Tomorrow Bergslagen’s Destillery in Örebro will release a new bottling named Sherry Darling, the first in a series of three. This is an independent bottling of a whisky from the now closed Grythyttan Whisky. The following two bottlings, Sherry Darling Lightly Peated and Sherry Darling Peated, will (as the names imply) be peated in different degrees. There has also been rumours of more bottlings of different kinds to come from Bergslagens Independent Bottler.
Sherry Darling no 1
General facts: This is a relatively young whisky matured in sherry casks – however, it’s a tad unclear which type of oak or sherry – where they’ve used approximately 10 casks of 50 litres each to create this single malt. The spirit was distilled in 2011 and bottled five years later by Bergslagens Independent Bottler. The ABV is 58 % and the whisky has neither been coloured nor chill-filtered. The bottle contains 50 cl, costs around £75 and will be available both in Systembolaget’s ordering list and on the shelves of a few, selected monopoly stores in Sweden.
Nose: Loads of raisins. Come to think of it, I haven’t nosed such a raisin-packed whisky in quite a while. It is almost like a wall of raisins that my nose has to fight its way through! I can sense some sort of fresh wood and a bit of resin too. Quite a bit of sweet orange, and also some milk chocolate. Not that many “Christmas spices” really, which I otherwise had expected. Some buttery caramel sauce, oven-baked apples and vanilla after a while. After adding water the whisky calms down significantly, it turns slightly berry and the fudge arrives a bit more.
Taste: Not at all as sweet as the nose initially, and the flavour has a fair share of “bite” to it. There’s still a lot of raisins on the palate, kind of like rum-raisins, and now with good amount of burnt caramel. There is some soft ginger bread here too. And sherry – oh my Lord, this whisky sure tastes of sherry. After a while I taste something bitter-sour too, a bit like lingonberries together with dark chocolate. Didn’t IKEA sell chocolate like that awhile ago, by the way? Never mind, when adding water the flavours are balanced out some more and the whisky first turns sweeter, then more tangy with some clementine or satsuma and also becomes spicier.
Finish: A nutty note runs through the whole finish, with a lot of wet leather and the same raisin notes as in the nose and taste. Adding water sadly makes the aftertaste a bit too dry for my taste, but on the brighter side a nice streak of dark chocolate and harsh tobacco arrive, which is more to my liking.
Okey, this is for sure tasty, no doubt about it. For those of you who adore sherry bombs I recommend you to keep an eye out for this bottling. For my part I do think the sherry notes smothers the whisky a bit too much, as if the original spirit isn’t very noticeable amongst all of the heaps of sherried raisins. However, the whisky wins when it comes to the aftertaste, where you all of the sudden can pick up other, more rough taste notes than general sherry and dried fruits. According to me this whisky really needs to be watered, and after that shows other qualities than it did before. This makes my overall impression of the dram more positive, and I hope that the following Sherry Darlings also shows some variation concerning cask maturation. That not every bottling in this series is an interpretation on the theme “sherries with a hint of whisky”, but instead show different levels or expressions of sherry influence. Lot of people will most likely keep this “darling” close to their heart, but for my part I look even more forward to seeing how number two and number three smell and taste, in the hope of a somewhat less extreme sherry maturation as at least one option of the remaining two darlings.