A friend of mine gave me a sample of this a little while ago. Last year he visited the distillery on a family holiday to Scotland, if I recall correctly. This cask was available and although it officially doesn’t have too much information on it, except age and ABV, according to people at the distillery the cask used to contain red wine before it was used at this southern Highland distillery.
Generally, this is kind of a no-go for me, but something about a gift horse. Also, with him having tasted a couple of thousand of whiskies, and stating it is quite good, I’m willing to go into the unknown.
A very rich and heavy nose with lots of wet, dark oak. From the get-go it’s clear some grape-alcohol hold sway here. Initially I was in doubt between Port and red wine, but it lacks the more earthy, woody notes of port casks. Some dried fruit like raisins and dates. A bit of rancio too.
Quite a sharp palate, with far more heat than I expected (I just had a dram at the exact samd ABV and this tastes like it’s 10% stronger). Dark oak, raisins, blue grapes, oak and a touch of soil.
The finish mellows quickly and shows a slight chocolate-like sweetness. Also, there’s clearly more wine on the finish, and it’s a bit lighter than the palate.
According to Whiskybase this used to go for £ 120, which I honestly find quite steep for any 13 year old whisky. I am not sure whether it was available to try before you buy at the distillery, but I doubt I would have gone for a 13 year old wine cask whisky at this price. However, after having tried it, it is quite a good whisky indeed!
I like that it shows the cask quite well, even though it hasn’t completely blown the whisky flavors away either. A well done wine maturation/finish.