Here at Lady of the Glen we are always looking for ways to show our whiskies at their absolute best. Through carefully considered cask finishing we can transform a good whisky into an exceptional one. We go to great lengths to ensure we source only the highest quality casks. One type of cask we have had a lot of success with is ex Marsala casks.
Marsala is a fortified wine, with dry and sweet variants, produced in the region surrounding the city of Marsala in Sicily. Marsala production uses the perpetuum technique, similar to the Spanish solera system where a small amount of the previous batch remains in the cask when it is filled. Over time this lends greater depth of flavour to the wine.
Cask finishing involves taking a whisky, usually lighter style from a hogshead, and re-racking it into a cask that has previously contained another type of alcohol. The most common of these are fortified wines such as sherry and port. Historically Marsala casks have not been as widely used as sherry and port casks in the whisky industry. We saw this as an opportunity to try something different.
Marsala casks will make the spirit slightly sweeter and impart notes of peach and apricot. They compliment the flavours of whiskies from hogshead casks well.
After researching the various wineries Vino Marsala was selected. Multiple casks were delivered to Scotland and Gregor set about selecting spirit to fill them. Our first ex Marsala finish was a Glenallachie 2005 bottled in June 2019. Our current outrun has a Linkwood 2011 that was re-racked for two years and has been a great success, the additional maturation added notes of sandalwood, peach and salted caramel. The cask has now been passed onto a craft brewery and we are very excited to see how the barrel aged beer turns out.
By Alex McAndrew, Warehouse operator