Like us, many whisky fans adore whiskies that have been matured in ex-sherry casks. So we thought we'd talk about the sherry.
Sourced from Bodegas Baron, a 480 year old producer with a very modern outlook, the un-matured version of this Oloroso wine will be used to season our oak casks in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, in the heart of Jerez in South West Spain, before we ship them to Scotland to fill them with whisky.
Sherry plays a crucial role in transforming the character of many of Scotland’s best-loved whiskies, and this sherry will enhance ours. So we thought it should be savoured and enjoyed while we wait for our whisky.
Edinburgh’s Port of Leith was once the epicentre of Scotland’s whisky trade.
Casks of sherry arriving into the harbour would be decanted into locally manufactured bottles. Whisky merchants then bought up the empty casks to store their spirit in the dozens of bonded warehouses that once lined the shore. They soon discovered that it transformed their spirit and a major innovation in whisky production was born on our doorstep.
The palomino grapes for sherry are grown in vineyards in Jerez in the South of Spain. They are fermented like any other wine.
The wines are then fortified with grape spirit and matured in 'Solera' warehouses in the towns of Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
Historically, full casks of sherry were shipped to Leith and then decanted into locally-made bottles. Whisky merchants then used the empty casks to mature their spirit.
They realised customers came back for the sherry cask-matured whisky. A new tradition in Scotch production was born, and it began in Leith.
A solera is made up of several layers of barrels. New wine fills up to 25% of the first layer of barrels, and up to 25% of the wine already in that layer is passed to the second layer. This continues down the layers until some is taken out of the bottom layer for bottling.
The barrels in a solera are generally so old that the wood itself has little or no influence upon the wine. What happens instead is that the wine slowly oxidises and blends with the older wines already contained in the solera, so that the wine emerging from the bottom is a delicious mix of young and old.
This is how the wine in our Port of Leith Distillery Sherry has been matured.
However we won't use solera casks to mature our whisky; we want to exert some influence from the oak itself, and these barrels are much too old to do that.
Instead, we will take the same wine and fill it into new oak barrels, specially produced for us in Spain. The wine will season the cask over 12 to 18 months, and the empty barrel will then be shipped to our warehouse in Leith to be filled spirit.
Finding the right sherry producer was essential to us. The quality of their wine and casks will have a very significant impact upon our Single Malt Whisky, and we wanted to build a lasting relationship with like-minded people.
Bodegas Baron is a family owned bodega in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Founded in 1631, they have a thoroughly modern approach in what is a very traditional region, a value shared with the Port of Leith Distillery.
However, it was after tasting our way through their treasure trove warehouse, tucked away in the centre of the town, that we knew we had found a life-long partner for our whisky.
Fresh, complex and with a remarkable intensity of flavour, it took all of our self-control not to include their jaw-dropping Manzanilla, delicate Fino and beguiling Pedro-Ximenez in our launch.
THE WAYS TO SERVE SHERRY
Our sherry is a refreshing, dry style of Oloroso, with zingy citrus notes, dried fruit, and a beautiful array of nutty flavours. It’s delicious served at room temperature with a plate of charcuterie, or chilled on a hot summer’s evening.
Sherry also works incredibly well as a cocktail ingredient, so we teamed up with London-based mixologist Liquid Intellect to create a trio of drinks to suit every season.
The S&T (Sherry & Tonic) is deliciously refreshing, with a beguiling sweet walnut finish.
30ml Port of Leith Oloroso
15ml Cocchi Americano
15ml Plum Sake
10 Drops Fee Brothers Plum Bitters
40ml Fever Tree Tonic Water
Mull It Over
Our mulled sherry recipe is a total game-changer for any winter party. Warm gently and serve straight from the pan.
45ml Port of Leith Oloroso
60ml Thistly Cross Cider
10ml Cocchi Vermouth de Torino
2.5ml Monin Caramel Syrup
5ml Fresh Orange
0.63ml 4% Saline Solution
Sherry & whisky love each other, so we mix them together to re-imagine an Old Fashioned.
30ml Port of Leith Oloroso Sherry
15ml Monkey Shoulder
7.5ml Maple Syrup
10 Drops Black Walnut Bitters
1.25ml Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Our gin and sherry are also available from retailers across the UK - find your local stockist by entering your postcode on the map below.
Selling our sherry and not on our list? Let us know and we’ll add you on the list - firstname.lastname@example.org
View Port of Leith Distillery Stockists in a full screen map