Published on March 11th, 2019 | by Ruben0
Port of Leith Oloroso Sherry
Seasoning sherry casks for the whisky industry is big business and Bodegas Barón have some important clients in this area
Port of Leith is an Edinburgh-based distillery in the making. Their building application has been approved, as well as a gin stillhouse, and they expect to be up and running as a whisky distillery by the end of 2020. In the meantime they are trying to fund the construction works with the release of a Lind & Lime gin and this Oloroso sherry sourced from Bodegas Barón.
The Port of Leith used to be an essential element in the sherry trade between Jerez and Scotland. The wine is packaged with a beautiful label showing images of Leith on the left and Sanlúcar on the right.
This is an interesting interaction: Bodegas Barón is seasoning the American oak casks that will one day mature their whisky (like they do for Tamdhu, Kavalan and other distilleries), so in turn they release a limited edition of this sherry. Well, sort of: the sherry in this bottle is probably not the same as the wine they use to season the whisky casks. The bottled sherry is said to be around 5 years old (same age and ABV as the Oloroso Micaela in the Barón core range), but casks are usually seasoned with a younger wine. On the label they say they use the same Oloroso base wine to season barrels, for 12 to 18 months. That means the casks are seasoned with the wines that goes in at the top of the solera – the añada wine (similar to a sobretabla) that is around 2 years old and that would eventually become the Oloroso sherry we have in our glass.
A couple of years ago I wrote an article about sherry casks for the whisky industry, in case you want to know more.
Oloroso Sherry (17,5%, Bodegas Barón for Port of Leith distillery)
Nose: figs, baked apples, hints of brown sugar and toffee. Lighter than the Xixirito Oloroso I tried the other day (in terms of colour and aroma), and also more fresh and herbal (hints of thyme and bayleaf). Orange peel. A bit of toasted oak in the background. Gingery notes and walnuts. Overall quite fruity and ‘winey’ in nature, less meaty than the Xixarito. All in all a bit young but a very pleasant mix of older and younger elements.
Mouth: good body, funny how this seems a little more punchy than the Xixarito (despite the lower ABV). A bit more oak spices as well (pepper, nutmeg). A deep fruity character (prunes, grapes). Then walnuts and hints of eucalyptus. A bit of an alcohol edge, but overall really enjoyable. As with the Xixirito, I think it lacks a bit of complexity and body on the palate, but that is not surprising for a young(er) wine. Medium finish.
Summary: A decent value Oloroso, fairly young but quite nice and drinkable. A close sibling of the Oloroso Micaela. A good idea to highlight the growing interaction between distilleries and sherry (cask) suppliers.