A friend of mine from Israel has a story to tell on each whisky bottle he has. Some of his bottles even have more than one story. His stories can range from how he found this obscure bottle in a shop in Spain, or how his third cousin happened to be in passing through some small town where a bottle of his was waiting for three years after being shipped from a store that only ships to two towns in Slovenia. For most of us, and most bottles, however, we have no glorious stories. Either we ordered them and they arrived, or we went to the store and picked them up, no story….
Well, casks are the same. Most casks are just casks. Came to the distillery, got filled, sat in warehouse, got dumped, and then got refilled, no story….
But some casks do have stories. Like this one.
In the early days of the distillery, casks were filled directly off the stills, and it took more than one spirits distillation to fill a 225 liter cask. This cask was filled with only 130 liters and placed in storage. David discoverer that he didn’t fill the cask all the way up only when he first looked at the spirit, at about 6 months. These were the very early days, and stock that was 6 months into the maturation was about a sixth of the way done, so refilling it and resetting the clock made no sense. Thus, the cask matured with only 130 liters, and three years later, with 17% gone to the angels, yielded only 109 liters. Due to the small amount, David chose to bottle the whole amount at 46% and not offer his customary 40 bottles per cask at cask strength.
The cask itself is a first fill ex Cabernet European oak cask, matured for three years.
Golan Heights Distillery Single Malt, First Fill Cabernet French Oak Cask #16, Distilled 29 March 2015, Bottled 11 April 2018, 190 Bottles (46% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Amber, legs are thin and evenly spaced.
Nose: Sweet glazed baked goods, hint of mint and maybe sage, yellow raisins, some berries, and the wine itself.
Palate: Herbal and dry, with a very warm mouth feel. There’s also white pepper, cough drops, mint, sage and thyme are on the palate.
Linger: Wood spices on the tongue (gentle cinnamon and clove), dry, with a herbal note (mint and sage).
So far we’ve had three single casks from the distillery. This may be a bit unfair, as I’ve tasted casks 1 and 10 at cask strength (61.4% and 62.1% respectively), while cask 16 is at 46%, but in terms of flavor profile, this is the least sweet of the three casks. It’s also far tamer, but that may just be the ABV. It’s good, but not as stellar as cask 1.
The difference? Cask 1 was first fill American oak Cabernet wine cask, this was a first fill European oak Cabernet cask, and I suspect the different type of oak took this one much farther into the dry and tannic influences.