These Sherry Bomb Single Malt Scotch Whiskies Will Have You Saying Slàinte!

Tamdhu 12 Year Old
Tamdhu 12 Year Old is one of our favorite single malt Scotch whisky sherry bombs.Tamdhu

To be a single malt Scotch whisky, a spirit needs to follow a few rules. Obviously, first and foremost, it must be made in Scotland (hence the word “Scotch”). The term “single” is an important piece, as it references the fact the whisky comes from one single distillery. It can, however, come from different barrels from the same distillery. Single malt Scotch must also be pot still distilled using a mash exclusively comprising malted barley. It must also be distilled and matured in white oak casks for a minimum of three years (among a few other rules and regulations). Lastly, the right kind of cask can turn a single malt Scotch whisky into a sherry bomb.

What makes a single malt Scotch a “sherry bomb”

No artificial flavorings can be added to single malt Scotch, but aging or finishing in other vessels adds depth and nuance. Maturing in white oak brings forth flavors of caramel, honey, vanilla, and candied orange peels, for example, while sherry casks add flavors of dried fruits and candied nuts.

While sherry itself might not have the popularity it once did, the industry is thriving and it’s all thanks to Scotch whisky. For years, Scotch whisky producers have used former sherry casks, as well as sherry-seasoned casks for maturation and finishing.

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This relationship between Spanish sherry producers and Scottish whisky distillers is great for the consumer because it gives us flavorful, fruity, decadent whiskies well-suited for fall and winter sipping. Below, you’ll find 10 of our favorites. Some are from big names and others are lesser-known expressions. All belong on your bar cart.

A bottle of Glenfarclas 12 Year
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1. Glenfarclas 12 Year

If you’re a true sherry fan, your mouth should already be watering in anticipation when you crack open a bottle of Glenfarclas 12. That’s because, instead of simply finishing in sherry season casks, this highly rated, award-winning single-malt whisky is aged completely in former oloroso sherry barrels for all 12 years. This creates a smooth, indulgent whisky with notes of orange peels, dried cherries, sherry sweetness, toffee, and vanilla.

[$66.99; glenfarclas.com]

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A bottle of Shieldaig Oloroso Cask Finish with its box
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2. Shieldaig Oloroso Cask Finish

Shieldaig is another Scottish distillery you might have a difficult time spelling let alone pronouncing—but you won’t have a hard time drinking its knockout sherry bomb. Produced by Ian Macleod, this Shieldaig expression is first matured in oak casks before finishing in former oloroso sherry barrels. It’s known for its bold, rich, subtly smoky flavor highlighted by dried cherries, sherry, vanilla, caramel, and candied orange peels. It’s a nice mix of sweet and smoke.

[$52.99; ianmacleod.com]

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A bottle of Glenmorangie Lasanta 12 Year
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3. Glenmorangie Lasanta 12-Year

Glenmorangie is one of those distilleries that makes nothing but noteworthy expressions for beginner and connoisseur-level drinkers. And while you might want to start with its Glenmorangie 10-Year, if you get into sherried whiskies, you should absolutely grab a bottle of Glenmorangie Lasanta 12-Year. This memorable whisky first ages in ex-bourbon barrels before getting transferred to oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks. It’s known for its complex flavor profile featuring dark chocolate, candied orange peels, dried cherries, raisins, and sweet vanilla.

[$55.99; glenmorangie.com]

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A bottle of The Balvenie DoubleWood 12
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4. The Balvenie DoubleWood 12

One of the most popular expressions from The Balvenie, DoubleWood 12 was launched back in 1993. It’s first matured for at least 12 years in traditional whisky barrels, ex-bourbon barrels, and hogsheads, before moving to oloroso sherry casks for nine more months. After, it’s married together for three to four months in oak tuns. This results in a well-balanced, highly complex whisky with notes of candied nuts, orange peels, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and sweet sherry.

