The holidays are approaching. Which means parties, dinners, and household gatherings—lots of which you’ll wish to attend bearing a gift. 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 power (at all times a minimum of 40 p.c ABV) and class, due to the affect of the ending casks. Their earlier contents may 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 adjustments the flavour of an already-mature bourbon, scotch, or different whiskey that spends a couple of months ending.
The barrel’s affect is most evident in flavors (assume jammy or dried fruit), but it surely additionally exhibits up within the liquid’s texture. Wine casks can beef up velvety texture and luxurious mouthfeel, making a sipping expertise that stands as much as meals pairings—and simply as simply stands by itself.
In the event you flip up to a cocktail party with a bottle of whiskey, it may be opened that evening and loved for so long as the liquid lasts. No want to complete it inside a couple of 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 Royal Salute 21-12 months-Outdated Polo Estancia Version
Blended scotch usually will get ignored 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 changing into heavy or overly dominant with meals. Aged for 21 years, it’s priced extra according to single malts a number of years its junior—one thing solely a mix can pull off.[$250; royalsalute.com]
2. The GlenAllachie 11-12 months-Outdated Grattamacco End (and 13-12 months-Outdated Rioja End)
Speyside single malt scotch distillery GlenAllachie has an entire sequence of limited-edition wine cask-finished whiskies, together with two that just lately debuted within the U.S. Each had been initially aged in ex-bourbon casks earlier than spending nearly 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 p.c ABV, highlighting the pure complexity created by the wine casks. Lower than 1,000 bottles of every made their method stateside, so hold a pointy eye and seize when you discover them.[$110-$130; theglenallachie.com]
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 extraordinary 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 presents an much more particular expertise by its label, which could be custom-made with your personal picture or picture by way of QR code.[$160; compassboxwhisky.com]
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 way in which a couple of decade in the past, providing its flagship port cask-finished bourbon that’s now turn into 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. At all times 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.[$250; www.angelsenvy.com]
5. Aberfeldy 18-12 months-Outdated Pink 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 can be 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.[$130; aberfeldy.com]
When WhistlePig branched out from rye whiskey a couple of 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 is likely to be slight variations, however each drop ought to showcase the candy dried fruit flavors and heat spice that PX imparts. At 46 p.c ABV, it’s a fantastic option to match with dessert or a cheese course—or simply solo on the finish of the meal.[$50; limavady.com]
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 stuffed into two cask sorts (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 p.c ABV, makes this unpeated single malt impressively wealthy and rounded. Questioning the best way to pronounce the bottle’s Gaelic title correctly? It’s “oon-ouch.”[$180; bunnahabhain.com]
8. City Department Sherry Cask-Completed
Lexington, Kentucky-based City Department Distillery opened in 2012 and has been making among the state’s most attention-grabbing whiskey ever since. Its new oloroso sherry cask-finished bourbon is the results of a number of years’ value 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 range, however most are round six years outdated—which City Department says is its candy spot.[$60; lexingtonbrewingco.com]
9. Highland Park Cask Energy
Till this whisky got here out, cask-strength Highland Park was roughly solely obtainable when you may discover the odd unbiased bottling—a disgrace, since this whisky at barrel proof is totally 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 finest 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 a fantastic comparability with its predecessor or with any of the opposite sherry cask scotches on this checklist.[$85; highlandparkwhisky.com]
10. Macallan Double Cask 30-12 months-Outdated
Well-known for its sherry cask maturation, Macallan rigorously controls the method of making and seasoning barrels in Spain earlier than delivery them off to Speyside to be stuffed with whisky. That may sound reasonably calculating, but it surely’s essential to constantly 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, due to the numerous rising circumstances of the totally different tree species. The 30-12 months-Outdated joins 12-, 15-, and 18-12 months-Outdated 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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