Unusual Cask Tasting Set

What best to do on a dark and blustery evening but have a whisky tasting with friends? Last Friday, we did just that. Good food, excellent company, and interesting whisky make for a lovely time, no doubt! Of course, I always love trying new whiskies, and this was a pleasant excuse to do so. 🙂

We again utilized Drinks by the Dram from Master of Malt, and tried their Unusual Cask Tasting Set. I enjoy malts that have been finished in sherry casks and rum casks, so I was really looking forward to sampling a wider variety of finishes. Without further ado, my tasting notes…

Dry Fly Wheat Whiskey Fortified Huckleberry Wine Cask Finish

American Whiskey (USA) 43% ABV

Nose: Spicy with hints of fruit and sweetness.

Palate: Not quite as sweet or fruity as I had expected from the description, but tasty. Vanilla and caramel come through, but unlike a bourbon.

Notes: Was pleasantly surprised to see a local-ish whiskey! Dry Fly is from Spokane, WA, and I hadn’t had the pleasure yet of trying any of their malts.

Penderyn Madeira Finish

Single Malt (Welsh) 46% ABV

Nose: Apple, vanilla, sweetness. The notes say “over-ripe grape”, which we thought was funny, but I did catch that on the nose.

Palate: Light, green, almost like a white wine.

Notes: A nice light dram, but nothing super special.

Arran The Amarone Cask Finish

Single Malt Scotch (Island) 50% ABV

Nose: Red berries, spicy, plum.

Palate: Spicy, warming, with some light tannins.

Notes: In the glass, the color was like a rosé wine. Delicate looking, but a sturdier flavor that the color suggests.

Old Hobart Overeem Port Matured

Single Malt (Australian) 43% ABV

Nose: “Smells like a Barbie doll.” <cue ‘barbie’ Australian jokes> Definitely had a strong note of plastic and not much else. Weird and not inviting in the least.

Palate: Little bit of creamy spiciness leads to a finish that is savory and briny, like a ham.

Notes: Definitely not what we were expecting, and frankly, a disappointment.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Single Malt Scotch (Islay) 48% ABV

Nose: Little woody, smoky, and band-aid smell.

Palate: “Oh, so that’s burnt rubber.” Burnt rubber, smoke… ugh.

Notes: NOPE. It was advertised as having a fruity sweetness, but it’s trying to detect an apple pie that was in the oven following a house fire. Ain’t gonna happen.

Overall, the favorites were the Dry Fly and the Arran. We were all left grimacing after the Laphroaig (with the exception of one friend who loves these horrible non-fruity peat monsters). But luckily, two of our friends rescued our tastebuds from a less-than-pleasing smoky doom by providing a bottle of Elijah Craig Small Batch and a bottle of Macallan 12 Yr Old. Thanks to them, our spirits (get it, spirits?? Sorry) were restored and merriment continued unabated.

A very fun evening and tasting, and I can’t wait to do it again! 🙂


2 thoughts on “Unusual Cask Tasting Set

  1. What an interesting tasting pack!
    I’m so sad you didn’t like the Overeem – a dram made just down the highway from me and one I happen to have a very soft spot for! (you can check out my thoughts here: http://whiskywaffle.com/2015/05/26/overeem-port-cask-matured/)
    I’ve had Dry Fly before and wasn’t too stoked, though this wine cask sounds interesting.
    I own a bottle of the Arran and really like it! I’ve just written a review actually, and it’ll be up in the next few days!
    As for the laphroaig, well, if you’re not into peat then the QC is not going to change your mind ;D
    Great article!
    Keep on waffling,


    • Hi Nick,
      Thanks for reading! I was also sad I didn’t like the Overeem port cask as much as I had hoped. But perhaps I’d enjoy another of their offerings. Your thoughts on the sherry-casked?
      For the Laphroaig… I’ve been exploring Islays the past few months (Ardbeg so far is my favorite), and I do enjoy well balanced peatiness in a whisky. Laphroaig, though, I just can’t get behind, no matter how many times I try it. But hey, that’s okay, save the Laphroaig for those who love it (like a friend of mine) and I’ll take something else. 🙂
      Any others from Tasmania that you’d recommend? I’d love to hear!


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