Thursday, August 4, 2016

Review - Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish

The Sherry Cask Finish is the latest expression to the added to the popular core single malt range of the Elgin-based distillery of Glen Moray.  The new whisky sees Glen Moray malt firstly matured in ex-American oak casks before being transferred to ex-sherry casks and matured in them for a minimum of eight months.  The Sherry Cask Finish joins three other expressions - the Elgin Classic, the Classic Peated and the Port Cask Finish - in the range, which is designed to offer a wide choice of flavours to consumers and show the versatility of the Glen Moray spirit.

The Glen Moray distillery is located in the Speyside region of Scotland and sits on the outskirts of the town of Elgin, next to the River Lossie. The distillery started life as the West  Brewery in 1828 and was later converted to become a whisky distillery in 1897.  After a slightly chequered early history, it is currently owned by the French drinks company La Martiniquaise.  They took control in 2008 after buying the distillery from Moet Hennessey.

La Martiniquaise embarked on a massive expansion programme, which is now complete and has resulted in an annual production capacity of six million litres.  This makes Glen Moray one of the larger distilleries in Speyside now.  The whisky produced Glen Moray is used for a number of La Martiniquaise's own blended whiskies, namely Label 5 and Glen Turner, as well as the expanding range of single malts.  The main market for Glen Moray single malts is the UK.

"The Glen Moray Classic Collection is a wonderful introduction to our single malt range.  The Sherry Cask Finish is a celebration of the age old tradition of maturing whisky in the finest Oloroso sherry casks."
Graham Coull - Glen Moray Distillery Manager.

The Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish is bottled at 40% ABV and is available through supermarkets and specialist whisky retailers alike.  The recommended retail price is £25 a bottle.

Our tasting notes
The colour is golden yellow and the nose is sweet, sugary and packed with dried fruit and malty aromas - think of sultanas, brown sugar and a hint of candied orange peel in particular.   Other aromas include toffee, fudge and honeycomb plus hints of vanilla, cinnamon and straw.

On the palate this whisky is initially quite malty, fresh and vibrant.  The bittersweet cereals rise first and seem to grip the taste buds.  Then comes a lovely note of crisp green fruits (imagine apples and pears especially) and this is joined by a range of delicious sweet notes.  These include crumbly brown sugar, toffee, fudge and milk chocolate.  Underneath are distinct hints of crunchy honeycomb and baking spice (cinnamon and all-spice in particular) along with notes of dried fruits such as sultanas, raisins, candied orange and lemon peel.

The finish is short and sweet.  The toffee/fudge and fruity notes fade to leave the maltiness and baking spices.  The final note is of  a crisp green apple.  Then the flavours have gone and you have to reach for the next sip.

What's the verdict?
This is another good offering from Glen Moray and one that gives great value for money.  How can it only be £25 for a bottle?  Other companies are releasing similar products at £35-40 or even higher, and this strategy should be applauded.

This aside, the whisky is enjoyable and easy drinking.  It offers plenty to the drinker and the Classic range really does now offer something for everyone - a classic bourbon cask, a peaty one, the fruitier and richer Port cask expression and now a classic ex-sherry cask - and at affordable prices.

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