onsdag 20 maj 2015

Visiting the Swedish Box Distillery to taste their next release!!!

Dear friends, followers and fellow whiskydrinkers! About five months ago, Hasse Nilsson, the Senior Brand Ambassador of Box Distillery, came to the pub where I do tastings once a month, to host a tasting himself, completely consisting of Box whisky. Not only did I have the wonderful pleasure to for once actually attend and enjoy a tasting (instead of ”just” conducting it), I was also informed that Box Distillery would soon invite a bunch of bloggers to visit the distillery, and I was told I was one of them! I was as you can all understand very happy to hear these great news and said to Hasse in a typically swedish insecure way: ”But my blog is so small... Is this really true?!” upon which he replied ”That might be, but you are one of the bloggers we would really like to pay us a visit!”

So, last weekend, the time had finally come for us to visit the distillery, AND also to taste their next release, "The Explorer"! Nine bloggers including myself travelled from our respective hometowns to Stockholm and Uppsala, where we were all picked up by Hasse, and the Distillery Manager/Master Distiller Roger Melander himself and went on a road trip to the region where the distillery is situated.

Now, Box Distillery (producing whisky since 2010) is one of the worlds most northern distilleries producing both peated and non-peated whisky. On the site of the distillery, production of material for wooden boxes took place, hence the name, Box. As you can see from the picture below the distillery (in the brick building) kind of looks like a box, although a really good-looking one, right? (To check out what critics from the business have to say about Box Distillery please read here, and for a 360-tour of the still-house please click here)

Box Distillery © BOX 

After many, many, many hours by car (having a wee “car-tasting” and a fun music quiz as we went along)



we finally reached the first stop, the Höga Kusten Hotell (High Coast Hotel) with it’s beautiful surroundings and the amazing High Coast-bridge just out front! 

The High Coast-bridge

We all sat down in the restaurant and enjoyed a really nice three-course dinner after which we were invited to a tasting.

 

But, no tasting of Box Whisky is complete without a proper and super informative/nerdy lecture from the Distillery Manager on the how-to of whisky production in general, and the art of producing Box whisky in particular. 


After a while our mouths started watering (or rather drooling) and it was finally  
time for the tasting, a blind tasting!


The tasting consisted of five whiskies, all of them of course from Box. Out of these five, each one of us was assigned the mission to choose two whiskies of our liking, which was not very easy, believe me! We tasted (although not knowing it at the time)

1. Their next release “The Explorer” 48,3% ABV
2. Cask sample of a 3yo fully oloroso sherrymatured non-peated whisky 54% ABV (first fill)
3. Cask sample of a 2,5yo fully bourbonmatured non-peated whisky 54% ABC (first fill)
4. Cask sample of an almost 3yo fully bourbonmatured 43ppm peated whisky 54% ABV (first fill)
5. Box Distillery festival bottling 3yo “Festival 2014 [Non-official version]” 52,7% ABV


Anyways, from this line-up I chose number 3 (which was sooo good!) and 2 as my two favourite whiskies, and together with the other bloggers we actually purchased a cask of bourbonmatured non-peated whisky from Box that will be ready to bottle in three to four years time. And you should really think about doing the same (following this link). 

Roger Melander with the complete line-up!
The whole crew!



























After the tasting, the hotel bar sadly turned out to be closed, but as you can imagine, in some magic way the party went on any way!

yay!
The next morning, after a couple of hours of sleep, some breakfast and a half hour trip by car, we finally arrived at the distillery! If I say that we received an ordinary distillery tour, well then I wouldn’t tell you the truth, cause it was definitely a VIP-tour! We did everything you can imagine. We checked out the mill. Got distilling at Box Distillery thoroughly explained

Spirit-still and the wash-still in the background
What is Roger measuring?!

we tasted the wash, which was amazing and in a kind of “wheat-beer”-style, sparkling with a taste of fizzy lemon and lime 

 © Bennie of tastenote.se

























 visited the bottling-line/bottling-room

bottles waiting for labels




















of course we tasted the peated as well as the non-peated spirit

 


took a tour in the two warehouses filled with maturing whisky



and what all the bloggers of course looked forward to, yes tasting Box whisky straight from the cask!

















We started out with tasting a non-peated whisky maturing in a first fill oloroso sherrybutt number 2013-7 of 500 litres. The whisky was at around 61,5% ABV and at the age of 2 years and four months old. It tasted amazing and so smooth, at least like a 10yo!



