Hola Amigo’s! This World Whisky Wednesday we take a hop, skip and a jump into a glass of something delectably Spanish, The Equipo Navazos, La Bota De Malt Whisky. Now, while I do like a nice Sherry now and then, I know next to nothing of the Spanish Sherry world. Some folk in the know however have informed me that Equipo Navazos are fine Sherry producers, and have been hitting it out of the park since day one, and their dive into whisky is much the same. Looking for information on the whisky netted me the following; Made of 100% malted Spanish barley from and distilled in Castilla la Vieja, the whisky is around the 12-year mark, spending 7 of those years in an Olorosso Sherry Cask of superb quality. Unchill filtered, no added colours or flavour, the whisky is completely natural. And that’s it. Seriously, that’s it. Aside from the odd tasting review here and there, there is next to no information about this whisky. And I’ve got to say, I would love to know more about it. Because after tasting this whisky, I am intensely keen to see what else Spain can offer the whisky world.
The nose is initially closed with a tight grasp of liquorice holding back the lot, but opens gradually, moving through into a nice redolence of honey, charred rye, and a leather armchair. However, we soon move into the full blossom of the sherry cask that gives Spain its fortified fame, and we are thrown into a spicy room full of oak chips, wood dust as we work away polishing up an old Aston Martin DB5, the rich oiled leather of the seats leading into more toasty rye, sultanas and heavy prunes. Soon after a piping hot cup of coffee gives us the energy to finish that repairs, and we take the car onto hot tarmac before tearing up the road, burning hot tires and a heated engine. A drop of water takes the heat away and lets the grains blossom, and touches of dark chocolate break through and gives a final wave as we drive away.
When the dram hits the tongue we speed away once again, with a rolling mouthfeel that runs spicy, oily, viscous, flavours of lemon sherberts, burnt cherries, toasted grapefruit flesh, hot strawberries, rich earthy soil, and the cooked rye returns. There’s tinges of smoke, a few pieces of burnt raisin toast, with very hot caramel and sugar and some sliced banana. It’s a hefty change from the nose, but a really brilliant change at that. The finish is medium, growing through spice, citrus, and we drive our carefully restored car off a cliff into a brilliant sunset into a sea of liquorice.
I believe I’ve mentioned it before, but I am not a sherry cask fan. This whisky, however, hits everything that I enjoy about sherry while skipping past anything I find distasteful. It’s well rounded, brings brilliant red and dry fruits, and jumps around to keep challenging the palate. There are little bits here and there that roll around oddly, as if the distillation was rustic and the cask brought it back. While not bad, I would wonder what they might’ve done with a better still. If I didn’t know any better though, I would swear that the Spanish have been keeping the best of the old casks to themselves. If they produce much more such as this, they’ll take the whisky world by storm, and I’ll be sure to try and keep a bottle of this aside for a rainy day. Enjoy guys.