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!
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!
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|The whole crew! © Martin of peat.se|