Lindores The Casks Of Lindores STR Red Wine Barriques Limited Edition 49.4% 70cl
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The second release from an ongoing collection of bottlings from the Lindores Abbey Distillery that highlight the individual component parts making up the core bottling - the first release was matured solely in ex-Bourbon cask, whereas this next bottling features spirit matured exclusively in STR Rioja barrels.
STR stands for Shaved, Toasted and Re-charred. It's associated predominently with Dr. Jim Swan, a consultant who worked with a large number of new distilleries before his untimely death in 2017. Swan wanted to ensure new distilleries produced flavour-forward whisky almost from day one, but at the same time minimise the costs required to purchase old Sherry and Bourbon barrels that would help achieve that. Red wine barrels are (or at least were) much cheaper, due to the fact if you filled them with spirit the end result would contain drying, tannic notes. It turns out those compounds that create those tannins sit closer to the edge of each stave in a barrel, whereas softer, fruitier notes can be found further within. If you shave a few centimetres off the inside of a cask and then toast and rechar the barrel again to caramelize and seal the remaining compunds within, you have a cask that can offer a fantastic flavour profile at a cheaper cost.
STR has become quite common in the industry now, particularly with young distilleries wanting to get flavourful whisky onto the market at an early stage. If you want to know which distilleries Jim Swan consulted on, just look for an STR release in their line-up.
Bottled at 49.4% - not cask strength, but a selected ABV to highlight the flavour profile - and aged for just over three years, this limited edition has distinct red berry notes alongside creamy toffee and sweet spices. There's a nice bite on the finish thanks to the increase in ABV, but it doesn't overpower the complex notes that dance over the palate. The Bourbon release provides the vanilla notes, and it's clear how much fruit this provides to the core bottling.
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