Penderyn Ex-Palo Cortado Sherry Cask

"A must for lovers of heavily sherried whiskies and the Palo Cortado shows a distinctive impact compared to Oloroso or PX casks"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Distilled in a village with the same name, Penderyn is the first commercially coming from Wales in over a century. They started in 2000 with selling their first (young) spirits in 2004. In fact, their range does not contain an age statement and probably still based on young spirit. I have seen them at a festival and read positive things about several of their bottlings, including this Palo Cortado sherry-matured release. A typical “look-at-that-colour” whisky (not my words, since colour does not say anything about the quality of the spirit). Anyway, time to start my notes on this one. One last remark, Palo Cortado is a rarer variant of sherry that is initially aged under a film of yeast (like for instance Amontillado), but loses that during its maturation and ages further without it (like Oloroso) (apparently inexplicably, therefore probably its rarity), which results in a profile between the Amontillado and Oloroso. Just so you know…

Nose

Powerful, a force of spices hits my nostrils. I think I recognise cinnamon buns and rum-soaked-raisins during the initial whirlwind. Fortunately, it all mellows after a while with some good coffee and a sweet note starts starts running through it. Caffe noire cookies (love them) and mocha. A real powerhouse, which results in a numbing of my oilfactory system after too much nosing. There is definitely some furnished wood, curry and apple brandy. This needs water. Milder with more sherry, but the complexity decreases slightly.

Taste

Very very spicy, and drying. Initially, the attack is pretty fierce, but luckily for my tongue the intensity quickly mellows into a more tolerable strength. Ok, we can try to get some individual tastes. Liquorice, in particular sweet liquorice, and obviously lots of spices like white pepper, dried paprika, hot peppers and nutmeg. Then some raisins. It needs water, which is completely logical with this strength. After addition of a few spoons of water, it still is very spicy, but more fruits appear, including nectarines and prunes, all covered in a mix of spices. Also some cardamon, pencil shavings, and lots of dried figs and we have a fairly long aftertaste.

Overall

This must have been a good sherry cask. Palo Cartado is not often used for finishing, but for some reason more distilleries have gotten this idea, and I find the impact different from the often used Oloroso or PX variants. I would not say I have encountered the depths of Penderyn’s spirit, but we leave that on the to-do list. People who crave these kind of heavily sherried whiskies must definitely try to find this one. By the way, during the blind tasting I was leaning towards Amrut, which previously released similar spicy sherried single casks.

What others say

Whiskybase: 87.64 (27 votes)
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
75%
Peat/smoke
2%
  • Spices
  • Hot peppers
  • Sherry
Nose 87.5%
Taste 88%
Balance 87%
Depth 86.5%
Finish 87%
Score