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5 Sherried Whisky Alternatives

The world of sherry cask whisky is getting bigger and bigger. You have so many options when it comes to sherry influences across all styles of whisky. Peated whisky in Pedro Ximinez, or highland whisky in fino sherry – even the occasional Glenmorangie or Bunnahabhain matured in Manzanilla pops up. 

But what else is there for those of you who have an inherent love for all things sweet, dark, and decadent? Below are my personal recommendations for those of you who want something sweet and luscious, but a little different in your glass this year. 

Kilchoman Madeira Cask, 50% ABV 

BUY NOW: $109.99 

Kicking it off with something powerful, peated, and a little harder to get hold of. Kilchoman has been at the forefront of Islay when it comes to releasing different, and very fun styles of their spirit in different woods. 

I split a bottle of this with a colleague when it arrived in the shop we work in, simply delicious! 

If you’re a fan of Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition, Laphroaig 10 Year Old Sherry Cask, or even some of the stranger Micro Provenance Bruichladdich stuff, put your time and attention into Kilchoman. 

Be prepared to be rocked by huge peaty notes, but also some of the most lusciously sweet banana and chocolate notes I’ve ever had on a whisky before. 

Tullamore D.E.W 14 Year Old, 41.3% ABV 

BUY NOW: $69.99

Throwing even more caution to the wind, here’s a bottle matured in four different casks, but where the Madeira and port really lead the way. 

Tullamore D.E.W has been on an amazing run of releases since being purchased by William Grants in 2010 and then building a whole new distillery in 2014. 

This was a bottle that was on my shelf constantly and is still replaced when it runs out. This liquid is matured in bourbon, sherry, port, and Madeira. If I’m being fully honest, the sherry is a little absent in the taste profile of this whisky. But do be ready to be greeted by some of the most amazing pineapple, fresh pear, crisp green apple scents, and tastes you’ve ever experienced in Irish whiskey. 

They make some really cool stuff at Tullamore D.E.W. If you’re dead-set on just drinking sherry casks then I’d check out their 12 Year Old release, too. 

Domaine des Hautes Glaces Indigene Organic Single Malt, 44% ABV  

BUY NOW: $73.79 

I’ve just finished a bottle of this as I feel I’ve been neglecting whiskies from continental Europe for no reason at all. The growth of single malt over there is huge, with France being the number one consumer in the EU. 

I think of this whisky from Domaine des Hautes Glaces as Daftmill meets Bruichladdich. Stay with me on this one. They grow everything on-site and mature the stocks in a combination of ex-Cognac, ex-Armagnac, and ex-French wine casks. Fully organic to boot, and comes in one of the prettiest bottles you’ll ever set your eyes on. 

Outside of design and development, this liquid is full of fresh apricot, peach, and pear notes – as well as being so beautifully scented with jasmine, too. If you’re after something fun, fresh, and different then I would highly recommend this. It’s one of my surprises of the year and is perfect for drinkers who love lightly sherried whisky. 

Glencadam White Port Cask Finish, 46% 

BUY NOW: $60 

A rather terrible secret of mine is that I’ve only gotten into Glencadam in the last year. It’s a little shameful, as I adore those summer-driven, fresh styles of whisky more than almost everything else, especially when it comes to single malt whisky. 

This is a beautiful distillery to get into if you’re also a fan of the fresh and delicate style – the liquids are also really reasonably priced and relatively easy to get hold of. This is a newer release and features white port cask maturation, the sister of sherry.  

Firstly, buy some white port and fill a glass with ice, top it up with tonic or lemonade, it’s a personal choice, and pop some fresh lemon or mint in the top of it. The best summer drink you’ll ever have. I only deal in absolutes. 

This whisky is full of crumbly vanilla biscuits smaller, elderflower, orange, and a little bit of oak rounding out the whole thing. A delicious little number from a still underrated distillery. 

GlenAllachie Meikle Tòir The Chinquapin One, 48% ABV

 

BUY NOW: $57.99 

I am always excited to talk about virgin oak matured whisky and, by extension, Chinquapin Oak. 

Chinquapin is a subspecies of the Quercus Alba tree. When used to mature whisky, it imparts a delicate balance of spice and oak character. 

Chinquapin is starting to be used a little more now by many distilleries, but when it comes to scotch whisky in this type of barrel, please look no further than anything Billy Walker has ever done. He got me into it, he can get you into it. He is the King Midas of casks, to put it simply. 

The GlenAllachie Meikle Tòir The Chinquapin One was subjected to a lengthy 160-hour fermentation before being matured in virgin American Chinquapin oak barrels.  

When tasting this release, expect an Islay killer when it comes to peat influences, but also some of these wonderfully rich caramelized white chocolate notes, along with fresh citrus and some very decadent vanilla caramel.

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Phil Dwyer

Having worked in whisky retail for a decade, and running Whisky Wednesday on YouTube for nearly as long, Phil has always wanted to learn, talk and tell everyone as much about whisky as he can.

Whisky can be overly complicated at times. Phil wants to end that. Brands have pushed far too much jargon into the drinking atmosphere; it's difficult to breathe when whisky is mentioned at times.

Phil also manages The Whisky Shop Manchester stocking some of the best drams on the market.

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