Whisky in Muscat fortified wine casks
1. The Origin
Muscat is not a specific type of drink that is bound to one region, like Scotch or Bourbon. The Muscat is defined by the type of grape you are using to produce the wine.
The Muscat wine is used in many countries to produce fortified wines. Thus these fortified wines have many different names. In France they call it Vins doux naturels, in Australia Liqueur Muscat, in Portugal Moscatel and in other countries they just use this fruity grape without mentioning it specifically.
The Muscat fortified wine has no special area in which it is grown, nor does it have a specific traditional production method. So what defines the Muscat wines, is the grape it's made from. Within the grape family of the Vitis vinifera we can find common flavours. Nearly all the grapes are very fruity, sweet and floral.
Due to the fact, that the Muscat grapes are very fruity and very individual in flavour, the vineyards tend to use high concentrated very neutral grape spirit to fortify the wines without changing too much of its flavour.
3. Effect on the Taste
Whiskies matured in Muscat wine casks becomes more fruity, floral and sweet. Depending on the type of wine you might also get some flavours ranging from fruits like peaches to spices like muscat.
4. Effect on the Colour
The Colour alteration of the whisky matured in the cask solely depends on the type of Muscat wine stored in the cask before. Red wines will result in a red colour and white in no special alteration. The darkening of the whisky surely also depends on the oak as well, but this is a different kind of story.
5. Whisky Examples
From the label it is hard to tell if you have a whisky matured or finished in Muscat wine or Muscat sherry casks. Most of the whiskys stated with the Muscat cask finish were matured in Muscat sherry casks.
This bottling from Caol Ila is part of the Classic Malts of Scotland. The Single Malt Scotch was matured a second time in Moscatel casks. The result is a nice and sweet whisky with many different flavours.
This is a non chill filtered Scotch Single Malt whisky that was aged for 15 years and finished in Moscatel casks. A great Highland Malt combining fruity flavours of the Moscatel and the whisky.
A great wood finish from the Benriach distillery. It was matured in Moscatel casks from Portugal. This makes the whisky one of the great Speyside whiskies known for its sweetness and fruits.