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Sampling whisky as it matures is one of the enduring pleasures of owning a distillery. Thankfully, no instrument has ever been developed that can indicate whether or not a cask of whisky has transitioned from ‘OK to drink’ to ‘delightful to drink’. This means that every single cask must be nosed and tasted regularly. Working from cask to cask, it transpires that some are sensorially mature beyond their years. As the Founders of Annandale Distillery, it’s our privilege and pleasure to select and set aside a few of these early maturing 2016 casks, for you to enjoy. This is Annandale’s Founders’ Selection.
Founders’ Selection: Cask 2016/544 (Man O’Sword) & Cask 2016/588 (Man O’Words)
It was during one of these routine samplings that we came across a clutch of sherry-conditioned virgin oak hogsheads, lurking in the dark and damp recesses of our historic bonded warehouses. We’d sourced 12 of these hogsheads in early 2016 from Miguel Martin (José y Miguel Martín SA, Spain). Eight were coopered in Spain from American oak. The other four, also coopered in Spain, were of homegrown Spanish oak. Half were filled with our unpeated Man O’Words spirit and the other half filled with our peated Man O’Sword.
Spanish oak (Quercus rubor) is faster growing than American oak (Quercus alba), giving it a more open grain. This allows the maturing spirit to penetrate the oak more readily to extract various flavour compounds. We thought this might be interesting……and it has certainly proved to be so!
Casks 2016/544 and 2016/588 are the inaugural bottlings in our Founders’ Selection range.
Cask 2016/544 is a Spanish oak hogshead filled with Annandale’s peated Man O’Sword spirit. The profusion of flavour compounds extracted from the more open grain of the Spanish oak adds richness and depth to our highly acclaimed peated spirit, delivering a complex yet beautifully balanced Single Malt. (According to our Co-Founder, David Thomson, this is one of the best whiskies he has ever tasted and it’s currently his Single Malt of choice.)Buy Man O’Sword – Cask 2016/544
Cask 2016/588 is an American oak hogshead filled with unpeated Man O’Words spirit. As the extraction of flavour from American oak is slower than from Spanish oak, the effect on our unpeated spirit is more subtle, adding richness, depth and complexity to Annandale’s characteristic fruitiness. The overall effect is of sensory maturity, well-beyond its years.Buy Man O’Words – Cask 2016/588