Joadja Distillery Ex-Oloroso Cask (batch 4) and Ex-Pedro Ximénez Cask (batch 5) single malts: Two new Aussie sherry bombs

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Valero and Elisa Jimenez established the Joadja Distillery in Joadja town which sits about 140km southwest of Sydney in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. The Joadja distillery may be a relatively new Australian whisky distillery but it already has a fascinating story. The tale includes an Australian ghost town and a couple of Scotch style single malt sherry bombs which, like the owners of the distillery, trace their roots back to Spain.

The Joadja distillery’s story starts in Joadja, an abandoned shale mining settlement which has been a ghost town for just over 100 years. That is, until Valero Jimenez started making whisky there. Now, you can expect to find some new life germinating in Joadja. Valero tells me he has been sowing and harvesting barley on site since 2017 (I am told whisky produced from that barley will be available to purchase in March 2020).

Joadja use pot stills to make their new make spirit. They choose to age their spirit in used sherry casks which they source from southern Spain, and this includes casks from the bodegas of Jerez. Both Valero and Elisa were born in Spain, but Elisa is the one who visits southern Spain to source casks. Valero explains:

“Elisa goes to Southern Spain to personally source the barrels. She looks for genuine sherry barrels that have been maturing Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez for a certain time. We don’t want barrels that have been used for too short nor too long a time. The younger barrels may contribute “too much oak” and the older ones, not enough. We then have them re-coopered in Spain (generally to smaller sizes) and charred to our specifications. Then they are filled with the corresponding PX or Oloroso fortified wine and shipped to us. Now, the wine is not “transport wine”. We request high quality wine be used. Once in Joadja the wine will further “season” our barrels until we use them. The wine is used for either helping in the production of our Brandy (to be released later this year) or bottled and sold as a premium fortified.”

Joadja Distillery’s Ex-Oloroso Cask single malt is aged in casks that used to contain Oloroso sherry, which tends to be a naturally dry variety of sherry. Joadja Distillery’s Ex-Pedro Ximénez Cask is aged in casks that used to contain the super sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry. All the casks are made from American white oak. The casks Joadja use to age their whisky vary in size, and include 32 litre, 64 litre and 128 litre casks.

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Valero kindly sent me Joadja Distillery’s Ex-Oloroso Cask (batch 4) and Ex-Pedro Ximénez Cask (batch 5) to taste.

Joadja Oloroso.pngJoadja Distillery Ex-Oloroso Cask (batch 4)

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Joadja, New South Wales, Australia 🇦🇺

ABV: 48%

Age: NAS

Cask type: Ex-Oloroso American white oak

Cask size: 32 litre casks

Tasting notes: Young and “spirity” with a profile that is initially oak dominated and laden with wood tannin, but, then, there is some sweet relief as winy flavours develop and lead into a drying and subtly sweet Oloroso finish.

joadja-px1.pngJoadja Distillery Ex-Pedro Ximénez Cask (batch 5)

Type: Single malt whisky

Origin: Joadja, New South Wales, Australia 🇦🇺

ABV: 48%

Age: NAS

Cask type: Ex-Pedro Ximénez American white oak

Cask size: 128 litre barrels

Tasting notes: A sweet sherry bomb with all the syrupy raisin and prune you’d expect from the super sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry, but with added layers of chocolate, sweetened coffee, sticky licorice, herbal cough drops, soft wood spice and wood smoke. On the finish the taste of subtle wood smoke and char lingers with a bitter dusting of cocoa. 👍

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