Then Roger let us taste a peated whisky from a bourbon barrel which he described as something like “peat gone mad”, but let me tell you friends, it was definitely alright! The tasting session ended in a very exciting way, a non-peated whisky that had first been matured for 3 years in a 40 litre bourbon barrel and then been transferred to an as close to square-shaped barrel (!) as possible, made out of Swedish oak, for a final finishing of seven months. 





This particular barrel was, as most casks/barrels used by Box, of course produced by Swedens only cooper in an homage to Box Distillery, trying to make something funny and extraordinaire associating to the name “Box” J

Roger drawing a big sample for us to taste

Mmmm... the "boxed" Box was amazing!
As you can all understand, we had a great time and I felt really sad to leave the distillery… But, we will of course go back very soon to follow the progress of our maturing whisky! Tasting note of "The Explorer" will come very soon, so watch this space. Finally, a BIG thanks to Hasse, Roger and all the other great people at Box Distillery for arranging such a nice visit!

 

Please follow SamuelWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my bird-page by going here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com Sláinte!

The whole crew! © Martin of peat.se


torsdag 30 april 2015

Svenska Eldvatten – Glendullan 2001

Last weekend I visited the Beer and Whiskyfestival of Gothenburg! This is the 3rd year in a row that it is arranged. It was my second time visiting and working at this particular festival, which was, as always great fun! As all friends and followers might be familiar with at this point, I work at the festivals for Edrington, mostly taking care of Laphroaig, Highland Park (whenever Martin let’s me), as well as Bowmore, since they just joined the Edrington portfolio. 

”What the hell is he blathering about?!”, you might wonder, ”Isn’t this supposed to be a tasting note of something really nice and exciting?!”. Well of course it is, so to the tasting itself!





During the festival I of course had the oppurtunity to visit some friends of mine in the buisness and talk about my favourite distillers/brands, I stopped by at Svenska Eldvatten (”Swedish Firewaters”) to see what’s going on and asked if there was anything in particular they wanted me to review. Peter and Tommy, the owners and likewise founders of Svenska Eldvatten, were both very keen on having me do a review of their next release, namely a Single Cask (SE043) Glendullan 2001 at 54,1% ABV! Now this is not any ordinary release of Glendullan, on the contrary, it has been matured for 13 years in a bourbon cask that previously held… Bowmore! The cask gave 164 bottles. 

Peter, SamuelWhisky and Tommy

This whisky will be released here in Sweden on the 2nd of May, and for international buyers it is available here

Nose
In the highest register or in the tip of the nose, we have some really exotic stuff, the most evident is a mix of very ”thin” or pointy green and yellow kiwi fruits, almost like kiwi juice in fact. Now I’ve never tasted or nosed kiwi juice but you know how associations work, right? ☺ There is also something in the very highest register of the nose slightly reminding me of oak matured agave. Below the highest register we have red apples, vanilla infused cream, and something green. A herbal touch, not herbs of course but more like the leaves of birch-trees, and other green stuff like slightly burnt grass, or perhaps newly cut lawn… Aahh, this is a perfect nose for springtime! There’s also a wee bit of passionfruit or peach, and just a wee, wee bit of menthol in there… sounds strange but there is! Ok, let’s have a taste!


Palate
Oooh, almost the opposite of the nose! Interesting! Really nothing from the highest register of the nose comes back on the palate, at least not the kiwi stuff. The only fruit that is there is apples, and peach. The oak matured agave is there with a kind of peated feeling, mixed with fudge, cream, and something really going towards marzipan. Quite dry and herby, a bit of a fist or punsch in my face from the alcohol, it warms my whole body. In total a very ”green” taste-profile, as I said a bit herby and in some way a bit salty, also almost drawing towards smoked branches of birch-tree, if there ever was such a thing. 

To sum up, for me this is a really exciting and also a bit surprising dram. It’s always fun when a dram is almost nothing on the palate as it is on the nose. Very intriguing, I think I just have to try some more Glendullan in the future, so let’s start with another dram of this one!

Finally, big thanks to the guys at Svenska Eldvatten for letting me taste and review this next release! Sláinte and please follow SamueWhisky on my Zuckerberg-page by going here, and on my birdy-page by going here


Copyright © and all rights reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky. The last picture belongs to Svenska Eldvatten. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com

torsdag 12 mars 2015

Swedish Whisky from Smögen – Sherry Project 1:2 55,7% ABV

Yesterday I was very happy to find a sample of Smögen Distillerys coming (fourth) release, the Sherry Project 1:2. As you can all understand from its name, this is the second release in a series that involves sherry finishing.

