Last week I introduced you to Scyfion, an independent Ukrainian bottler who finishes all its bottlings in regional wine casks. Not only from the Ukraine but also casks from local wineries from nearby countries.
I really like this idea, despite the fact that I am not always a fan of wine cask finishes. But these casks, which are quite unusual, give a surprising effect on the whiskies in question. And apart from the fact that this effect is a fantastic journey of discovery, these finishes actually worked nicely with the single malts. One better than the other of course, but all interesting to taste.
Anyway, I have tasted 5 different Scyfion releases for you and you can read my tasting notes for each of these here.
Benrinnes 1997 tasting notes:
Finished in an Artania cask (a red wine from the Ukraine) and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Turkish delight. A hint of Hubba Bubba chewing gum. And then apricots. Red apples. Caramel. It’s quite sweet and fruity, but lovely. Sweet oranges and honey.
Taste: Honey. A sweet pink grapefruit in the background. Pears, apples. Caramel and vanilla. Then it gets spicy, chilli peppers and ginger.
Finish: Mid-long. Somewhat spicy, minerals and the fruits.
I don’t know what exact flavours you get from an Artania cask, but the character of Benrinnes is definitely still here. And I like that. Pretty surprised by it, as it’s very nice.
Benrinnes 2006 tasting notes:
Finished in a Pomegranate Armenian wine cask and bottled at 50%.
Nose: I get more of the wine cask so it seems, compared to the other Benrinnes. A hint of sour grapes. But then it gets sweeter, Hubba Bubba chewing gum again. There are red fruits, like strawberries and raspberry. Later it becomes somewhat malty.
Taste: Prunes and fresh figs. There’s caramel and red grapes. But it feels also quite strong in the alcohol. Peppery in the end. Barley sugar and malty.
Finish: Long and drying. With fruits.
It’s a nice release, but its older brother is definitely the winner here. The nose is quite wine orientated, but this is somewhat less in the taste. The finish is a bit too dry for me. But definitely not a bad whisky.
Mortlach 2005 tasting notes:
Finished in a Troyanda wine cask (From the Ukraine) and bottled at 48.4% ABV.
Nose: Oh this is lovely, as it starts with tropical fruits, such as pineapple, mango and nectarines. This is followed by a layer of sweet honey and caramel. A sugary sweetness here as well. Then lemons appear, but oranges too. Very nice. Red fruits in the background, raspberries and strawberries.
Taste: Still tropical, with the same fruits as in the nose, pineapple, a little mango and nectarines. But also fresh sweet raspberries and vanilla. More honey. Then oranges here too. A hint of grapefruit in the end.
Finish: Long and fruity, ending with mostly lime.
What a fruit bomb this is! Oh, I love it. Never too sweet, it just seems to work. The longer I let it stand the more it develops and it’s adding another fruit to its already long array of different kind of fruits. Very tasteful and interesting. I can’t remember having such a fruity Mortlach, ha!
Linkwood 1997 tasting notes:
Finished in a Troyanda Zakarpattya cask (a fortified rose wine from the Ukraine), 46%.
Nose: A mix of ripe (or maybe even stewed) strawberries, raspberries and a hint of brambles. A sour note from lemons in the background in the beginning, but this disappears rather fast. Followed by caramel fudge. Green grapes. A hint of tobacco leaves. Honey and apples.
Taste: Quite sweet and almost too sugary. Plenty of honey. Caramel and the same fruits as in the nose, but also red grape peels. Peaches. In the end, spices appear, such as cinnamon and a touch of ginger.
Finish: Short to mid-long, sweet but maybe a bit too sweet for me. Sugar to the max! And that’s all I get. Maybe a few spices in the background, the same as in the taste.
Where it starts very nicely in the nose, the sweetness takes over in the taste and in the finish, the balance is, unfortunately, a bit lost. It’s so sweet that I can’t get past the sweetness of sugar. Not bad, but a bit too sweet for me, especially in the finish.
Bunnahabhain 2007 tasting notes:
Finished in a pastoral cask (red wine from Moldavia) and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Lightly smoky. Tobacco. It seems a little cheesecaky-y?? Weird. Luckily other flavours take over now. Raisins. It starts to become fruitier. Blood oranges. Tinned cherries. When leaving it standing for a bit winter spices appear, such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom.
Taste: Tobacco here as well. But quite sweet too, tinned cherries, figs and a syrupy note. Blood oranges again, but more in the background. A hint of salmiac.
Finish: short and sweet, cherries and raisins.
The last and the least of the 5 for me. I think the Bunna profile is hard to find in this one. The cask overwhelms the character. Ok, but not more than that, a little bit of an odd one.
From 2020 it will also be possible to buy Scyfion in the EU.