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Now In Stock: Rare, Under-The-Radar Sherry Aged Cask Selections - 03/04/2017 - Single Malt Scotch

In our continuing effort to find the best single cask expressions in the market, we recently acquired a trio of selections from “Old Malt Cask.” Stunning in terms of both quality and value, these bottlings are sure to please many a Scotch drinker. Coming from Caol Ila, Talisker, and the rarely seen Allt-a-Bhainne each are classic representatives of their style. The most aged of the group is the 19 Year Old from Allt-a-Bhainne from Speyside - almost never in the market, you can be forgiven for not being familiar with the name. A supple and seductive style, it is the perfect dram for those who enjoy the more decadent side of Scotch. Next are the 6 Year Olds from Talisker and Caol Ila, both are perfectly splendid renditions showing great malty character and, in the case of Coal Ila delightful peat and smoke. As with our other single malts, we expect these to fly off the shelf as with prices like these they are an absolute steal.

Vintage Item Name Score Qty Retail Link
1996 Allt-a-Bhainne 19 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) >36 $79.99 View
2009 Talisker 6 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) >36 $49.99 View
2009 Caol Ila 6 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) >36 $49.99 View

1996 Allt-a-Bhainne 19 Year Old

1996 Allt-a-Bhainne 19 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($79.99)

While the market for mature, sherry-aged single malt whiskies continue to soar, we're using our wits to secure outstanding under-the-radar single cask selections and save our customers some serious dough. Allt-a-Bhaine is a Speyside distillery that's part of the Chivas Blended empire and the whisky rarely sees the spotlight as a single malt release. It's never been released by Chivas as an official brand, but it does pop up every now and again on the independent market. While the malt itself is classically Speyside in character with vanilla, fruit, and a sweet malty note, this particular sherry butt from the Old Malt Cask series drinks more like a Macallan or Glenfarclas release with its dark caramel and toffee flavors. At 100 proof, the spice is dialed up and pronounced, but it's no match for the supple and unctuous character of the sherry that coats the palate in a wave of decadence. Our pricing continues to blow away anything comparable on the market and we're confident that malt lovers everywhere will find the quality their looking for in this selection, even if the distillery name itself is unfamiliar.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 03, 2017

This bottling is the first time that I have had a chance to taste something from this distillery. If this cask is what Allt A'Bhainne has to offer, hopefully we can see more in the future . It shows the sherry barrel aging, offering soft and round dried fruit and caramel flavors. This is topped off with seductive aromas of honey and bee's wax. It is on the dry side with a nice long finish. All of the flavor components come together to create an exceptional single malt.

Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 03, 2017

A couple of days ago I was helping a customer pick out single malts and he was lamenting the lack of exclusive sherry casked goodies on the shelf. I just told him to be patient and that patience has been rewarded. This is another example of when sherry casking and cask strength get it exactly right. A sweet rich nose with hints of chocolate and plum spice pudding lead to a smooth creamy taste. Butterscotch and vanilla pudding with hints of almonds meld into a dry and long finish with baking spice notes. Due to how rich it is there is not a ton of heat here, although opening it up with a little water allows the finish to sing even more.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 02, 2017

You don't have to be paying attention to catch the sherry on this bad boy. Generous and supple this gem is loaded up on fudge, almonds, malt, cocoa, vanilla, fruits and balanced out by a pinch of salinity. The finish is long and sweet yet with a dash of wood tannin it feels quite dry. All in all, very well balanced, well priced whisky. Another victory for the strong dollar and David's hard work scouring the cellars.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 01, 2017

As the spirits guy here at K&L, I get a lot of emails from consumers (both who shop with K&L and abroad) asking about the availability of classic sherry aged whiskies like Macallan 18 and Glendronach 18; two rich and delightful whiskies that we used to sell in large quantities before the price hikes went into effect. While the new reality of Scotch pricing is old news to most of us at this point, there are still people out there suffering from sticker shock. It was only about six years ago that we were selling Macallan 18 for under $100 and getting single barrel cask strength selections from Glendronach for just above that price. Today, however, those whiskies (and similar options from other distilleries) are in the $160-$250 range due to the lack of mature, sherry-aged selections on the market. It's for that reason that I've spent the last two years digging deep into some of Scotland's oldest cellars, pulling out casks from distilleries that don't have the prestige or the pull, but do have the quality and the value. The Allt-a-Bhainne is another example of that hard work. Normally used as a component for Chivas, this is rich, spicy, and smooth sipping sherry aged single malt for a price that reminds me more of 2007 than 2017. I've been having a lot of fun with this Brexit pricing. I'm hoping you guys are enjoying it too!

