Monday, 28 March 2016

Exile Casks Launch March 2016

We've had a very busy March and have so much to catch up on! With so much news to share I've decided to start with the latest news first! Last Wednesday, I headed down to London’s Soho Whisky Club for the launch of the first from Joel Harrison and Neil Ridley’s latest venture, The ‘Exile Casks’

The ‘Exile Casks’ is a new range of single cask scotch that will be available only from For the past 3 years Neil and Joel been searching all over Scotland for lost and forgotten casks, and they say that they’ve found some gems amongst the warehouses.
Whisky Discovery
Three new Whisky Discoveries to log!
Whisky Discovery No.1653

Caskstrength And Carry On 3D Whisky 56.4% abv
Blended Malt Whisky
no longer available
The first dram of the evening was the last release from Neil and Joel under the ‘Cask Strength’ brand. 3D is a 'vatted' malt from 3 distilleries beginning with the letter D; Dalwhinnie, Dailuaine and Dufftown, was created by Joel and Neil themselves under the guidance of Diageo Master Blender Dr Matthew Crow.

Unfortunately, I never managed to taste any of these early releases from the Cask Strength label so this, the last in their short series was the first for me.

Just 504 signed and numbered bottles were produced, at 56.4% abv, complete with stereoscopic 3D label and glasses. They were available exclusively from Master of Malt at around £50 a bottle and have all sold out long ago, although if you really want to try it there were some ‘Drinks by the Dram’ available when I looked.

Whisky Discovery No.1654

The Trojan 25 Year Old 57.1% abv
Single Cask Speyside Whisky
£65.00 500ml (only available from
Exile Casks Whisky
This was being bottled on the day of the tasting, so no bottle shot!
The Trojan, a 25 Year Old single cask from a Speyside distillery will be the first release from Exile Casks. Neil and Joel were not prepared to discuss the distillery this came from, but records showed that this cask was filled with spirit from one distillery and then labelled as being something else. Distilled 19th June 1990 and matured in a refill hogshead, it was currently being bottled (as we were tasting) at 57.1% with just 306 500ml bottles, and will be available from 31st March at £65 but only from

So What Did I Think?
Quite a punchy dram with a gloriously rich, almost sherry cask, colour. Lots of woody oaky notes on the nose with liquorice and nutty notes too, walnut in particular. There was also a surprising celery salt note detected – and I thought it was only Kat that had these oddities in her tasting notes! This is also surprisingly lively for a 25-year-old, with lots of rich spicy notes on the palate. Water tamed the spicy heat and sweetened the flavours. One of the Soho Whisky Club members had brought in some home-made chocolates, and this whisky worked wonderfully with the chocolate – Bravo!

Whisky Discovery No.1655

'TBA' 1992 55.5% abv
Single Cask Speyside Whisky
£TBA0 500ml (only available from
No bottle, No label, not even a name yet!
Our third and final dram was a teaser from their next release. Another single cask from a Speyside distillery and again no distillery name will be released, although we were told that this cask had travelled, having been moved to four different warehouses. Distilled 9th April and matured in a 200-litre refill ASB (American Standard Barrel) and the sample we were tasting was at 55.5% abv. This yet to be named release is about a month away and if you want to find out more you’ll need to sign up on

So What Did I Think?
Now this very quickly won me over and was my favourite of the evening’s three new Whisky Discoveries. The nose having a tropical fruity feeling with pineapple and coconut cream, lots of coconut cream! - Delicious!

I always enjoy my trips to The Soho Whisky Club as more often than not it's because I've been invited to the launch of a new expression! The original plan of the Cask Strength team was to release an A-Z series of whiskies, but quickly realised that they were going to be hard-pressed to do this, especially in order! The first two casks are indeed very different and divided the Soho Whisky Club members fairly equally. That, however, is hardly surprising as single cask releases from the same distillery can be very different. There's no brand profile in terms of taste or style being sought here, just single casks that appeal to Neil and Joel. There's no exclusivity other than the limited release that a single cask can yield. When it's gone, it's gone!

hy 500ml bottles? Well firstly more people will be able to enjoy each release! The initial release, limited to just 306 500ml bottles would yield just 218 bottles at 700ml. Secondly, Neil and Joel looked at their own whisky collections and noticed that many of their bottles had around 200ml left in the bottom of them (yeah, mine too!). There's nothing like opening a newly purchased bottle, and these releases are meant to be drunk!

So, if you want to find out just what whisky Neil and Joel really like you'll just have to sign up on their new website as this will be the only place you can buy them from. You can follow them on Twitter too @ExileCasks we'd suggest you do just that!

Slàinte! Dave

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