Whisky in Palo Cortado Casks

1. The Origin

The Palo Cortado is a special kind of sherry. It is a mixture of Amontillado and Oloroso. Nobody knows how it was developed and why, but a 'true' Palo Cortado is know to be made by accident only. Today some companies blend Oloroso with Amontillado and call it Palo Cortado. 

    

Palo Cortado VORS

2. Production and post treatment

The initial Palo Cortado spends a part of its maturation life under the protective layer of flor inside the cask. At this point it is still meant to become an Amontilado. During the rest of the maturation the flor is broken and the sherry undergoes an oxidative maturation. The layer is broken by the refortification of the sherry. At this point of the maturation, more spirit is added to the maturing Sherry to raise it to about 18% ABV. This newly added alcohol breaks the flor layer and lets the Sherry mature more into an Oloroso direction. 

Maturing sherry cask with flor
Sherry cask with flor (yeast layer)
Maturing sherry cask
Oloroso Sherry cask without flor (yeast layer)

3. Effect on the Taste

The Palo Cortado is a mixture of Amontillado and Oloroso. However the fresh, dry, crispy notes of the Amontillado develop more in the nose than the taste. The taste is usually dominated by the dark, fruity Oloroso aromas that develop under the oxidative phase of the maturation.

4. Effect on the Colour

The colour is usually darker and comparable to an Oloroso. This also influences the whisky it matures. 

5. Whisky Examples

There are very few whiskies that specifically state that they matured in Palo Cortado casks.

Glengoyne meets Palo Cortado

 Glengoyne Cask Finish Palo Cortado Vintage 1999

 A cask finish of Glengoyne distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2012. It comes with a 30 year old Palo Cortado Tradicion.