[$65.99; thebalvenie.com]

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A bottle of Ardbeg An OA
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5. Ardbeg An OA

Ardbeg is well-known for its smoky, peaty whiskies, but An OA is different. It still maintains those characteristics, but also has a sweet sherry component. That’s because its created by marrying whiskies aged in Pedro Ximenez sherry butts, virgin charred oak, and ex-bourbon barrels together in an oak gathering vat. This results in a uniquely sweet, slightly smoky whisky with a flavor profile of sticky toffee pudding, treacle, chocolate, dried fruits, and peaty campfire smoke at the finish.

[$74.99; ardbeg.com]

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A bottle of The Glenrothes 12
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6. The Glenrothes 12

The Glenrothes is known almost as much for its unique, rounded bottles as it is for its award-winning whisky. Its 12-year-old expression spends all of its time aging in sherry-seasoned oak barrels. This creates a sweet, complex flavor profile of toasted vanilla beans, cinnamon sugar, rich oak, dried cherries, and raisins. It’s a nice mix of sweetness and spice that deserves to be sipped slowly on a cool evening.

[$81.99; theglenrothes.com]

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A bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year Sherry Oak
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7. Laphroaig 10-Year Sherry Oak

Laphroaig is another whisky from Islay known for its briny, smoky, bold whiskies. Laphroaig 10-Year Sherry Oak is a classic expression for fans of both sherries and peated whiskies. First, it’s distilled and matured like the brand’s flagship 10-year-old expression, then finished for 12 months in former oloroso sherry butts. This creates a rounded, sweet, smoky offering with hints of sweet honey, dried cherries, sherry, candied nuts, oak, and vanilla.

[$89.99; laphroaig.com]

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A bottle of Arran Sherry Cask
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8. Arran Sherry Cask

This is a big, bold, memorable whisky. It’s cask strength and non-chill filtered and matured completely in sherry hogsheads from Jerez, Spain. Even with its high proof (around 55% ABV), it’s still velvety smooth and highly drinkable with a veritable symphony of flavors including vanilla beans, dried cherries, cinnamon sugar, slight spice, chocolate, and toffee. It will take several warming drams to find them all.

[$75.99; arranwhisky.com]

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A bottle of Benriach Sherry Wood Matured 12 Year
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9. Benriach Sherry Wood Matured 12 Year

Instead of simply finishing or maturing in one type of sherry cask, Benriach doubles up and ages this delicious expression in both oloroso and Pedro Ximenez sherry butts. Even with all of the sherry influence, it’s sublimely well-balanced and complex with hints of dark fruits, cherries, candied orange peels, chocolate, figs, toasted vanilla beans, and warming spice.

[$69.99; benriachdistillery.com]

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A bottle of The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask
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10. The Macallan 12-Year Double Cask

There are few distilleries known more for their sherry aging prowess than the folks at The Macallan. And, if you’re a sherry fan, your best bet is The Macallan 12-Year Double Cask. It gets its name because it’s matured in both oloroso sherry-seasoned American and European oak casks. The result is a complex, timeless expression with notes of candied orange peels, toffee, dried cherries, raisins, oak, vanilla, and seasonal spices.

[$69.99; themacallan.com]

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A bottle of Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish whisky.
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11. Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish

Located at the edge of the Scottish Highlands, Tullibardine is one of those distilleries that seems to distill nothing but winners. Its 500 Sherry Finish is no different. Aging in first-fill, ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Spanish sherry butts, you’ll find notes of sweet treacle, candied walnuts, caramel apples, vanilla beans, and dried fruit at the finish.

[$59; tullibardine.com]

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A bottle of The Dalmore 12 Year Sherry Cask Select scotch whisky.
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12. The Dalmore 12-Year Sherry Cask Select

The Dalmore is well-regarded in the single-malt whisky world for good reason. Its award-winning 12-year-old sherry casked expression is rich and bold, finished in both European and American oak casks that were seasoned with both Pedro Ximénez and oloroso sherries. This results in a spicy, fruity whiskey with notes of dried cherries, ripe berries, dark chocolate, clover honey, and a slightly spicy yet sweet finish.

