Benromach Sassicaia Cask 45% ABV

Distilled in 2009 and bottled in 2017, this Speyside whisky was matured first in first fill ex-bourbon cask barrels, followed by 28 months in Tuscan Sassacaia (think Super Tuscan red) wine casks.

This is a relatively young whisky, but quite smooth and easy drinking.

Nose: a surprisingly high amount of alcohol which dissipates fairly quickly, leaving a gentle wet smoke, pepper, allspice and hint of sulfur, presumably residual of the red wine casking. Adding a few drops of water completely changes the nose to eliminate the alcohol and bring out the sweetness of honey and caramel that must’ve been picked up from the ex-bourbon barrels.

Palate: the gentle smokiness is immediately joined by dark summer fruits (currants, plums, and blackberries) and black pepper from the red wine casks, which yields on the finish to the underlying anise and honey from the first fill Bourbon casking.

Finish: medium in length, with the fruits and spices mellowing and a gentle rich but not syrupy sweetness enduring.

The water that softened the nose weakened the flavors more than expected. I’d recommend enjoying this dram neat. A fine example of a red wine finish on a rich young whisky that probably wouldn’t go to market as quickly but for the unique wine cask finish. The only disappointment is that color presumably was added (as the bottle does not indicate no color added nor non-chill filtering).