Port Cask & Whisky- Types of Port Cask & Flavour to Whisky

Port Cask & Whisky:

Types of Port Cask & It's Flavour influence to Whisky

In the world that is dominated by Bourbon & Sherry, 

there is Port Cask..

Port is a type of fortified wines made in Portugal's Douro Valley, only only this region can be labeled as Port.

Port Casks has been used as an alternative finish to age whisky before bottling, it provide more diversity and depth to the liquid aged in the cask.

How Port are made?

A simple and easy explanation would be: Grapes are harvest, press and fermented with yeast. During fermentation, before all sugar are converted, a neutral grape spirit in added to stop the fermentation. The sugar also explain why Port is sweet.. sometimes over sweet for me.

The Grapes

A diverse type of grapes. Red Port, Touriga Franca been the most accessible & Touriga Nacional been the opposite- hard to manage & most desired. 

White Port, Donzelinho Branco, Sercial, Malvasia Fina, Viosinho, Rabigato, Gouveio and Folgasão.

The Cask

Pipe is the name for Port Casks, that can held anything from 350L onwards, around a size of Butt. Mostly will be made from American Oak in todays market.

The Type of Port Cask & their impact to Whisky

(Table from Top Whiskies)

So, what are the Whisky that are matured in Port Cask.

From my experience, most of the whiskies I have came across are Port Cask Finish/Partial Maturation and most of them are done by Independent Bottlers, my thought is that would want to try something new with the liquid-like adding some other notes to the liquid itself to create more diversity in the liquid and not wanting the port to take the main stage. 

But, I'm sure there are Officially Bottling goes with Port Cask like Tomatin 14YO (Tawny) Port Cask Finish that offers the nutty, red fruit & wood characters. Also Dalmore (Tawny) Port Wood Reserve, other than the sweetness, I suspect you have more of the American Oak influence to this.

Interestingly, White Peak Distillery's Wire Work Single Malt Range also released a port cask bottling, The Wire Work Full Port (Tawny), fully matured in port, not a finish. It offers strawberry, maple syrup & nutty notes, a very dessert style whisky that can somewhat reminds you of Port Wines. A lasting finish that will remain on your tongue for a good while. This will be reaching Singapore likely by this week.

Ok Kris, we had enough of Tawny Port, can you show me some Ruby Port instead?

(Not saying that I have no more TP to recommend! but lets go Ruby Port!)

Royal Brackla 2011/2023 11YO  (Ruby Port Finish) , Independent Bottler should be your North if you are looking for some interesting distillery/cask finish bottling. And this,  Royal Brackla is one of them, orginally was aging in a refill barrel but the taste is not satisfying, so to make it more fun and drill down to flavours, it was finished in a Ruby Port, which gives the strawberry & chocolate notes to the fruity Royal Brackla.

Glen Spey 2013/2023 10YO Super Porto & Ruby Port Finish a vatting of 2 cask finish, one is ex-Ruby Port & the other is Super Porto Cask,  this combination pumped in the port cask flavours-fruity & nutty notes (Glen Spey is nutty too!) There are berries, sweet & the oiliness from Glen Spey as well. This is a very unique experience, with oxidation, more flavour will be there to explore.


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