Sherwoods is a brand-new project by Tom Sherwood, an Englishman now living in the Netherlands. His first release is a Craigellachie 2007, a single cask sourced from Whiskybroker, bottled at a whopping 64.4%.
Around 2009-2012 we noticed a lot of new small-scale bottlers (often just selecting and labeling casks from parcels distributed by larger bottlers). At that time it was fairly easy to get good casks and make some profit. Nowadays sourcing decent casks has become much more difficult for independent bottlers, let alone come up with something that is affordable. Kudos to Tom for taking the plunge.
We’ll be comparing it to a sherry cask from the same vintage, bottled by Maltbarn and quite possibly diluted to 48.6% in order to open it up.
Craigellachie 9 yo 2007 (48,6%, Maltbarn 2017, sherry cask, 123 btl.)
Nose: quite acidic and slightly solventy at first. Plenty of fresh lemon juice and Granny Smith peelings, maybe a little kiwi, with some yellow raisin sweetness behind it. Light grasses and mint. It’s got some traces of almonds too.
Mouth: still this bright and citrusy, almost fizzy side but with more sweetness now. Greengages, rhubarb, grapefruit, kiwi. Lemon squash with pepper and a hint of honey. Limoncello. Slightly warmer towards the end, with a hint of mocha.
Finish: medium long, with more almonds and a hint of spicy oak.
Fairly simple, but the sherry cask helps to make it more interesting, even at a young age. Don’t expect a classic sherry influence though. Fresh whisky, and sometimes a bottler needs to offer something for all budgets. Around € 70.
Craigellachie 9 yo 2007 (64,4%, Sherwoods 2017, bourbon cask #70900659, 302 btl.)
Nose: without the acidity this time, closer to the barley with a great deal of barley water. Hints of muesli, a little vanilla and golden apples. Stale beer. Some fudge sweetness and sweet lemon. Soft grassy notes. Little personality (it often comes later in a bourbon cask in my opinion).
Mouth: too hot. Pear eau-de-vie and citrus, with quite some alcohol kick. I understand the decision to start a cask strength series, but this needs water by default. It helps: the vanilla comes out, there’s pepper, lemon candy, barley sugar. Good spirit, but spirit it is.
Finish: medium long, on sweet citrus again.
Well made and provided you add some water right away, this is very drinkable. However I think it needed more time to really become something – complexity is low and I’m not a big fan of limoncello. Around € 70.