time in a barrel that contained said beverage before. Besides the signature fruitiness that the contact of the liquid with sherry-infused wood produces, the Dalmore also had wonderful chocolate and marzipan flavours. The Glenfarclas, on the other hand, was especially sweet and rich. Both of these bottlings were real highlights of the line-up Norbert had assembled for us!
Having begun the evening with rum finishes and then moved on to sherry influences, we ended it with a wine-formed whisky and a port-shaped dram. Despite its very young age of 5 years, the Armorik Vinho 2011 by the French Warenghem Distillery was very elegant and smooth. In it, I found pleasant notes of sweet grapes, apricots and creme brulee. Two drops of water made the mouthfeel even rounder and unleashed additional flavours. Our last drink of the day was Talisker’s Port Ruighe. Although I am a huge fan of that legendary distillery from the Isle of Skye, I did not have this particular expression before. But the good things I heard and read about it proved to be true after the first sip I took. The Port Ruighe has all of Talisker’s signature qualities – a strong sting of sea air, an intense bite of pepper and a smouldering burn of smoke. Yet, the port finish also gave the whisky a meaty quality that I found to be particularly intriguing and that made it a more than worthy finale!
Balvenie Caribbean Cask (14yo / Scotch / Rum Finish / Speyside / 43% / 54.90 Euro)
Hyde No. 4 (NAS / Irish Whiskey / Rum Finish / Ireland /46% / 39.00 Euro)
Dalmore 16yo by The Maltman (16yo / Scotch / Sherry Finish / Highlands / 46% / 64.00 Euro)
Glenfarclas 2000 Sherry Cask (15yo / Scotch / Sherry Cask / 46% / 49.00 Euro)
Armorik Vinho 2011 (5yo/ French Whisky / Wine Cask / France / 53% / 58.00 Euro)
Talisker Port Ruighe (NAS / Scotch / Port Finish / Islands / 45.8% / 42.90 Euro)
Whisky Experience: https://www.whisky-experience.de/
The Maltman: https://www.facebook.com/themaltmansinglemalt/