The Journey From Barrel to Bottle

What Are Sherry Casks? A Guide to Sherry Cask Matured Whiskey

Sherry cask matured  whiskey. It’s not a phrase you’ll find on a bottle of our whiskey, but it is an integral part of the ageing process. In this article, we’ll take you through everything you want to know about sherry casks. What does sherry cask mean? What is a sherry cask finish? Am I drinking sherry cask whiskey right now? (if it’s Jameson Irish Whiskey then the answer is yes) Trust us, once you get to know what sherry cask means, you’ll be sherry happy with the results.

What is Sherry?

Sherry or more accurately sherry style wines, are fortified wines made in the Andalucía region in southern Spain   The wine is made traditionally with Palomino white grape but also  Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel. Once fermentation has stopped the wine is then fortified with grape spirit. This produces wine that often contains 1.5 times the alcohol of non-fortified wines. In essence, it’s wine with a bit more kick!

Sherry is a protected product and is made under strict rules. Spain has an entire council to oversee sherry production called Consejo Regulador. It ensures production standards for sherry remain high within the region. It can range from very light and dry, to quite sweet and dark in colour, even by using white grapes!

What is Sherry Cask Matured Whiskey?

Sherry cask matured whiskey is not Sherry that’s used to fortify whiskey, nor is it whiskey aged in sherry itself (how would we even separate them?). It’s a whiskey that has spent time maturing in a used sherry oak cask. What’s a sherry oak cask? It’s a large barrel that has been used to ferment and mature sherry. This is part of sherry’s ageing process. Much like a whiskey-aged cask such as a used bourbon barrel (you can find out about that here) sherry seasoned casks are in high demand by whiskey makers like Jameson to use in their whiskey ageing operation. A used sherry oak cask is a seasoned cask, meaning the wooden barrel has soaked up some of the flavours, and is now ideal for adding wonderful flavour to maturing whiskey. For an in-depth view on barrels’ impact on whiskey, dive into our guide on barrel ageing.

What Do Sherry Cask Matured Whiskeys Taste Like?

Whiskey matured in sherry casks doesn’t have a single, easily identifiable flavour; it varies based on both the type of whiskey and the kind of sherry that previously seasoned the cask. For Jameson Original, we use casks that were seasoned with Oloroso Sherry during the whiskey maturation process. This choice imparts distinct notes of dried fruit and adds a subtle sweetness to our whiskey. Oloroso, you truly make a difference in our whiskey’s character—where would we be without you?

How is Sherry Cask Matured Whiskey Made?

Sherry cask whiskey is made by ageing whiskey in a cask or barrel that was used to store sherry. There are 3 distinctions for sherry cask whiskey all of which are actions for how to flavour whiskey in a barrel.

Full-term maturation

This is a whiskey that has matured fully in a sherry cask. It entered the sherry cask as a new grain spirit and was removed when it was ready to be blended and bottled.

A sherry finish

Another favourite method of producing sherry cask whiskey in the whiskey industry is a sherry finish. This is when a whiskey that has been fully or mostly matured in different types of casks (bourbon, wine etc) and then is transferred to a sherry cask to complete the ageing process, usually 3 to 12 months.

Sherry casks within a cask recipe

Single malt whiskey in particular, uses a range of casks within their recipes to create their whiskey. Whiskey that has been partially or fully matured can be part of said cask recipe, resulting in a sherry cask whiskey.

Can Sherry Cask Matured Whiskey Be Used in a Cocktail?

Of course it can, as long as you pick the best sherry cask whiskey to make it with (cough cough… that’s us). In fact, we have pages and pages of whiskey cocktails on our website! We recommend starting with either an Old Fashioned or Whiskey Sour, both of which are sherry good ways to have sherry cask whiskey in a cocktail!

Which Jameson Whiskeys Have Aged in Sherry Casks?

All Jameson Whiskeys include spirit that was fully matured in sherry casks, and some are finished in additional fortified wine casks (Click here for more on how Jameson is made). Taste Jameson Original and Jameson 18 Year to see how far Sherry Cask Whiskey can range in flavour with a little added time. Try Jameson Triple Triple to see what happens when Jameson is finished in sherry’s lesser-known brother, a Malaga wine cask for whiskey this is simply Spl-ain-did! …Get it? Spain… splendid… Ahhh, you get it.

What is the Best Sherry Cask Matured Whiskey?

…Do we really need to say it? You can find the best, smoothest, most robust sherry cask whiskey right here