Shaving – each cask went through a unique shaving process whereby the cask staves have been shaved to expose a combination of lightly wine soaked and virgin oak staves.
Toasting – Using oak chips, this helps to caramelise the wood sugars and vanillins that have been exposed by the shaving process. This is a very delicate process: the wine contained inside of the staves must be caramelized too but overheating can potentially spoil the wine.
Recharred – this increases surface area exposed to the spirit and maximise flavour extraction.
These casks were then partially filled with oloroso sherry to keep the wood hydrated in transit from Spain to Annandale Distillery.
These casks have provoked some real intrigue to us here at Annandale and have always been a favourite to taste during our days within the Annandale warehouses sampling from maturing casks. In fact, by November of 2017, we drew some stock from two of these casks at just 8 months old. We felt it was so stunning in flavour even at just 8 months old that we served it as part of Annandale’s 15th of November launch event- the day in which cask number 1 officially became whisky.
When these casks did ‘come of age’ and after much consideration and discussion, we are delighted to present to you casks 324(Man O’ Words) (filled 16/03/2017) and 357 (Man O’ Sword) (filled 23/03/2017) which were bottled on the 12th June 2020. Two wonderful whiskies which combine delicious fruits including pear, strawberries and coconut with superbly delicate hints of spice and pepper to just tickle the palate.
Tasting Notes (prepared by James Rogerson, Annandale’s Cask & Whisky Specialist):
Founders’ Selection Man O’ Sword (Peated) – Cask 2017/348:
Appearance – Wonderfully rich golden amber hue
Nose – Peat is subtle at first but very reminiscent of tobacco smoke and smoky bacon. This is followed by a hint of coconut and sweet almond cherry Bakewell.
Palate – A huge peat explosion, bringing in earthy notes with smouldering green foliage, creamy vanilla, fresh peach and a slight tickle of black pepper on the back of the throat.