Sweet whiskies come in many shapes and colours. In Scotland, region of Speyside is usually associated with sweet and smooth whiskies. Speyside whiskies tend to have a nice sherry cask maturation, which can offer very sweet notes. Bourbon cask can offer sweetness too, but it's usually other kind of sweet notes: vanilla and creamy toffee. The world of sweet whiskies is so large, that there are many variations. And of course it's always a personal opinion, which is a sweet whisky and what kind of sweetness does it offer. Read more about tasting whiskey.
Sweet whiskies can offer notes like:
- Sherry, syrupy, marmalade and dark fruity sweetness, which especially from Pedro Ximenez sherry casks
- Vanilla or toffee, which come especially from American white oak casks
- Caramel and sugary notes – some whiskies are caramelized but American oak also gives caramel notes
- Sweet honey notes are typical with bourbons
- Marzipan notes are not my favorite ones but quite usual with whiskies
- Different kind of fruity notes from dark and red to crispy and green
Smooth and mellow drams
As mentioned, Speyside usually offers smooth and mellow sweet whiskies. They aren't usually light though – sherry cask maturing makes them full and jammy or syrupy.
American Bourbon whiskies
Bourbons are made using more than 50% corn in the mash. Corn tends to give some honey feel or it can simply taste as corn. Either way, it usually gives a sweet note. Some bourbons even give you that very waxy honey feel.
Candy notes come in different forms, whether it's caramel or fruit candy, marshmallows or even licorice. These different candy notes are results from different type of oak or spirit, peated whisky usually gives salty licorice notes.
Few good whiskies with sweet notes:
- Aberlour A'Bunadhs are sweet and full sherry whiskies
- Glendronach 15YO Revival is dark, sweet and full
- Bushmills 21YO is full of candy notes
I've listed few usually sweet categories below: