Whisky & Wood: Cask Exploration

Whisky and Wood: Cask Exploration

As our regular readers will know, we’ve been a little bit cask-obsessed here at The Dram Team HQ lately. So with great pleasure, we announce an extremely special tasting box for November: an exploration of Whisky and Wood!

Whisky & Wood showcases some marvellous drams that also happen to be among the most premium whiskies we’ve ever had the joy of featuring in our whisky tasting boxes. These whiskies range from modern and innovative to some of the most prestigious and sought-after. One thing they all have in common however, is the maker’s attention to that crucial step in whisky-making: the barrel.

Whether that means an extra-long time in the highest quality barrels, award-winning master blenders, or by utilising unusual casks like Madeira, ex-rum or Oloroso sherry casks, we are certain that you will enjoy this extra-special tasting box as much as we enjoyed creating it. Here’s what you can look forward to.

Whisky & Wood: Special Edition November Box

Jura – Aged 12 Years 

The island of Jura sits just to the north-east of Islay, and its whiskies are often overshadowed by its famous peat-driven neighbour. The Isle of Jura distillery has existed in its current form since the 60s, and produces lightly peated and unpeated whiskies in their very tall-necked stills. The 12 year old is the place to start when exploring their range, with its delicate smoke and sherry-sweetness.

Tasting notes:

Refined succulent tropical aromas of chocolate, walnut and citrus fruit. Flavours of honey, salted bananas and brown sugar, with a whisper of smoke.

The Whisky Works – King of Trees 10 Year Old

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The Whisky Works is the experimental, innovation-led arm of revered whisky blenders Whyte & Mackay. The King of Trees, one of their first releases, employs a rare maturation process. Scottish oak is hardly ever used in barrel making, as it doesn’t often yield knot-free staves. The Scottish oak that was used for this whisky comes from wind-felled trees over two centuries old. King of Trees is a blended Highland malt, and only 2,157 bottles of this batch exist. Truly a rare treat for whisky fans!

Tasting notes:

Crisp pear and ripe banana, with subtle layers of vanilla and toasty oak which accentuate the fruit notes. Homemade apple pie with a light dusting of cinnamon, patisserie sugar and delicate floral notes.

Tamnavulin – Sherry Cask Edition

Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition
Richly sherried Speysider, Tamnavulin Sherry Cask Edition

Tamnavulin (meaning “mill on the hill” in Gaelic) lies deep in the heart of Speyside, and is named for the carding mill that still sits on the distillery site. Another product of the 1960s distillery building boom, Tamnavulin is now deeply associated with the classic Speyside style. Rich, mellow and moreish, this edition has been aged mostly in American oak barrels with finishes in three different Sherry casks.

November, 2020 Update: Sherry whisky fans rejoice: we love sherry cask whisky so much that we dedicated our limited edition Christmas box to some amazing festive sherried drams!

Tasting notes:

A bouquet marked by freshly baked tarte tatin and vanilla pod, soon giving way to another level of charm as nuances of banana, caramelised orange and fresh ginger complete this tapestry of temptation. Warm and inviting. The palate detects an avalanche of exotic flavours, glazed nectarines and frangipane, shortly enlightened by hints of sticky toffee pudding, Demerara sugar and Seville oranges. Complex and rich finish, with fruit cake and over ripe apricots.

The Whisky Works – Quartermaster 11 Year Old

We were so excited by the innovation that these guys showed in the King of Trees we just had to include another of their whiskies. For the Quartermaster, Highland grain whisky is matured in Caribbean ex-rum barrels, before a finish in Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. At the same time, two Speyside malts are each aged in American white oak and Spanish sherry butts. Finally all the whiskies are married together to create this unique transatlantic cask-driven blend. Got all that? Phew. The Whisky Works do keep us on our toes! Enjoy!

Tasting notes:

Fruity, ripe, rum-steeped peaches with notes of ground ginger and coffee. Nutty and earthy almonds balanced with notes of sweet dried dates, raisins and orange peel.

Jura – 21 Year Old “Tide”

Jura’s Tide and Time series explores two factors that make their whisky special: tide, in the form of their rugged coastal location, and time. The Tide edition is aged for 21 long years (or around 14,800 tides!) in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels to let the character of the rich spirit shine, before a brief finishing spell spent in virgin oak. It’s their attention to detail and the restrained use of virgin oak that we love so much here: sometimes overpowering, Jura have managed to balance wood and whisky perfectly.

Tasting notes:

Creamy caramel, sweet fruit and ginger biscuits. Macaroon, gingerbread, frangipane and white chocolate.

Dalmore – King Alexander III

Dalmore King Alexander III Single Malt
Dalmore King Alexander III Single Malt – November’s special “Sixth” dram

The Dalmore King Alexander III is another whisky that combines an astounding array of cask maturations to create a luxurious and complex dram. Many different casks make up this very special single malt, including Oloroso sherry, Marsala, Madeira, Cabernet Sauvignon and Port pipes. A rare treat indeed for us to be able to showcase as our sixth dram – one of the most premium bottles we’ve ever featured.

Tasting notes:

Red berry fruits and hints of passion fruit. Citrus zest, vanilla pod, crème caramel and crushed almonds. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

How to get your Whisky & Wood Special Edition box

Even though this tasting box features whiskies up to 50% more expensive than usual, we’ve only added £5 to the one-off box price. You can get yours here, or give as a gift to the whisky lover in your life.

At the Dram Team we are all super passionate about whisky. We want to share that excitement with as many people as we can, and guide them to explore, learn, and have fun with whisky. That’s why every month we curate out-of-the-ordinary whisky tastings and deliver them right to your door.

Fear not, tasting club members: you’ll still receive this box at your normal rate. If you’re not already a member, why not consider joining the club today and save £5 off the normal box price every month!

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.