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  • Writer's pictureIsobel Salamon

Scotch and Sherry: A Flavour Odyssey

Sherry and Scotland have a deeply connected past with Edinburgh’s first records of drinking it dating back to 1548. The city even has its own Cadiz street, named after the Spanish port where Sherry barrels were dispatched out of before being shipped into Leith.

It’s a fascinating past and for Scotland, these barrels offer greater meaning as when they

arrived in town the wine would be poured into bottles and the casks snapped up by eager whisky merchants who discovered by refilling the empty barrels with their spirit, it would impart beautiful Sherry flavours into the end dram - which ignited the world’s love affair with sherry-matured whiskies.

In celebration of this symbiotic relationship, The Scottish Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) held a screening at Scotsman Picturehouse, inside The Scotsman Hotel, to showcase their new film ‘Scotch and Sherry: A Flavour Odyssey”, exploring how the Society’s sherry-matured whisky gets its flavour.

Producer, Richard Goslan, Single Cask Writer, SMWS, explains: “We wanted to tell the story of both of these kinds of casks, taking viewers on a journey back to the oak forests of Galicia where the trees are felled, the sawmills where the staves are created, the cooperages of the ‘Sherry Triangle’ in Andalucia where the casks are created, and the bodegas where the sherry is produced and our casks are seasoned. … There’s so much to learn about what we call a ‘sherry cask’, and we hope this documentary goes some way towards helping people understand this fascinating world of sherry flavour.”

On arrival, guests enjoyed a drinks and canapés reception featuring an SMWS-filled Whisky Highball or a glass of unfortified Spanish white wine, Ximénez-Spinola, intriguingly made with Pedro Ximenez grapes, ones typically reserved for producing sweet Sherry. The white wine’s apricot sweetness and balanced acidity is the popular choice of the night and a perfect companion to a couple of rich mouthfuls of chorizo.

Moving inside the cinema each table sports three Society whiskies, two Sherry’s and a chunky box of popcorn for snacking. We tuck into the Sherry wines as the film kicks off and are instantly transported to the oak forests of Green Spain before moving to the fiery cooperages and cathedral-designed bodegas of Jerez.

The formal tasting begins as the credits roll and sees the film’s star - Euan Campbell, SMWS’s, Head of Whisky Creation, speak to his experiences abroad and the three drams: Scarlett Marzipan, Cask-Strength Lapsang Souchong, “One fancies a Sherry” (one does indeed;, all being matured in Sherry Butts seen in the film.

The film is a great exploration of two similar cultures and the hard work, vision and dedication that goes into making the end Scottish spirit. It will appeal to anyone who likes history and of course to Scotch and Sherry lovers.

Please contact SMWS to view the film.

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