1:2 will be available at the swedish state-monopoly on the 26th of march but for international buyers many of Smögens products are available here

1:1 has first spent almost three years in four new heavily-charred european quarter casks (no. 32-35), and was then given a finish consisting of four months in a sherry butt. If you have not, please check out my tasting note of 1:1 here.

Now, the difference between 1:1 and 1:2 is that the latter was given a finish in a sherry butt for twice that time; namely 8 months. The cask no. were 28, 30, 31 and 39.







For me, this is really exciting stuff, even a bit of a highlight as a blogger, and I'm grateful that Pär Caldenby of Smögen Distillery sent me a sample of the 1:2 for tasting, so thank you! Now let's see what's on the nose!



Nose:
When opening the sample-bottle and nosing from it, out comes a very very slight and quick touch of alcohol/spirit, but also a big dark-sugary note. Pouring a wee dram into my glass, I get light touch of lemon-peel, then that slight touch of alcohol/spirit again but when leaving it to rest for half a minute or so it's gone in a whiff! Picking up the glass again I get that BIG note of dark-sugar and almost golden dark syrup. Quite high in the layers I also pick up… now what is it? hmm… sweet licorice! Dark moist raisins, juicy dried figs, even dates…almost earthy tones. There is even some dark but very sweet chocolate in there… dear friends and followers, this is some deep, sherry-influenced heavy stuff! "But is there any peat in there?"you might wonder, well, there is but it definitely lurks in the very bottom layers, and for some reason makes me think of candy with violet flavor, interesting! Well, I'm starting to get really thirsty so let's have a taste!


Palate:
Wow, this is truly intense stuff! Very intense at the very start, dark citric flavors (if there is such a thing), a touch of spirit-y-ness but disappearing in a whiff also on the palate, quickly moving on into the first sherry-hit, yes, it really is a hit! It's big and full of the dark raisins and dried figs from the nose. After about a second and a half or so the peat kicks in! Definitely more peat on the palate then what was there on the nose! Sort of a dark earthy peat, mingling with all the vibes from the sherry. Doing a great job at drying my mouth, mostly the front or very tip of my tounge. The aftertaste, or even the taste in total, is very long. Probably goes on for three minutes or so, leaving a touch of candied sugar… Nice!

Now you might wonder, how is 1:2 in relation to 1:1?! Well, let's find out and do a quick comparison, since I luckily enough have a wee dram left of the 1:1 :)


As you can see from the picture they're similar in color. On the nose, not surprisingly, the 1:2 is bigger, and more fat and mature, not only when it comes to the sherry-influence but also in general. The 1:1 actually has more of a creamy and softer touch to it, while the 1:2 is bigger on the sherry-side of things. The 1:2 is definitely more mature and has more confidence so to speak.

On the palate, tasting the 1:2 before the 1:1, the 1:2 really has lot's more when it comes to a citric/lemony touch, but also more of the dark-sugary elements. It is also a bit more spirit-y (bear in mind the higher ABV and the fact that I did not water the 1:2 to the same ABV as the 1:1). The 1:1 has a much more "calm" sherry-style and is a bit more "flat", but it has on the other hand been in a half full sample-bottle since november so… I'd say that the 1:1 has more peat in it which is really interesting!

To sum-up, this is a really tough match friends, they are both very good expressions, but if I would have to choose a winner from todays tasting I'd go for the 1:1 and so it still counts as the best swedish single malt I've tasted so far. Anyhow, Pär really knows what he is doing! So a big thanks to Pär for the opportunity and I can't deny that I really look forward to tasting the 1:3…

To all friends and followers, thanks for following also my Facebook-page and my twitter-page
Copyright © and all rights reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com





måndag 16 februari 2015

Laphroaig 14yo – Old Malt Cask/Hunter Laing & Co

A while ago I was once again very lucky to receive a couple of samples from the very nice people at Clydesdale, one of Swedens top importer and seller of whisky. This time around the package contained among other things a sample of a 14yo Laphroaig, a single refill hogshead bottled by Hunter Laing in his series Old Malt Cask at 50% ABV!

Well you all now that I'm a big fan of Laphroaig so it was not hard for me to pick this one for a tasting note :) Ok, let's go!













Nose:
The thing that's in the very front of the nose is not really ashes but very much soot, soft soot with a great deal of creamy vanilla in it (if that makes any sense…). In combo with the vanilla there's milk chocolate, burnt gun powder, and just a touch of sweet licorice in the distant. This is the kind of nose that I very seldom pick up in an official bottling of Laphroaig, maybe reminds me a bit of the first Cairdeas, but otherwise this style of Laphroaig isn't really to find in the official bottlings. Exciting to see  what the palate is like!


