What’s better than an old-school video game? An old-school video game reference-packed, wine cask-finished, holding-no-punches whisky tasting box, that’s what! Introducing the best way to stave off the January blues (or continue the celebrations, if you’re just glad that 2020 is finally over): our January box-of-the-month, Maltal Kombat. This limited edition box sees 3 whiskies from English upstarts The Lakes Distillery go head-to-head with 3 more from longstanding Scotch Highlander, Tullibardine, in an epic battle of wine cask deliciousness. Who will win? Well you, of course! Finish them!
Wine cask finished whiskies have become a lot more prevalent in recent years, thanks to more distilleries experimenting with different styles. If you’re interested in knowing more, we covered off different types of wine casks in another recent blog post all about unusual whisky barrels.
And because we are secretly big fans of classic arcade games and can’t avoid a good pun, we thought it would be fun to give this box a knock-out style theme. Here are the 6 delicious whiskies you can try in the January 2021 box of the month.
The Lakes Distillery, in the northern Lakes district, have built a solid reputation for meticulous attention to detail, on both their own recently-released single malts and their range of unique, high quality blends. For this blend, they take an extremely small batch of malt and grain Scotch whiskies from Speyside and Islay, and pair with their own Lakes Distillery single malt. It’s then finished in American oak casks seasoned with Vino de Naranja, an Andalusian aromatised wine macerated with bitter oranges. Incredibly unusual, and a heck of a fruit bomb!
One reason tasting flights are great: pit two similar whiskies head-to-head and see the differences clearly. This Lakes Distillery whisky starts with a very similar base whisky blend to their orange wine expression, but is aged instead in first-fill Tawny and Ruby port casks. It’s a fascinating experience to see how these two very different cask finishes have influenced the whisky in such dramatic (and delicious) ways.
This is what the Lakes was founded for: their house style, sherry-led single malt whisky. Now sold out, we were lucky enough to get our hands on this batch especially for this box. Here the whiskymakers at The Lakes show off their chops: they ferment and distil their single malt slowly and carefully, before maturing it in the finest PX, Oloroso, Cream Sherry and red wine casks they can get their hands on. English whisky is really giving Scotch a run for its money here!
Founded in 1949, the Tullibardine Distillery sits close to the Ochil Hills in the Highlands of Scotland. When new owners took on the distillery in 2011, they breathed new life into it with a range of innovative cask-finished whiskies: we’d say it was working well! This elegant, creamy and sweet single malt was finished in 225 litre Sauternes dessert wine casks, hence the name.
Another one for the wine connoisseurs: this time, Tullibardine’s single malt has been finished in not just any red wine cask, but ex-pinot noir barriques from Chateau de Chassagne-Montrachet. These casks, from one of Burgundy’s top producers, are 228 litres in size, and are what give the whisky its beautiful deep auburn hue as well as its name. Red wine casks can be overpowering, but when used sparingly as a finish they can add deep red fruit notes and structure to a whisky.
25 years is a long time to spend in a sherry cask. In fact, 25 years is only the minimum age of this single malt – some of the whisky in here is supposedly even older! Tullibardine have used a mix of first- and second-fill ex-sherry hogsheads for this well-aged malt. This has enabled the whisky to gain luscious cooked fruit notes, toffee and richness without over-extracting the oak. A wonderfully balanced and elegant dram – you won’t want to “finish this”!
Start your 2021 off swinging and beat off the January blues! You can grab your Maltal Kombat whisky tasting box here.
Our tasting club members save £5 every month off the normal box price too. Even more reason to join the club today and start exploring more great whisky more often.
We also write regular emails to our members, which is the best way to stay informed on upcoming subscription boxes, plus loads of other must-read whisky info. You can get on the list by signing up here.