By Richard Thomas
One of the most under-sung factors in how a whiskey ultimately turns out is climate. This is true to such an extent that I will sometimes read a whiskey blogger wax romantic about the virtues of a particular historic warehouse in regards to the maturation of the casks laid within, all without mentioning the interplay with the weather outside that building even once.
Awareness of just how neglected a point this is has led me to inquire about the role of climate whenever it varies from the familiar norms of Scotland or Kentucky. So, I am interested about how the weather impacts on maturation in extreme locations from Iceland to Taiwan to Texas. I’m also curious about those instances where a familiar type of whiskey, such as Scotch, is moved to a new country for more time in the cask.
Contrary to some reports, Nomad Outland Whisky isn’t the first example of such a thing. There have been other two-country whiskies before, and Nomad isn’t even the first time such a thing was finished in Spain. That said, Nomad is likely the product example with the largest production run, and therefore is the most accessible.
Nomad starts with a blend of 30 malt and grain whiskies courtesy of Richard “The Nose” Patterson, all aged between 5 and 8 years. These are married in Sherry butts, and aged for another three years. Finally, the liquid is shipped off to Jerez, Spain, whereupon it is transferred to Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks and given a year’s worth of finishing. Thus, this is a triple cask whisky, with the final stage in the radically different climate of southwest Spain.
The liquid has a light amber coloring, very much in the orange-golden vein, and leaves thin legs on the glass. It was bottled at 41.3% abv, and went unfiltered.
The nose is both quite sherried and thickly spiced. A malty sweet foundation is thickly overlaid with raisins, marzipan and pine needles. On the palate, the whisky is smooth, syrupy, and smacks of butterscotch, marzipan and banana. The finish takes a dry, woody twist at first, but runs sweet and lingers on with moderate warmth.
In my mind, whiskies like Nomad are representative of a key method to take a short cut around time in the cask by relying on better wood. Nomad isn’t exactly a youthful whisky, and by my math it’s age statement (if it had one) would read “9 years old,” but it sought to build on that base by going deep into Sherry territory. One might expect that to make it a sherry bomb, but not so much.
Even so, it’s a yummy, fairly easy going sipper. Moreover, it has a little bit of that “Spanish soul” I read about on Huffington Post, for it holds its character well on ice. Grab a bottle for your summer drinking.
£30 in the UK (70cl) , $45 in the US (750ml).