Dear friends and followers alike! When working the Beer & Whisky-festival in Gothenburg in late March I ran into Pär Caldenby, the distillery manager/master distiller of swedish west coast distillery Smögen. To my great joy he was very keen on sharing a sample of the first release in his second series on the influence of sherry cask maturation, rightfully named Sherry Project 2:1.
This first release in this new series consists of a vatting of 18 so called Octaves (50 litre casks) that previously were used to mature (oloroso) sherry. The Octaves are made from american white oak and are fresh/first fill. The casks were filled with heavily peated new make (in Smögens case meaning just above 50 ppm) in april 2013 and drawn from cask/bottled on the 6th of May 2017 at 4yo and held 53,6% ABV. The casks used are number 18-35/2013 and they gave 1382 bottles. Please feel free to read Pärs own words on Sherry Project 2:1 in the picture below (click the pic to enlarge):
Since Sherry Project 1 dealt with the particular impact and style of sherry quarter casks it could be that this new series Sherry Project 2 might deal only with sherry Octaves of different ages, but, that is just speculation from my part.
Here in Sweden Sherry Project 2:1 will be released tomorrow (1st of June) and you can view the product by clicking here. 1056 bottles will be available.
Also tomorrow, Smögen Single Bourbon Cask 18/2012 5yo (the sister cask of Smögen Wee Swede 17/2012) will be released, only 276 bottles available and you can view that product by clicking here.
Ok, let's see what we have!
Very intriguing! There are mainly two layers. The first layer is sort of a mix of fruit and ”perfume”; we have slices/pieces of orange, lemon peel, peach candy and interestingly enough apple cidre and wine vinegar (first time for me to find vinegar). The second layer consists of some really earth-y stuff; we have green peppercorn (perhaps even green peppercorn-gravy?), cookie dough, rich/full-bodied vanilla almost moving on into newly ground vanilla-flavoured coffee. There is also definitely a smell of pine-needles. In fact, the smell of pine-needles is almost moving on into cinnamon in some hard-fetched way… What about the peat? The peaty-ness is definitely to be found in the earthy layer, and for being Smögen the peat is very, very soft and almost impossible to be separated from all the vanilla and vanilla coffee going on here. Very interesting mix of fragrances!
Wow, wow indeed… actually starts off on the fruity/perfum-y side of things, quite citric with the apple cidre and wine vinegar dominating but we also have dark raisins making an entrance. But all of this is very, very briefly (1-2 seconds or so) because after that some really beautiful and fat vanilla takes over (vanilla pod and heated full-fat cream) moving quickly into all the earthy stuff; here we definitely also have some earth (soil) and moss, but most of all the peat is in the center of attention. Actually it’s vanilla-peat and pine needle-peat! Lots and lots of vanilla intermingling with very soft peat. I would describe the peaty-ness sort of as a mix between Laphroaig and Bowmore. Thinking of the aftertaste, it takes this whisky a short amount of time to arrive at the aftertaste, however, what does linger in the aftertaste is all the vanilla and all the soft peat.
To sum up:
For me, this is not a typical or ordinary sherry matured peated whisky (if there is such a thing, but you know); I did expect some of those classic sherry-fragrances and sherry-taste, such as lots and lots of raisins and dried figs. However, I did not find anything resembling a typical sherry matured peated whisky, the raisins did not make an entrance until the taste and it was not at all what i thought of first. One can tell that this definitely is american oak, and that is because of all the vanilla. Concluding with just one more thing, the mix of vanilla and peat in this one is absolutely wonderful! Big thanks to Pär for sharing a sample of Sherry Project 2:1 and for the opportunity to review and try it before the release! Sláinte!
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