Sherry is not only experiencing its own revival, but has also set off a hot trend in the world of whisky. Refill sherry barrels have been used in the maturation of whisky for centuries, but some of the finest single malt producers are turning to first fill casks – casks that have aged sherry but are being used for the first time to mature whisky – to bring distinctive flavours to limited-edition whiskies.
Talisker, the oldest distillery on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, has just released its exceptional TaliskerBodegaSeries: 40YO, which is finished in casks that previously aged Bodegas Delgado Zuleta’s award-winning 40-year-old Amontillado.
“The five casks have been handselected by Delgado Zuleta’s master cooper (a cooper is the person who makes the casks) to offer the best expression of the sherry,” says Donald Colville, Global Malts Ambassador at Talisker.
As the casks have been used only for sherry, the wood strongly retains the flavours, which interact strongly with the whisky, adding waves of fruit and sweetness to Talisker’s trademark pepper. There’s rich raisin, peaty aromas and a fruity smokiness. When using a first fill cask, even a day can make a difference to the flavour and aroma of the whisky.
Only 2,000 bottles of the Talisker BodegaSeries:40YO have been produced, priced at around GBP2,750. Limited numbers of bottles will soon be available in the Asian market.