Whiskies aged in first-fill Sherry butts are especially so, and those drawn entirely from such sherried stock are invariably known as “sherry bombs” for the potent flavors the malt whisky has derived from its time spent mingling with the sherry-soaked wood. The ‘Sherried’ character, therefore, is down to the Sherry itself, but also oxidation and the way in which the Sherry has interacted with and changed compounds in the oak. All of these then interact over time with the maturing spirit.
The Sherry and wood form a pincer movement that stamps out distillery character or any sense of identity in the distillate itself. For me, a great Sherry-matured malt should possess a balance between distillery identity, fruitiness, earthiness and a lick of spice. Sherry bombs almost always eschew this tightrope balance in favor of heat, density and aggression of wood flavor.
Glenfarclas 105 is a superb cask strength whisky, with a history that can be traced to 1968. When the original incarnation was released that year, Glenfarclas became the first distillery to release a barrel proof single malt whisky.
The bottling was eventually re-named to 105, referring to its alcohol content in British Proof, which equates now to 60% ABV.
The 105 doesn’t carry an age statement presently, making it rare among Glenfarclas bottlings. Although, there are suggestions that it is matured for 8-10 years in a combination of both ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels.
Drying, assertive and richly spiced, the 105 makes for a superb dram, one the Malt Maniacs rated as the best “Bang for your buck” whisky in 2004. Add a drop of water if you please to explore its depth – and don’t be put off by that ABV, there’s plenty of flavour here to enjoy.
Cask Type: Ex Bourbon & Sherry casks . ABV: 60%
Great depth, lots of sherry on the nose with some Christmas cake, a hint of watermelon and some macadamia nuts. It is not overwhelming despite the high proof.. Creamy and nutty. Honey on toast, touch of smoky coffee.
Silken, spicy and peppery oak. Almond, praline, hazelnut, dried peels, fruity. Touch of Armagnac, hint of rancio perhaps?
Long finish, with lingering bitter metallic woodsiness peppery and nutty.
Balance, Body & Feel
If you want to taste a powerful, Sherry bomb whisky, this is the one! Bottled at cask strength (60%) it is just how a whisky should taste. Try a sip neat, then add water to enhance the subtle flavors.