Imagine for a moment caramelised poached pears and shards of salty-sweet praline wrapped in a cloud of peppery peat smoke. We think that’s a fair description of the mouthwatering flavour profile of Cask Strength Release No. 2… and it’s why we call it ‘smoky peppered praline’.
Casks can account for up to 60% of the flavour of our whisky and so for this second release in the Cask Strength series, Gordon Motion, our Master Whisky Maker, selected mainly sherry seasoned European and American oak casks, along with just a few ex-bourbon casks.
Exploring cask influence
The influence of sherry seasoned American oak casks drives vanilla and toffee notes, and fresh and exotic fruit flavours; European oak, on the other hand, influences deeper, richer flavours – think dried fruit and woody spices, citrus notes and stewed orchard fruit. American oak casks that previously held bourbon rather than sherry provide a gentle spicy sweetness, typically revealed in notes of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla and nutmeg.
Gordon’s expert selection and harmonisation of these three different cask types for Cask Strength Release No. 2 delivers a single malt of extraordinary depth and complexity. You’ll find aromas of summer rose, ripe pear and fresh coconut gathering on a wave of aromatic peat smoke, followed by a wild harmony of sweet and spicy flavours - poached pear and rich almond cake, a drizzle of cloudy honey and a twist of salty liquorice. There’s the suggestion of toasted oak and intriguing notes of orchard fruits, while black pepper and sweet aniseed linger in a satisfyingly long finish.
By contrast, Cask Strength Release No. 1 was matured predominantly in sherry seasoned American oak casks of different ages. As a result, it’s rich, sweet and smoky on the nose with aromas of violets and ripe vanilla pods on a wave of aromatic peat smoke. Deep and full-bodied, you’ll find notes of soft toffee, heather honey and freshly grated nutmeg enriched with a concentrated tang of sun-ripened citrus fruit. A long and lingering finish leaves the impression of warm crème brûlée and exotic Eastern spices.
Join Gordon as he leads a tasting of Cask Strength Release No. 2, exploring the influence of the casks he selected on the whisky’s final flavour and character.