The Oak Barrel: Wine, whisky, spirits, craft beer and cider

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  • Glendronach Sauternes Finish 12 Year Old Single Malt

    Glendronach Sauternes Finish 12 Year Old Single Malt

    A little-seen expression from the GlenDronach distillery, this 12-year-old has been finished in sweet white wine Sauternes casks after initially maturing in European oak.

    As with all of GlenDronach's wood expression series (which has seen finishes in casks which previously held Marsala, Virgin Oak, Tawny Port, Moscatel, Madeira...) this is a bit of a side-step from the 'sherry bombs' they're known for. With more vanilla and spice, the sweet new-make spirit holds onto those early-maturation sugars, and are even amplified when helped along by a wine cask finish.

    This is certainly on the sweeter side, with plenty of vanilla and some balancing spice on the palate.

    This expression replaced the 14-yea-old version, which some early GlenDronach adopters may have got their hands on overseas.

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  • Iniquity Single Malt Whisky Batch 5

    Iniquity Single Malt Whisky Batch 5

    The fifth release of the Iniquity Single Malt from South Australia's Tin Shed Distillery.

    This stock was reserved for emergency tasting stock at the 2016 Sydney Whisky Fair and can now be released for sale. The distillery's own stocks had sold out long before the Fair itself.

    Batch 5 was distilled from peated malt and matured in an ex-sherry cask. The peat was sourced from the Parawa area south of Adelaide and the malt was also smoked with South Australian mallee wood.

    It opens up in the glass with a bit of warmth from the hand.

    Very limited quantities remain.

    Official Tasting Notes:

    Nose: Distant but immediately discernible autumn leave and fir wood smoke with pine needles, along with vanilla and apricots and then the eucalyptus/thyme/menthol/mint kick in

    Palate: Good mouth feel, rounded, fruity and well balanced, slightly nutty, good solid alcohol with no unexpected heat, good tannins.

    Finish: Lively fruity (apricots) and something minty and nutty and some burnt notes and those characteristics remain solid.

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  • Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

    Nikka Whisky From The Barrel

    A fantastic expression from Japanese whisky company Nikka, bottled at 51.4% but still incredibly smooth.

    A very clean, crisp whisky that goes does surprisingly easy for its strength, there's a little hints of spice, vanilla, sweetness, rich dark fruits and citrus all in equal measure. The flavours become more defined with a touch of water, but this is still ultra-stylish at full strength.

    This really is a brilliant example in the art of blending.

    This blend hasn't been execpt from the great Japanese whisky shortages of 2015/16, but it thankfully has retained an affordable price point upon its return.

    Nikka owns the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries, both of which are adept at creating a variety of styles of whisky - as is the Japanese trend. 

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  • Tyrrell's Rufus Stone Shiraz 2003

    Tyrrell's Rufus Stone Shiraz 2003

    Tyrrell’s planted their Heathcote vineyard in 1994 on the ancient russered Cambrian soil, which is found at the foot of Mt Camel at the southern end of the Colbinabbin Range. This narrow strip with its unique topography, gives the wine its rich, yet refined flavours that typifies Heathcote wines.

    The nose shows developed notes of earth and savoury spice alongside notes of ripe blackberries and the softer vanillin characteristics of both French and American oak barriques. On the palate the wine is big and rich with soft tannin and aged complexity. Drinking well now and very good value.

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