The second installment of Springbank’s Sherry Wood Series, the Springbank 10 Years Palo Cortado, was released late last year. Even with the whisky market seemingly slowing down, this series has no trouble selling out. Within seconds even. Good luck finding the Springbank 10 Years Palo Cortado for sale anywhere (unless you’re willing to pay a premium).
The Sherry Wood Series will eventually be a set of five sherry-matured whiskies. The Pedro Ximénez was released first, now followed by the new Springbank 10 Years Palo Cortado. In the coming years we’ll also see an Amontillado, Fino and finally a Manzanilla cask finished Springbank.
As you can so from the overview above, not every whisky will be finished for the same amount of time. For example, the Springbank 10 Years Palo Cortado was finished for 4 years. (To be fair, that’s more of a proper secondary maturation.) The final release in Springbank‘s Sherry Wood Series will spend 7 years in Manzanilla casks.
According to the excellent SherryNotes run by Ruben Luyten, Palo Cortado is “indeed the rarest of all sherry varieties.” He describes it as a wine with a complex bouquet of aromas. An intermediate type of sherry and “probably the most ambiguous of all.” Sounds good, no?
Springbank 10 Years Palo Cortado (55%, OB, 2023)
Nose: Gentle brine with strawberries, damp oak, dunnage floor and sugar icing, along with soft buttery notes, brioche and ginger. I get whiffs of orange zest too, as well as a sliver of tobacco. There’s a soft minerality hiding in the background. Taste: A gentle waxiness with loads of hessian, gentle smoke, graphite and salted butter. Some soft oak spices too, followed by tobacco leaves, a touch of menthol and redcurrants. Just a pinch of salt, some nutty notes and orange peel. Finish: Medium length. Nice salinity, a touch of toffee, peanuts and a light hint of milk chocolate.
The Springbank 10 Years Palo Cortado is different, but really good. There's always space for Springbank's character, but the Palo Cortado casks don't go unnoticed either. Compared to its predecessor, the Pedro Ximénez release (not reviewed on this website), the balance between cask and spirit is much better.