The American Single Malt (ASM) Whiskey space has come a long way in recent years but the category as a whole still has a long way to go as it struggles to make a significant dent with both American whisky and Scotch fans in the United States. American single malts have a slightly different flavor profile compared to Scottish malts and taste way different than bourbon or rye so it makes for a really tough sell. A bourbon fan doesn’t usually look to single malts and Scotch fans can get whisky a tried-and-true brand with a higher age statement for the same price as many entry level ASMs.
With that said, my friends at Single Cask Nation have proven time and time again that they know how to pick a barrel and this one really caught my attention when I first heard about it. This whisky was distilled at Virginia Distillery Co. and was aged in barrel no. 666—a Spanish oak butt that once held both Oloroso and PX. After 5 years, the result is a whisky with a surprisingly dark hue. This cask yielded 613 bottles at a cask strength of 58.3% ABV.
The SCN team is especially selective when it comes to sherry bombs so I figured that there must be something extra special about this release. Barrels like this one are hopefully going to help usher in new fans to the American single malt world and if more ASMs taste anything like this one, we’re all in for a treat in the coming years.
|Nose||Lots of baking spice up front—cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger—oloroso nuttiness, hints of umami, dark chocolate, oatmeal raisin cookie. A sugary sweetness emerges with time and water along with dried mixed berries.|
|Taste||Sherry sweetness first, then ripe plums, molasses, more chocolate, spicy oak, fig jam. More baking spice with time and water including allspice and more nutmeg.|
|Finish||A bit of tannic oak at first, then cinnamon and ginger return along with burnt sugar, vanilla, and dried cherries. Drier with water along with graham cracker and cherry pie filling.|
|Overall Thoughts||If I didn’t know better, I would think that this was a sherried single malt from the heart of Speyside (not that one, the other one). The flavor set that comes from only 5 years of aging is really impressive, especially considering that this whiskey comes from a part of the country not famous for it's single malts. If Single Cask Nation chooses a young ASM barrel like this one, it's almost always worth picking up. This whiskey drinks like it’s at least twice as old as its age statement. I'm a fan!|