Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Sherry Cask & Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Islay


We've got two more budget-friendly releases today from Berry Bros & Rudd, their classic Sherry single malt and their classic Islay single malt bottlings.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Sherry Cask

Region: N/A

ABV: 45.3%

Price: £46.00

BBR's Classic Sherry Cask is a vatting of sherry butts from an unnamed Scottish distillery. 

Nose

We’re met with a little bit of upfront sulphur, wet leather, moving into strawberry jam, a little raspberry compote and cassia bark. There’s some baking spices in the background, nutmeg and cloves, but there’s also a prominent young spirit/yeast note that we’re not loving. We’re also finding a few herbal aromas, menthol, alongside light brown sugar and sultanas right in the background. It’s in no way a sherry bomb, we’d say the sherry influence is a little lighter than expected.

Palate

The palate brings forward toasted walnuts, dark chocolate, dark brown sugar, cinnamon sticks and a handful of vanilla flavoured marshmallows. There’s a fair bit more sherry character appearing here compared to the nose. The mouthfeel is lacking, its a bit thin, and the finish begins quite bitter with dry oak, however there’s a bit of sweetness to balance this as the finish tails off. Time and air reveals caramel, toffee and raisins. There’s a bit of spice, mostly cinnamon, lingering on the tongue.

Nose (with water)

The reduced nose has more of a meaty sherry appearing, barbecued pork, a little bit of burnt toast smoke coming through as well. Definitely richer, but a little funkier too. Giving it some more time, the burnt aroma really overtakes the dram, like we left some nuts to roast for too long.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has a walnuts and dark chocolate instantly appear, and linger on into a more vanilla-like sweetness, with a touch of lime at the end. The mouthfeel remains pretty consistent, and the finish seems to have improved a little, mainly with those dark chocolate and walnut notes carrying through.

Conclusion

This feels just a bit too young for us. We appreciate the sherry character, but it’s battling with what we presume to be too youthful of a spirit. The palate does have some pleasant flavours and shows some complexity as it develops on your tongue, but not really enough for us. Personally we don’t need to go back for another dram.

Score: 5.5/10

Value

This seems ok for a sherry matured dram aimed at the sub-£50 market.


Berry Bros. & Rudd Classic Islay

Region: Islay

ABV: 45.3%

Price: £46.00

BBR's Classic Islay is a vatting of (presumably ex-bourbon) casks from an unnamed Islay distillery.

Nose

The nose opens with toasted white bread, honey and salty, maritime aromas. The smoke here is prominent, but not as punchy as we were expecting. There’s also wet rope, charred staves, preserved lemon and a mustiness that appears after a while in the glass. The alcohol is well in balance, and after some more time we’re starting to get candied hazelnuts, smoked butter and a little bit of apple flesh.

Palate

The palate opens with lime zest, marzipan, honeycomb and earthy peat flavours. There’s also icing sugar, candy canes and rice paper. There’s a tingle of spice, white pepper mainly alongside saltwater and wet cardboard. The mouthfeel is disappointing, there’s no body to be found, but the finish lasts an impressively long time leaving you with sweet vanilla and the mellowest of smoke.

Nose (with water)

Reduction brings out.. very few additional notes. It’s got the same sort of sweet, lightly peated aromas as before. Perhaps there’s a bit more of a charred wood aroma coming through.

Palate (with water)

The reduced palate has a little bit more astringency, more citrus, dry oak and and mint tic-tacs. There’s a little bit of juniper appearing too. The smoke is still light and the dram is still sweet, but we don’t feel like this dram needs water.

Conclusion

Not the most complex of drams, quite one dimensional with lots of bourbon cask sweetness and light-ish peat smoke notes on the nose and palate. Saying that, it’s an enjoyable dram and a session sipper for those nights when you don’t want to think too much about what you’re drinking.

Score: 6/10

Value

Islay malts keep creeping up, a year or so ago we’d say this was too pricey but nowadays it’s not too bad.

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  • 10 - Perfection. One in a million
  • 9 - Outstanding. Exceptional whisky.
  • 8 - Great. Would seek this out.
  • 7 - Good. Quality whisky.
  • 6 - Above average. Happy to have a dram.
  • 5 - Average. Drinkable whisky.
  • 4 - Below average. Passable.
  • 3 - Flawed. Noticeable negatives.
  • 2 - Defective. Significant faults.
  • 1 - Offensive. Pour it out.

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