We took delivery of a load of 67 sherry butts this morning. They came to Islay direct via Greenock docks, after being used to make Oloroso sherry at Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla in Jerez, Southern Spain. You could visit the Bodegas via Google Streetview, should you be interested in a virtual tour.
We’ve had a relationship with Jan Pettersen of Fernando de Castilla for many years; his casks were important in the creation of the 1992 sherry editions – Fino, Manzanilla, and PX – which were released in 2009. He visited us at the distillery in February this year and recently gave excellent feedback on Head Distiller Adam Hannett’s 1990 / 25, whisky which also owes some of its provenance to his operations.
The butts hold 500 litres, and weigh about 120 kg empty, about 600kg once filled. This particular parcel of casks are veterans of a solera system, so could have held sherry for several decades in Jan’s cellars in Jerez.
Oloroso sherry is fortified before it ages, so it never develops a flor and is allowed to oxidise slightly in the cask. This is one of the things making it darker and richer than other types of sherry. Sherry is a thicker liquid than whisky, so we’ll be careful when filling today’s arrivals to check that the spirit isn’t finding its way through any tiny fissures the structure. One thing is for sure – the new-make will soon be able to revel in the flavours that are embedded in the wood from its history.
Watch the warehouse team unloading the above at the distillery above Loch Indaal here: