While threading on my personal whisky journey, there were whiskies I loved immediately. Those were the heavily peated Laphroaig, Lagavulin, Talisker malts, and Johnnie Walker Black and Double Black blends, as well as fruity and floral Speyside Malts. I am a huge peat fan and I like those strong, smokey, salty and meaty flavours in my whisky. On the other hand, I could never find anything worthwhile in whiskies which get most of their flavour from the Sherry cask. Sure, they are, sweet, spicy, but not for me. Or so I thought. Then one day I picked up a bottle of Naked Grouse, a deluxe edition of the Famous Grouse blended whisky, created by Mathew Gloag and today produced in the Glenturret distillery, the oldest distillery in Scotland, founded in 1775 and still running to this day.
I opened it, drank a few drams, figured it is “just another Sherry whisky” then forgot about it until one Sunday. It was raining, the air was cold, and I stayed at home, reading a book and chewing some cookies and nuts & dry fruit mix. Not wanting to spoil the flavour of my quality single malts with food, I opened up a bottle of Naked Grouse and poured it in. And I was amazed how much it changed, or rather, how my flavour sensors and perception changed because of the sweet stuff I ate before. Now it was an amazing sweet and flavourful whisky. This was the A-HA! Moment for me. The light bulb was lit, and I could finally go on and explore the magnificent Sherry whiskies.
On the nose there is a huge variety of flavours; one of my first associations was an old wooden kitchen cabinet, in which the wood has soaked in the spices that have been kept inside for years. Later on I found it to be predominantly raisins, with hints of hazelnut cream, cocoa, and Croatian traditional walnut loaf cake, exactly how my grandma used to make it. Really sweet palate; mostly a variety of dried fruits, chocolate and some spices. The finish is somewhat dry, not to long, but leaves pleasant sweet aroma, vibrant with hints of apples, cinnamon and sawdust.
I will definitely be picking up another bottle of Naked Grouse again, for some festivities, to go with traditional cakes and sweets. Amazing lower end (around 22€) whisky that opened up my appetite for Sherry cask whisky style.