Although the sun is shining through my office window, I’m currently wearing a thick jumper and have just hunted out my Heat Holder socks (you haven’t got any? Seriously, eBay that!); this can only mean one thing: winter is coming. There may not be any White Walkers edging slowly towards my door (just a few Jehovah’s Witnesses and the postman, at last glance) but the insidious creep of chilly weather brings with it all of the pros and cons of the coldest season; the downsides are plentiful and too boring to list but there are also plenty of boons, one of them being the excuse to drink sherry at any time of the day or night.
That’s right: sherry – the most underrated of spirits, one that is sniffed away as a tipple to get old dears sozzled but is actually an outstanding libation that’s great on its own, over ice or a real enlivener for cocktails. For those who still think of the fortified wine as one to leave to the grannies (and you’d be wrong – try a chilled glass of Pedro Ximénez to have your mind thoroughly changed) then Glen Moray have got you covered with their latest release, a single malt aged in a sherry cask.
Hailing from Elgin, the capital of Speyside, Glen Moray’s whisky production is over a century old and have always aimed to release quality scotches at affordable prices. Wanting to spice things up a bit this year, they’ve opted to age a selection of their produce in sherry casks, lending the whisky a sweetened finish with a rich, fruity tang. Well, it would be rude not to have a winter warmer, no?
Holding the bottle against my oak desk, there’s an almost-lavender hue to the liquid, but moving it into the sun the scotch turns to toffee gold; this sweetness is present on the nose too, as well as apricot, pistachio and cinnamon. The first taste is a sweet smack on the tongue but the second sip reveals a much richer character; the sherry cask-aging is omnipresent on the palate, enveloping the tongue and covering it in a light vanilla tang. This gives way to a deeper, more brooding intensity, the bitter cacao cutting through the saccharine overtones and finishing with a long and satisfying festive spiciness.
This is definitely a spirit to crack open after Christmas dinner, cutting through the stodge that has settled under your reindeer jumper, to toast another slap-up December 25th with friends and family. Who knows, as long as the White Walkers stay at arm’s length, I might get started early and invite the postie in for a snifter. Let’s just hope the Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on next door instead.
RRP: £22 for 70cl. Available from Sainsbury’s and whisky specialist retailers.
The new Sherry Cask Finish expression joins the Glen Moray Classic Collection including:
Glen Moray Classic Single Malt
Glen Moray Classic Single Malt Port Finish
Glen Moray Classic Peated Single Malt
David Harfield is the director of PepperStorm Media and writes about his three passions: food, booze and travel.
Photographs courtesy of Glen Moray