Three sherry casks for The Netherlands

A couple of months ago, Whisky Import Nederland, released three new whiskies from their First Cask series. Whisky Import Nederland (WIN) is known for importing a lot of bottlers and brands, BOX whisky, Hunter Laing, Adelphi, Armorik, Berry Brothers & Rudd, Blackadder, Creative Whisky Company and others.

They released these three new single casks under a new label and new bottles for their First Cask series and I decided to do a bottle share with them. In the release was a 14 year old Bruichladdich, a 24 year old Speyside (distillery, not region) and a 26 year old Strathmill.

While labeling the samples I did it wrong, obviously. The region is printed in a large font on the label and I put the Speyside labels on the one which said Speyside. Their Speyside was the region, while the distillery (which I thought I was labeling) is in the Highlands. Of course. To keep things simple.


Strathmill Distillery, 26 years old, distilled 1990, 53.6%

ABV wise this is the low end. Age wise, it’s the high. The nose of this whisky is heavy and fruity. Lots of sherry and old oak with leather and dried plums and dates. All on a solid malty background. The palate is dry with lots of oak (lots lots) and not as smooth as I expected (this is not necessarily a bad thing). Sweet sherry, dried plums and dates. Some bitter almonds, lots of malt and treacle. The finish is long and sweet, with lots of fruit, malt and oak.

A whisky that combines oak, malt and sherry very well. As in, the cask, the materials and the cask’s previous contents are all quite noticeable. But, I can’t say I have an inkling of an idea what Strathmill tastes like now. Still, good whisky!

Speyside Distillery, 24 years old, distilled 1991, 62%

Yes, this one has the second lowest ABV… After twenty-four years it is still at 62%. That either means this was one of the most dense casks ever, or they put it in the cask at a ways above the normal 63.5% Either way, old whisky, high ABV.

The nose is thick with sherry with lots of overripe fruit. Slightly waxy with resin and barley. Some notes of ethanol and some chili peppers. The palate is sharp and fiery with oak and fruit. Some peach, apricot. Also some almonds and stewed black cherries. On the finish it’s surprisingly spirity. Dry with old wood and sweet. Slightly spicy, and quite long.

I read that someone thought this was a totally forgettable Speysider. I think that’s a bit harsh, mostly because of the lovely resin-y notes on the nose. I love that stuff. However, I didn’t find these notes on the palate or finish.

Bruichladdich Distillery, 14 years old, distilled 2002, 64.6%

I have recently rediscovered my love for Bruichladdich’s whiskies, although I have to say that is based mostly on bottlings a bit older than this one. However, it was the one that made me decide to do this bottle-share.

This is different from the get go. The nose gives quite salty sherry. Some dried fruits like dried mango and pineapple. Rather tropical, but also ‘northernly’ with the dry malt, oak and salinity. In a way it has a bit of a tar like scent too. Slightly dirty. The palate is dry, and very sharp (no shit, at almost 65% abv!). Dry with oak, some fruits and a slight bitterness. Almonds, cherry stones, tree bark. A lot of heat from the alcohol but also some chili pepper. Big flavors! The finish gives a lot more fruit. Dry mango and other fruits. Peaches, apricots, the yellow/orange stuff! Very dry, with lots of old, moldy wood. An almond like bitterness again.
I’m not sure what I expected from this one going in, but I sure as hell liked it. My favorite of the three, although they are all rather enjoyable. It might handle some water since the ABV is ridiculously high. I had it neat because it wasn’t my first dram and I was, let’s say, warmed up. Still, the salt, sherry and even the note of tar worked very well for me. Kudos!
So, three enjoyable whiskies, with one standing a bit above the others. I think the Speyside and Strathmill are on par with each other.
My scores would be
Strathmill: 87 points
Speyside: 87 points
Bruichladdich: 89 points.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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