God knows many have tried, but it is hard to really classify single malt whisky in terms of style. However, I feel you could say that intensely sherried whiskies are on one end of the spectrum, while heavily peated whiskies are on the other. I find it interesting to note that these two styles also often work perfectly together.
I would actually say that peated, sherry-matured whisky is actually one of the quintessential flavour combinations in single malt whisky. To me it works more often than it doesn’t. Even when a sulphured cask (yuck!) was used for maturation, it sometimes genuinely harmonizes with the peat influence.
No wonder that Elixir Distillers have a range of whiskies called simply ‘Peat & Sherry’, consisting of Islay blended malt whisky matured in sherry casks. Just recently they released this exclusive bottling for The Whisky Exchange, of which only 402 bottles are available.
Peat & Sherry Elements of Islay (56.8%, Elixir Distillers, 402 bts.)
Nose: Vegetal peat with notes of barbecue smoke and crisp bacon, followed by a whiff of cocoa powder, but also burnt rubber and liquorice. Slightly coastal too. Fairly balanced and rich. Taste: Lovely sweet arrival with a thick mouthfeel. Bits of charcoal and ash, followed by sweet peat and soft notes of rubber, but also more of that barbecued bacon. There’s a few soft spices, highlighted by nutmeg and pepper, as well as raisins. Finish: Lingering peat smoke and subtle spices.
Is there a combination in whisky as foolproof as peat and sherry? Let me know, because I’m hard-pressed to think of one. This works very well, once again. If you like this type of profile, you can’t go wrong. Available here.