2009 Talisker 6 Year Old

2009 Talisker 6 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($49.99)

Of the few young Talisker casks we're been able to procure over the years, this one tastes the most like what we expect from the Skye producer. It's loaded with equal parts salt, smoke, fruit, and sweet malt character with a spray of sea water on the finish, reminiscent of the rugged island terrain. Finding independent editions of Talisker is not an easy task in this market, so we're keen to jump on any opportunity that arises, but when the cask itself is a refill sherry hogshead rather than just a standard oak cask, our enthusiasm rises even further. While the sherry character isn't overtly pronounced, it melds softly into the blend and adds a lovely accent of stone fruit to that maritime influence. Fans of the distillery should be excited to taste something new and flavorful from one of Scotland's truly legendary producers.

Julio Santos | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 04, 2017

Wow! The whisky tastes much older than its age statement one of the best young whiskies Ive tasted. Vanilla, sweet apples and light smoke on the nose. The palate is a smooth marriage of fruit, dark chocolate, brown sugar and caramel, the lingering finish is dry with a hint of smoke. It will not last long on our shelves once our customers get a taste.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 03, 2017

Lively and energetic, this cask of Talisker is a real treat. The sherry influence is subtle providing perhaps just a hint of softness. Talisker fans will still get their smoke and sea salt all wrapped up in a delicious package.Young Talisker bottlings seem to show very nicely and this selection is no exception.

Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 03, 2017

Young whiskey, especially Scotch is always fun to taste for me, but it is rarely smooth or well balanced which comes with age. However, this sherry casked young Talisker seems to make a bit of an exception to this rule. Vanilla and iodine floral notes on the nose immediately tell you that this is an Island Scotch with Sherry influence. The taste is a surprisingly complex mix of spiced coffee, peach tea, and sharp peat notes. Not overly smokey and a light finish that is long and lingering and completely tasty. This is still young and has heat but it tastes put together and ready to dink, especially at this price.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 01, 2017

Talisker isn't an easy whisky to track down in the private cask market, because Johnnie Walker covets every single drop of it. It's only been the last few years that we've seen that tight grasp loosen just a bit, allowing us to snag a few single casks for the store. This OMC version is by far the best we've ever located. It's absolutely brimming with flavors of the sea, all accented and made richer by the sherry influence from the cask. The fruit is chewy on the finish and the salty sea character turns the whole thing into salted caramel and subtle smoke. I could drink this all day long, over and over, and never get tired of it. This one's going to be a real fan favorite, especially for fans of Talisker who rarely get to try something new.

2009 Caol Ila 6 Year Old

2009 Caol Ila 6 Year Old "Old Malt Cask" Single Sherry Barrel Single Malt Whisky (750ml) ($49.99)

While the market for mature casks of single malt Islay whisky has dried up over the last year, there are a number of value barrels like this 6 year sherry hogshead release from Old Malt Cask that emphasizes the youthful fruit and smoke of the famed island stalwart rather than richness of age. The refill sherry hogshead accents the inherent roundness of Caol Ila quite splendidly and at 100 proof there's enough potency to push the peat and the salt through all that creaminess. Those looking for a concentrated and unique single barrel experience will be pleased by how different the 6 year tastes next to the standard 12 year edition, but loyalists to Caol Ila will recognize instantly its trademark character of fruit and smoke.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 05, 2017

Young Coal Ila always seen to be expressive and lively and this bottling is no exception. In the nose there is smoke with a very subtle fruit undertone. In the mouth there are fruit, malt, salt and smoke flavors. The sherry influence is very light providing a kiss of fruit. A nice long finish where the salt flavors show completes the package.

Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 03, 2017

Young Caol Ila always delivers exactly what one thinks it will, and that is no mean feat. Iodine and peat with some subdued floral notes indicate with no uncertainty that this is a young Islay and not just from anywhere. Sharp, almost aggressive peat and iodine with bright young fruit and seaweed notes are all layered in this with a spice that rises like the tide toward the finish. In my book nothing screams young Islay to me in the same way young Caol Ila does, and for those who know there is simply no substitute.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 02, 2017

Big and young Caol Ila. Salty and herbal - like dried Nori- this young buck is full of iodine, cooked and candied apples, smoky, and a little dusty. For all of the grace that ancient smoky whisky can offer, there is definitely something to be said for the brash and spunky young smoke of a great malt like Caol Ila. It's a clean and bright smoke and feels full of life and earth.

David Driscoll | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: March 01, 2017

The nose on this young Caol Ila is absolutely haunting, eminating with seaweed, smoke, and freshly-cut peat, all bolstered by the fruit-forward malty character that I typically associate with the Island distillery. For those of you who swear by Johnnie Walker Black, this is the flavor that binds that whisky together. Caol Ila is the backbone to that whisky's core. Here, however, it's allowed to shine in an expression that's just old enough to showcase complexity, but also young enough to shine a spotlight on the best parts of youth. The smoke is bright, high-toned, and sultry. The sherry turns the sweet malt into a toasted almond note on the finish. The peat is clean and fragrant, rather than tired or marred by oak. This is a lovely whisky and it's one that's just as appropriate for spring as it is winter, in my opinion.