Special release Cask Samples May 2020 – by Gary Haggart, Distillery Manager
Today, I have been sampling the 3 finalists for this years Special Release Cask filling.
All 3 are from France but they do come from different regions ( left to right in the photo) so either being close to the Spanish border on the Mediterranean side with a similar style to Muscat but not exclusively using the Muscat grape, the middle sample being central west coast France and very much maritime, the grapes can be white, red or rose and lastly the lightest of the samples can be found close to the Dordogne River and in a classic French Wine making region.
All 3 samples are over 5 years old and have AOC accreditation “ protected designation of Origin “or Terroir if you like.
The left sample on the nose and palate: firstly, it has a light brownish amber with orange reflections. On the nose honey, bread and orange notes, on the palate, fresh and dense, with great balance, again candied orange and nut, backed by dark spicy and barrel aromas with a hint of a coffee note which stay in during the long finish, Very good, very drinkable – a strong contender!
The middle sample, on the nose and palate, firstly, it has a pale gold colour, sweet and floral, reminiscent of tinned-peach syrup, but the spirit in it, turns it into a booze trifle! On the palate the spirit mellows and richer prune, cinnamon and almond come to the front, again this denseness and balance, this is going to be hard – another contender, similar in style to the first sample but so much more rounded, think a bottle of this may have to be purchased.
The right sample on the nose and palate, firstly, it has this dried straw like colour but it is so sweet, with honey and elderflower and this hint of grapefruit, On the palate it becomes intense with peach, apricot and ripe figs, again that honey note but specifically clover honey, if you have not tried clover honey, please do it is so floral and light, which you would expect!
So that’s the three samples, we have single casks filled last year with 2 of the tasted samples but the middle sample is new to Lindores. It’s interesting that Honey plays a big part in nosing fortified wines, luckily I like honey, sampled lots of it when there was an idea it could help with Hay fever, we also have Honey Bee’s onsite as well, which should start producing very soon!
So decisions, decisions – which one do we pick, I would like to go with all three but that wouldn’t make it special. I am leaning to the middle sample as it has such a luscious mouthfeel that coupled with our similar spirit would have the drinker diving right back in for another sip of that dram, they just couldn’t help themselves, it also has a complexity that I just find encapsulating.
As I write this , I realise, I am so fortunate that my bosses and owners of Lindores, allow me this element of freedom that gives us the opportunity to fill that cask that not many other people are currently using. For me, it is without doubt one of my favourite parts of the job, that opportunity to add that extra ingredient, that turns the fabulous into the sublime.
I will let you know which casks we choose and what we filled and why, will also tell you a lot more about the history of the casks, where they came from and give you that insight, but I won’t tell you until I have filled them, somethings are best coming as a surprise!
Until then, stay safe and take care…
Gary Haggart – Distillery Manager
Cask Ownership at Lindores Abbey Distillery
This year we will be offering 4 exclusive opportunities to purchase from our strictly limited premium releases. We will always offer them to the 1494 Members and the Cask Owners of Lindores Abbey early, so by becoming a 1494 Member or a Cask Owner you will always be notified first.
The distillery is of course currently closed but you can still chat to Elliot, our Cask Custodian about our cask ownership scheme and what is involved. We still have a lot of exciting projects going on with different types of casks coming through – but they are all very limited so get in touch if you would like to explore different opportunities within the whisky world. You can contact Elliot on firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more at https://lindoresabbeydistillery.com/welcome-lindores-abbey-distillery/cask-ownership/