[$80; thedalmore.com]

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A bottle of Auchentoshan Three Wood whisky.
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13. Auchentoshan Three Wood

One of Auchentoshan’s best fruity, sherry-centric expressions is its Three Wood. It gets its name from being aged in three different wood types: bourbon casks, Pedro Ximénez, and oloroso sherry butts. This creates a complex whisky with hints of stone fruits, dried cherries, fudge, sweet caramel, and sticky toffee pudding. The finish is warming, sweet, and perfectly fruity.

[$70; auchentoshan.com]

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A bottle of The GlenAllachie 15 Year Old scotch whisky.
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14. The GlenAllachie 15-Year-Old

Launched in 2019, this sherry bomb was aged for 15 years before being finished in barrels that once held oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry. The result is a complex, well-balanced expression with hints of candied walnuts, dried cherries, baking spice, cinnamon, and vanilla. It’s the kind of whisky you’ll want to sip after a heavy meal.

[$104; theglenallachie.com]

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A bottle of Tamdhu 12 Year Old whisky.
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15. Tamdhu 12 Year Old

Tamdhu might not have the name recognition of Macallan and Balvenie, but it should. Its entry-level 12-year-old is a great example of using sherry as a complementary flavor. Aged in first-fill as well as refill oloroso sherry butts for 12 years, it’s got a decadent flavor profile of dried cherries, raisins, dates, ripe berries, wood char, and buttery caramel.

[$68; tamdhu.com]

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A bottle of Kilchoman Sanaig whisky.
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16. Kilchoman Sanaig

Named for a watery inlet along the coast of Islay, Kilchoman Sinaig matures in a combination of ex-bourbon and oloroso sherry casks. The result is a slightly smoky, fruity whisky that’ll warm you from the inside out. It’s loaded with notes of candied orange peel, dried cherries, raisins, sticky toffee, butterscotch, chocolate, fudge, and pleasing peat smoke.

[$60; kilchomandistillery.com]

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A bottle of GlenDronach 15 Year Revival whisky.
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17. GlenDronach 15-Year Revival

Back in 2015, the whisky world was saddened when GlenDronach discontinued this beloved 15-year-old expression. Luckily, it came back. Matured in both Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso sherry casks, it has a palate of butterscotch, baking spice, ripe berries, caramel, and a gentle, nutty sweetness throughout. It finishes with a warming kick of caramel and dried fruit.

[$95; glendronachdistillery.com]

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A bottle of Glen Scotia Double Cask whisky.
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18. Glen Scotia Double Cask

Campbeltown isn’t as well-known as the other whisky-producing regions of Scotland, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good bottles. Glen Scotia Double Cask is a great example. Matured in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, it’s loaded with flavors like toasted vanilla beans, rich oak, dried fruits, and wintry spices.

[$58; glenscotia.com]

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A bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
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19. Aberlour A’Bunadh

There are few sherried single-malt Scotches more beloved by drinkers and bartenders than Aberlour A’Bunadh. Matured solely in Spanish oloroso sherry casks, it’s bottled at cask strength to kick up the bold, rich flavor. This results in a potent whisky with flavors of sweet sherry, baking spice, buttery caramel, raisins, and almond cookies.

[$115; aberlour.com]

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A bottle of Bowmore 15 Year Old whisky.
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20. Bowmore 15-Year-Old

Islay is known for its peat-smoked whiskies with the likes of Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Lagavulin grabbing most of the headlines. Sometimes Bowmore gets lost in the shuffle and that’s a shame. Its 15-year-old expression perfectly showcases how smoky peat and fruity sherry can work well together. It matures in ex-bourbon barrels as well as oloroso sherry butts. The result is a smoky, sweet whisky with hints of dried fruits, caramel, honey, toffee candy, and gentle peat smoke.

[$85; bowmore.com]

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