Palo Cortadois the rarest type of sherry (think of it as a very fine style of Oloroso, made from free-run must rather than subsequent pressings) and these casks are rarely used for whisky finishing. Some of the experiments have not been very convincing.
Deanston filled a few Palo Cortado casks with 1997 spirit. A first release was the Deanston 12 Years Palo Cortado finish, and now they bottled an older Deanston 21 Years Palo Cortado. It was matured for 18+ years in ex-bourbon casks and 2+ years in sherry cask.
Deanston 21 yo 1997 (51,8%, OB 2019, Palo Cortado finish, 277 btl.)
Nose: gentle toffee sweetness, hints of raisins and fig cake. Chocolate chips. Vanilla, cinnamon and candied orange peel. A little crème brûlée and croissants filled with hazelnut cream. A few oaky notes and whiffs of Maggi herb. Classic sherry markers, nicely balanced.
Mouth: again a nice mix of fruity spirit (oranges, poached pears) and sherry flavours. Milk chocolate, cinnamon, more nutmeg now too. Nougat and roasted hazelnuts. Honey. Perhaps a bit high on alcohol but that’s easy to fix with water.
Finish: long, on toasted oak, earthy spices, brown sugar and a hint of floral honey.
The first successful Palo Cortado finish in my book – it’s interesting to see what a relatively subtle type of sherry can do. Still a few available from The Whisky Exchange.