Whisky Focus - Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project Review

Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project Review

3rd June 2020
Review of the Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project.

Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project

Glen Moray has just released the next instalment of their Curiosity Range of experimental limited editions, the Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project, which has been fully matured in ex-sweet Madeira wine casks for 13 years and 10 months rather than just being finished in the casks, which is still relatively scarce in Scotch single malt whisky production where most of the Madeira cask releases we see have only been finished in the casks.

This third expression in the Glen Moray Cask Project series of bottling's is the first one which has been selected by Glen Moray's new Head of Whisky Creation, Dr Kirstie McCallum, who had the enviable pleasure of going through the distillery's maturing stock to select this latest instalment in the series.

Kirstie picked out seven ex-sweet Madeira wine hogshead casks which were laid down on the 26th May 2006, they were tucked away undisturbed in ‘Warehouse 1’ - home to the Elgin-based distillery’s maturation experiments over the years.

Obviously full maturation in the Madeira cask means that the impact of the cask is much greater and of course the challenge is to ensure the whisky remains balanced and the influence of the Madeira cask is integrated with that of the Glen Moray spirit. From my past experience of fully Madeira cask matured whiskies Glen Moray's classic Speyside style is an ideal whisky to take on the additional toffee and fruit influences which a Madeira cask should bring and obviously Kirstie has found this to be the case by selecting it for the next Cask Project series of bottlings.

Kirstie commented: "Single malt whisky matured in Madeira casks has been prized in the industry before, but typically the casks have only been used to ‘finish’ more conventionally matured whisky. That’s what makes this new expression so very special. Our new make spirit has been slowly mingling with the luxuriously sweet flavours of Madeira for nearly 14 years, giving a depth of flavour and an intense character that couldn’t otherwise be created. It’s a delicious dram, a dessert in a glass, and we are very much looking forward to sharing it with whisky drinkers in the UK."

The combined seven Madeira casks Kirstie selected for the Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project bottling produced 1468 bottles which have now been released to the UK market, and I am pleased to say it has been bottled at the flavoursome strength of 46.3% ABV and it is naturally coloured and non chill-filtered, the new whisky has a RRP of £65 and will be available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

Glen Moray Madeira Cask Project Review

Matured in Madeira casks and bottled at 46.3% ABV.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: A fresh, clean, gentle sweet nose with a balance of vanilla toffee, pear, lemon and just a little touch of peach lurking in the background. A little distant oak.

Taste: Lovely barley sugared sweet toffee infused with a delicious mix of gentle sweet oak spice, ripe pear and lemon, some late pepper.

A longish finish, the balance of sweet toffee and fruit bitters out to leave a little lingering pepper and nuttiness and touch of drying oak.

Comment: There is always a chance that a whisky can be overly sweet when matured full term in a Madeira cask, of course the individual type of fortified Madeira wine cask used has a big say in this, on this occasion a good balance has been reached in the whisky's almost 14 years maturing in the cask.

Obviously this is being released in time for Father's Day and whether you are looking for something off the normal beaten track to surprise your dad with or something different and easy to drink during the warmer weather for yourself I can say the Madeira cask influence has made this a lovely moreish dessert like Speyside dram which is ideally suited for dramming on over the summer months.

A light, sweet, easy drinking and most importantly enjoyable dram and considering its age and limited availability it is not a bad price either.

SMW Score 86/100


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