Monday, March 16, 2015

Spanish Whisky from Navazos Palazzi

Navazos Palazzi, the joint venture between spirits bottler Nicolas Palazzi and sherry bottler Equipo Navazos has previously released sherry aged brandy and rum. Recently, they introduced their first sherry aged whiskeys.

There are two single cask Navazos Palazzi whiskeys, a malt and a grain whiskey. Both were distilled in Spain at the Beam Suntory owned DYC distillery in Segovia. They are around five years old, and the grain whiskey is made from 100% corn.

The whiskeys were aged in Palo Cortado sherry casks and released at cask strength.  Palo Cortado is apparently a very rare sherry, but I couldn't tell you much more than what I've read on a particularly unhelpful Wikipedia post about it, so feel free to add info in the comments if you're a sherry buff.

Navazos Palazzi Malt Whisky, 52.5% ($100)

This has a sweet, fruity nose with apples and cherries. The palate is a light, sweet sherry with just a touch of malt underneath, leading to a fruity finish.  This is a nicely done, sweet sherry cask whisky that's easy to drink.

Navazos Palazzi Grain Whisky, 53.5% ($100)

The nose has very sweet sherry notes, like a Spanish brandy.  The palate is a massive hit of dry sherry with lemon rind and vanilla which ends in a deep sherry finish.  Given that this is a grain whiskey, I wasn't expecting a lot from it, but I really like it, maybe even more than the malt.  It might taste more akin to a brandy de Jerez (or just sherry) than a whiskey, but it's very tasty and I like those drier sherry notes.  It's also fun to drink in tandem with the Malt, just to note the differences.

The thing I love about these Navazos Palazzi spirits is that they really push the boundaries of sherry cask aging, infusing more sherry into the spirit than you might think was possible and just barely retaining the character of the original spirit, though it is retained.  It's fun and interesting stuff.



Jake said...

Most of the time with whiskeys they're just finishing them in the cask, rather than spending the entire 5 years in there, are there any other distillers doing this kind of drastic move?

sku said...

Long before finishing emerged as a trend, there was a long tradition in Scotland of aging exclusively in sherry casks. Most all of the famous sherried malts, Macallan, Glenfarclas, Glendronach, Karuizawa etc., spend the entirety of their lives in sherry casks.

tanstaafl2 said...

I managed to acquire both of these as well and tried them back in January but I had a little different experience. I liked the malt which I thought a bit more balanced and not quite as fruit forward as you found but the grain whiskey seemed to show its youth a bit more to me which seemed out of balance with the sherry. I need to try them again!

One of my current favorites is a Bowmore that spent all 16 years in port and Kilchoman just did the same with a 3yo whiskey. Presumably (and hopefully) we will see the Kilchoman again as it gains a bit more age.

Aberlour A'bunadh is another example of an exclusively sherry cask aged whisky. I believe the 12yo whisky is the same.

Ruben said...

It seems you're rather mild in your assessment, I've seen worse comments for these whiskies! Of course DYC isn't known for making extremely high quality whisky...

Glengoyne is the only distillery I know that regularly uses Palo Cortado casks. Here's an interesting experiment they did with Bodegas Tradicion:

May I suggest my own article if you want to know more about Palo Cortado sherry, and the mystery that surrounds it?

spytech said...

the malt i simply could not get into, i thought it was horrible, invited a few friends to try, and i just want to flush it.

Anonymous said...

Reviews like this are why I take Sku's writeups with a grain of salt. This seems quite biased for some reason.

sku said...

Hey Anon, thanks for your comments. Can you go into more detail about what about this review you think is biased?