Palate:
Oh yes, I'd say it's the same here, not really like an official Laphroaig. But it's a very cool version since the sooty stuff is here, and I'd say with an emphasis more on smoke than peat actually. Warming but still very soft, smooth creamy-ness, feels kind of like a 2nd fill or re-fill bourbon barrel, smooth vanilla, a touch of lime and pear… the aftertaste is surprisingly dry, really drying my mouth now… If you want to try a different Laphroaig you should really try and get one of these bottles, unfortunately it's sold out in Sweden but it might still be available for other Laphroaig-fans around the world!

Big thanks to Tina and Thomas at Clydesdale for the opportunity! To all friends and followers, thanks for following also my Facebook-page and my twitter-page!



Copyright © and all rights reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky. The last picture belongs to Clydesdale. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com

 

onsdag 4 februari 2015

Teeling Whiskey Co. Strong Batch – FOR SWEDEN ONLY!

Friends! I am once again very privileged to be able to try a spankingly new bottling from the folks at The Teeling Whiskey Co. and once again it's something very special. You might remember that I a while back tasted their Small Batch blended rum finished whiskey (if not, please check out my review here). Well, this friday they will release a "strong batch"-version of the small batch. That said, it's the exact same whiskey and composition but in high strength of 52,5% ABV. 

It consists of 1800 bottles, ONLY for Sweden! Please take a look at the press-release (in swedish) here, and do check it out at systembolaget by clicking here. Ok, let's see what we have on the nose!



Nose:
Not boasting of Rum, rather an emphasis on very creamy vanilla, lots of coconut, there's elderflower in the background. The nose does not evidently scream "over proof/high strength" which I'd say is a good sign, on the contrary, very soft indeed. All in all, the nose is very single malt-y, meaning I can't find any traces on the nose that would suggest this being a blended with high grain ratio. The regular small batch 46% has more grain feeling to it, but here it seems "hidden" in all the wonderful vanilla softness. Great, let's have a taste!


Palate:
Very soft and vanilla/coconut-y beginning! That first half of a second I truly can't believe it's at 52,5% ABV! It only takes the other half second for all the flavors to, not explode, but certainly develop very fast into something quite citric, but still spicy, almost herb-y. Simply a mix of yellow and green flavours. After a while I get passion fruit very evident on the very tip of my tounge. A great balance between bourbon influence and rum influence in the aftertaste, slowly lingering away to end with definitely rum. Once again, as with the regular small batch, this is one of the few sucessful rum finished whiskeys, at least in my humble opinion (and definitely worth 449kr, that is around €48/$55)

A very big thanks to Jack and the other fellas at The Teeling Whiskey Co. for the chance to try this Sweden-exclusive before being released! Thanks and Sláinte! Please follow SamuelWhisky on Facebook here and on twitter here


Copyright © and all rights reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky. The last picture belongs to The Teeling Whiskey Co. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com

lördag 31 januari 2015

Svenska Eldvatten – Tomatin 2004

Friends and followers! It's been a while since it happened so you all understand that I was very happy when I once again found a sample from the guys at Svenska Eldvatten ("Swedish Firewaters") in my postal box! This time it was single cask Tomatin from an ex-sherry butt, 10yo at 59,1% ABV! Wow, this will be exciting!

Here in Sweden it will be available on the 2nd of february, but it's already available at Master of Malt for anyone who feels tempted. Ok, let's go!








Nose:
Very smooth and soft, a calming soothing style, dried figs, dark cherries in sugar syrup, something raisin-y, soft but acidulous vanilla, obvious sherry influence but not boasting sherry cask, rather moderate sherry influence. Kind of damp, like walking into a warehouse full of barrels, simply beautiful…


Palate:
OMG! This is powerful stuff, from nosing this I'd never guess that it would be so big and out there! This IS a sherry monster, big and bold! It's actually not the high ABV that makes it powerful, but rather the character or style of this whisky, cool! Kind of hot, very intense sherry-style, very citric at the same time as being very loaded with marzipan, vanilla, dried figs and some other dark notes. Definitely a bit bitter and drying my mouth, but in a good way, very big flavor!

A big thanks to Tommy and Peter at Svenska Eldvatten for once again sharing a sample! Please follow SamuelWhisky on Facebook by clicking here and on twitter by clicking here, thanks!


Copyright © and all rights reserved on all tasting notes by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky. The last picture belongs to Svenska Eldvatten. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro@gmail.com