Darkness Sherry – Mortlach, Blair Athol, Cambus

At Paris Whisky Live 2022, the VIP section had an area dedicated to Atom Brands – best known for That Boutique-y Whisky Company which was celebrating its 10th anniversary! However, they also featured their Darkness range of intensely sherried whiskies.

Is it OK if I confess to being a bit confused about their new “Darkness” range? After all, That Boutique-y already has their well-known Whiskies, Gin, and now also rum… so why not build a twist on this? Nope! True to form, they don’t do the predictable.. instead created a completely new brand for intensely sherry whiskies – both limited edition vintage and then another line which are matured for only 8 years.

As they explain, their approach for their Limited Editions is:

Finished in Octave Casks that may have held any type of sherry wine, our Head of Whisky explores specific finishes (Oloroso, Palo Cortado, Pedro Ximenez, Moscatel or Manzanilla) chosen for their ability to enhance individual distillery characteristics.

These are unrepeatable releases that have each undertaken Darkness’ signature liquid transformation in tiny octave sherry casks.

As always, what matters most is what is in the glass! On offer in Paris was:

  • Mortlach 20 year 49% (Darkness) EUR 171 for 500ml
  • Blair Athol 18 year 49.4% (Darkness) EUR 105 for 500ml
  • Cambus 29 year 45.7% (Darkness) EUR 145 for 500ml

As it was just a sniff and swish, please forgive the light impressions… however enough to hope there will be future opportunities to explore further!

So… where did I begin? With the Mortlach naturally!

Mortlach 20 year 49%

  • Nose – A burst of flavours! Loads of sweet dry fruits, chocolate
  • Palate – Amazingly rich. Gorgeous and delicious – nothing shy about this Mortlach!
  • Finish – Resinous and rewarding, mocha

If this Mortlach was any indication, calling this an “intense” range was spot on! Stunning and well worth exploring. A mighty and most enjoyable Mortlach malt.

I then moved on to the Blair Athol….

Blair Athol 18 year 49.4%

  • Nose – Oh my! Also quite the sherry bomb! Strong sherry elements – dark fruits, nutty
  • Palate – Yum! Superb. Figs and nuts, like an indulgent chocolate bar
  • Finish – Fruity, caramel

A clear stamp of Olorosso sherry! And frankly, simply delicious.

And last but certainly not least, an aged grain from the closed Cambus distillery.

Cambus 29 year 45.7%

  • Nose – Initially quite shy, then opened up to a lovely fruit basket
  • Palate – Complex, creamy, subtly sweet
  • Finish – Soft finish

After the incredibly robust Mortlach and Blair Athol, it was quite a shift to this Cambus. However, once my senses adjusted to something softer and gentler, could appreciate the lovely nuanced character.

What an interesting trio! Whilst I miss the fun That Boutique-y Whisky Company labels can appreciate the quality of the liquid in the Darkness bottles!

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