Besides being an utterly crappy Steve Perry song, sherry, at least casks that used to store sherry, are sometimes used to age whisky. And Suntory has taken dead aim at this flavor profile by releasing a sherry cask Yamazaki. What makes Suntory’s sherry cask expression unique is that they purposefully condition the wood/casks with their own sherry. Then once the casks have been seasoned properly, the sherry contents are dumped out (as it is not drinkable) and then whisky is put in to age and absorb the flavors. Many folks thought very highly of this expression so we had to pick up a bottle and give it a try.
A rich and belligerent red with a nose that wastes no time asserting itself. Red wine and ropey-sweet (that is a good thing). No need to set the sherry out for visitors, this will do the job. Breathe in and feel the salt, the fruit, the lush water and the darkening sugars. And they all drown you in a plumb jam where you’ll stay buried. Through temptation and war. Rich, sharp, and charred. Intensely coating. Then rise to the wine and wood. Sugars and berries, dense and assertive, will play and hang about. Sherry has commandeered the flavor profile and shown it a grand time. Not timid in the least and not for the rabbit-hole-averse. Don’t make it your first dram, wait and savor the potential. Then revel and delight at the re-awakening of your taste buds. Yum. This isn’t a whisky that held hands with a barrel, it gave its body and heart to that barrel, and the result was nothing less than intense. And, as I mentioned, yummy.
Color: Dark copper and brown, might be mistaken for some cola
Nose: A rich full nose, unmistakably heavy sweet sherry, dark fruit bouquet: plums, raisins, black cherries, caramel – reminiscent of Japanese custard pudding, wax coating, candles?, earthy, sasparilla soda
Palate: Initially very smooth, no rough edges and elegantly reveals sweet sherry, black cherries, some cola notes, brown sugar, oaky bite, drying, back to the clean sherry with malty doughiness, dark spices, dusty, fungal/earthy tones, a touch of sulpher right at the end
Comments: This expression is definitely for those with a sherry tooth – ’cause that is exactly what you are going to get. It is very well put together and nothing sticks out of place. It is a little sweet and over the top sherry for my personal tastes, so I would really enjoy one dram of this but not much more in one session.