A small batch of Sponges

Already heard about the “Whisky Sponge” independent bottler? I’m personally fan of the sense of humor in their wonderful labels and crazy descriptions! But that’s not it, let’s try what’s inside those beautiful bottles!

Highland Park 13yo 2007-2020 (57.1%, OB for Decadent Drinks, 1st Fill European Oak Sherry Hogshead, Cask #4613, 349 bottles)

Colour: Deep copper.
Nose: No alcohol presence. Heather honey with a veil of wood smoke, dusty old leather, old library, candied orange zest, plums jam, herbal notes, tar and roasted coffee beans.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is perfect and the texture is oily. Dusty raw leather, candle wax, toasted oak, heather honey, noble wood, floral notes, raisins, dusty library, roasted almonds and candied hazelnuts, candied orange zest, candied walnut tart, wood smoke, cigar box and some pine wood adding some delicate freshness to the mix!
Finish: Long. Mainly on raisins, raw leather, wood smoke and hints of leather. The wood smoke and the dryness associated lingers a little bit more than the rest adding some complexity even in the finish.

A very nice old school Highland Park profile very well executed. It’s quite complex and balanced without being only all about the cask. Here the distillate is felt and powerful.
A very nice alliance of a powerful distillate and a very nice cask. Quite stunning for a 13yo, well done!

Score: 89

Equilibrium I 10yo 2003/2010 (52%, Whisky Sponge, 1st Fill Ex-Sherry Butt / Refill Hogshead)

Colour: Light copper with deep gold hues.
Nose: No alcohol presence. Delicious maturated smoked meat, tobacco leaves, mentholated freshness, tar, raisins, a delicate and balanced coastal peat, iodine, sea salt, freshly cut grass, rose petals and floral honey.
Mouth: The alcohol is perfectly integrated and the texture is oily. The profile if powerful with another plate of delicious Canadian smoked meat, coastal peat, BBQ sauce, iodine, hints of medicinal notes, sea salt, tar, white pepper, aromatic herbs, coffee beans, liquorice, bitter dark chocolate and still a nice mentholated freshness in the end of the mouth.
Finish: Long. Smoked meat with white pepper at first and then comes the dark forest fruits, blackcurrants, an aerial and iodized peat, caramelized walnuts and nutmegs.

This release is a mix of two casks: an Edradour 2010 First fill sherry butt and a Ballechin 2003 Refill Hogshead. So it’s a balance of an unpeated and a peated spirit from the same distillery to achieve a perfect equilibrium of a peated sherry profile.
In my opinion most of the time the peated sherry profile are explosive but lacks complexity, here I have to admit that I’m surprised by the result. In fact the name is quite accurate and there is an equilibrium in the profile and it’s quite depth with a nice complexity!
It’s clearly not a peated sherry bomb, here we are more on a gentle, balanced and complex dram full of sharpness. The peat is still powerful but more in a gentle and complex way. Good job!

Score: 89

Caperdonich 25yo 1995-2021 (52%, Whisky Sponge, Refill Sherry Hogshead, 124 bottles)


Colour: Deep gold with copper hues.
Nose: No alcohol presence at all. It’s round and fruity with peaches & apricots jam, candied orange zest, candied, ginger, caramelized nutmeg tart, noble wood and hints of metallic notes.
Mouth: The alcohol integration is perfect and the texture is very oily. Peaches & apricots jam again, citruses, floral notes, rose petals, raisins, nutmeg, freshly pressed orange juice and delicate noble wood notes mixed with waxy notes to end this wonderful mouth!
Finish: Mid-Long. Candied orange zest wrapped in a delicious dark chocolate, Rapadura sugar, old cigar box, white pepper, hints of anise stars and a bewitching but still delicate mentholated freshness ending that finish superbly.

This one is pretty stunning, the mix between the sherry side and the fruity side results in a wonderfully integrated old school profile which I personally love!

Score: 90

The Sponge confirmed what was already my opinion. Not only the labels and description are wonderful, the liquid inside too. These three bottlings were really good and I have to admit that I liked the Equilibrium way more than what I expected. Thanks for these wonderful drams, I can’t wait try more of those Sponges!

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