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A little background…
Signatory Vintage is an independent bottler of Scotch whiskies, founded in 1988 by Andrew Symington. Prior to that date, however, the Symington family were no strangers to the whisky industry. Andrew’s grandfather worked for VAT69 Blended Scotch and before establishing Signatory, Andrew owned the Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh. There he discovered and developed his own love for single cask whisky.
Symington originally based Signatory in Newhaven in Edinburgh but in 2002, he purchased Edradour Distillery on the outskirts of Pitlochry. The whole business moved to Perthshire with the distillery warehouses the ideal place to store aging whisky stocks.
Signatory is now one of the most renowned bottlers in Scotland. At any one time, as many as 1000 casks, sourced from all over the country, are held in the distillery warehouses. There are frequent bottling runs often with up to 50 different expressions available simultaneously. Bottled as single casks or in small batches, the whisky is often presented as naturally as possible without colouring or chill filtration.
Edradour itself was referred to as the smallest distillery in the land for many years but the craft distilling boom saw several smaller ventures appear. However, the distillery remains one of the most quaint and picturesque in Scotland. Originally established in 1825, the distillery has had a long and often tumultuous existence but some stability seems to have been found under the steady ownership of Andrew Symington and his Signatory Vintage label.
The subject of this review is a bit of a strange one. It’s a Signatory Vintage Edradour single malt. Or to put it another way, it’s an Edradour whisky bottled by the independent bottler that owns Edradour. Clear? What do you mean no?
I picked this whisky up after a recent virtual tasting with the Good Spirits Co. The theme of the evening was an exploration of the effects sherry has on a variety of different spirits. There was gin, aged in a PX cask, Brandy De Jerez, Rum from an Oloroso cask and a couple of whiskies to finish things off. One of those whiskies was this sherry bomb Edradour.
The whisky from this single cask was distilled 21st December 2011 and bottled 3rd February 2022. It’s bottled at natural colour and 46% alcohol by volume. I paid £63 for my bottle.
Smell: It’s a big old sherry bomb on the nose. Balsamic vinegar. Treacle. Golden syrup. New leather. Cherry. Raspberry and blackcurrant. Apple. Walnut. Polished oak furniture. Raisins, sultanas and prunes. Subtle sulphury note like struck matches or burnt toast. Warm spices… nutmeg, cinnamon and cayenne.
Taste: Lovely texture on the palate. This is a dram with a bit of weight. It’s almost chewy. Once again, there’s an intense sherry character to be reckoned with. There’s charred oak and something that reminded me of a slightly burnt honey glazed ham. Also raisins and various other dried fruits. Tobacco. Touch of raspberry and cherry. A wee bit of slightly smoky pepper at the finish with a little dryness. Sherry lingers for days.
Thoughts: A sherry bomb that leans more towards the sweet, dried fruits side than it does the oaky side. It’s almost got a slightly acidic quality to it, reminiscent of some Olorosos sherries. At 46% it’s incredibly drinkable yet retains a luxurious feel. It can take a bit of water but actually I felt it was better without it. It seemed to lose a little body when a wee splash was added. All in all, it’s a very satisfying drop. Perhaps a little too one-dimensionally sherry-led for some palates but if you’d rather taste more of the distillery character you could always buy the standard 10-year-old instead. This is a big, bold blast of sherry. It’s not about balance, it’s about showing what a sherry cask can give to a Scotch whisky. Almost an exercise in extremes. I certainly wouldn’t want every whisky to taste this way but when you’re in the mood, there’s nothing better than a sherry bomb.
Value for money: The price of sherry-matured whisky seems to be constantly increasing but if you enjoy big sherry-dominant whiskies, you’ll likely think this was a bit of a steal at £63. It has certainly been a very worthwhile purchase for me.
For more on Signatory Vintage visit their website https://www.signatoryusa.com/
For more on Edradour visit their website https://www.edradour.com/