Welcome to the first instalment of my new monthly column, Bottom of the Barrel.
The aim of this feature is to highlight and review a new whisky each month that is on the market at a very low price-point.
Specifically below, a soft, £30.00.
I started taking an interest in more reasonably priced (aka cheap) whiskies when I started getting more into it a year or two ago. I wanted to be able to sit down after a long day at work and have a few drams, but found that I’d be reluctant to, given, that would mean digging into one of the 2 or 3 bottles I owned at the time, which were all £80+.
This is where my quest for a low-cost, “everyday” dram arose.
I’ll be doing my reviews after spending a month living with each bottle (70cl), so hopefully I get a truer measure of what it’s like to actually live with each of these whiskies.
Over time I’ll close in on my elusive quarry and enjoy a good glass or two along the way.
Glen Moray Sherry Cask Finish
Price Paid: £18.00 (On Offer)
Released into the UK market in July 2016, the Sherry Cask Finish is one of the more recent additions to the Glen Moray core line-up.
A NAS whisky that has completed the majority of its maturation in American oak before being transferred into Oloroso sherry casks for a further 8 months, prior to bottling.
If you’re to believe the blurb from the distillery each Oloroso cask was specially selected by the master distiller from the Spanish region of Jerez. Whether that has stopped you in your tracks and sent you running to pick up a bottle with nothing more needing to be said or like me you think that “specially selected by the master distiller” means that the master distiller in question quite fancied a “business trip” over to Spain is neither here nor there.
The bottle is different to the industry standard and has a certain swan-neck copper still look about it with the neck tapering out, cutting in and then drawing out to form the lower portion akin to a standard bottle.
For a sherry finish the colour looks quite light. Somewhere similar to an amber ale.
Straight away you can tell that the sherry influence isn’t going to be huge; but that isn’t everything.
Immediately, cherry cola notes hit the nose with fizzy gummy sweets following closely behind.
Hints of vanilla and cinnamon start showing and catch your attention for a moment but then it’s right back to the cherry cola.
Cherry cola shows up faintly again at the first drop before some dark chocolate starts presenting along with it’s characteristic bitterness.
Gentle sweetness and a little nuttiness start showing from the Oloroso influence.
Extremely thin, watery mouth feel; no doubt due to the 40% ABV.
A long, yet, weak finish.
No fire about it whatsoever.
Cherry cola still ever present with possibly some hints of bubble gum rising up. These flavours die out fairly quickly and a little bit of that dark chocolate/cocoa bitterness takes you through to the close.
Pleasant, interesting dram, with a novel character; a shame that no more sherry influence showed through when they’ve gone to the trouble of using Oloroso casks.
Especially at this price point, a lovely little drop.
TOTAL SCORE: 63
For the £18.00 that I paid, I am very satisfied with this bottle. For just a few pounds more than a bottle of Bells or Grouse I have a completely palatable bottle of single malt.
I’ve seen away less than half of my bottle in the month I’ve owned it and at this price the restraint is definitely not through price-aware-hesitance.
I’ve had a few odd glasses here and there but the majority has gone down as follow-up to something better and more expensive or after a late night at the pub.
The cherry cola and dark chocolate that seems to pervade every molecule of this dram are intriguing to start with but come back to haunt it when you reach to pour a second glass.
Is it what I’m looking for? No, in all honesty it probably isn’t.
I’m looking for something that doesn’t feel like such a novelty and more of a sessionable easy-going whisky that still has enough about it to hold up to those moments when you stop what you’re doing for a moment, look at your glass and actually consider, I mean really consider, how it tastes and what the glass in your hand is actually all about.
I would quite happily pick up another bottle at some point in the future because, even at the RRP of £22.00, to sip on occasionally or to drink with gusto in the early hours there isn’t really much to complain about.