Know Thy Casks – Edradour’s Amazing Sauternes Cask Used Wrong…..

Edradour is one of the most prolific distilleries as far as wood experimentation goes. There is nary a wood type not used, a wine type not tapped into and a maturation method not tried. It’s also one of the most rustic distilleries, priding itself on being Scotland’s smallest distillery, although this title has been recently usurped by no less than eight smaller ones. Since 2002, the distillery is owned by Signatory.

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I like Sauternes as a finishing wine for whisky, and enjoy the flavor it imparts, I think there aren’t enough expressions with this finish. You can imagine my delight when the first ever Israeli blind tasting, held by the Tapuz Forum administrator Assaf Erel and Sitonaut Binyamina’s Tomer Goren, held an Edradour expression fully matured in Sauternes.

Sadly, the expression does not work, despite being matured in the most stunning Sauternes casks. But here’s the problem: You’re looking for different things in a maturing cask and in a finishing cask. A decade in this cask left the whisky too overpowered, and not much happened with the maturation itself. I’ll get back to this after the notes, and I think this point will be clearer after the notes, which follow:

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Photo Credit:

Edradour 2003 Sauternes Cask, Batch 4, 2275 Bottles, 2275 Bottles (46% ABV, NCF, NC)

Appearance: Deep gold, slow forming legs.

Nose: Very cereal-y, not new make. It seems that the maturation didn’t round out the whisky. Sauternes spice, banana, custard, dishwashing liquid, raw egg, red roses at a florist.

Palate: Sweet wine, some spice, bitter notes of banana, a hot mouthful of cereal porridge.

Linger: Spice in the back of the throat sticking rather long, some mild sweetness with the mouth ending before the spice in the throat.


This batch comes from very powerful Sauternes casks, which would have made AMAZING finishing casks, had only the whisky been more mature.  The casks overpowered the young spirit, but didn’t allow it to properly mature. Shame really…

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