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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 8, 2013


Two refreshing new Swedish malts

Sweden is another country where there are more and more new malt distilleries. Don't they already have five of them? I guess the cool climate up there must make any spirits mature very slowly, so heavy wood may be needed unless you can wait for decades and decades. Anti-Indian malts, in a way...

Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No.1 (45%, OB, Dubhe Single Malt Whisky, Sweden, +/-2013)

Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No.1 (45%, OB, Dubhe Single Malt Whisky, Sweden, +/-2013) Two stars This one was made on an island, and does not come cheap. However, such new ventures are very costly so around €95 is probably pretty normal. Colour: gold. Nose: interesting! And I'm not saying interesting while meaning 'bad', not at all. In fact it's a somewhat empyreumatic whisky at fist nosing, with unexpected whiffs of camphor, bandages and cough syrup... Was that pine wood??? (just kidding). There's also quite some vanilla and then the expected notes of ginger and porridge, while the medicinal side tends to disappear. Mouth: amusingly, the same camphory and piny notes strike first and give this baby a feeling of dry herbal liqueur, or even naked pastis. Some aniseed indeed, wormwood, liquorice... And once again, that goes away and quick, leaving room for oak, ginger and a dry graininess. Finish: good length but it tends to become a notch cardboardy. Comments: a two-step whisky. I liked the first step better, but I think this sure is a fine effort. Will probably improve over the years. SGP:362 - 75 points.

Smögen 3 yo 2010/2013 'Primör' (63.7%, OB, Sweden, casks #5 & 14-21)

Smögen 3 yo 2010/2013 'Primör' (63.7%, OB, Sweden, casks #5 & 14-21) Three stars and a half The very first bottling by Smögen, that already had a great reputation even before any bottling was released. How did they do that? It's highly peated malt (45ppm) and I like it that they disclose the age instead of going NAS and using an unlikely name straight from wikipedia. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a wee bit too strong at almost 64%, we have to be careful, but I do get something like... wouldn't that be smoked butter and orange fudge with a little soft curry powder? With water: the oak went to the middle distance, while the smoke comes out, although that one remains light. More spicy oranges, raw barley and touches of full grain bread. Pumpernickel? New oak but no wham-bam vanilla and coconut, that's cool. Mouth (neat): fights and bites you. Some prickliness, spearmint, ginger, bitter oranges, crystallised melon, lemons, tonic water... Needs water for sure. With water: that worked, even if it remains very spicy and kind of 'gin-tonic-y'. The gingery side remains obvious but it blends well with the smoke. Sweet mustard. Finish: long, between bitter oranges, ginger and a little sawdust. The smokiness is more obvious in the aftertaste. Comments: a funny combination of traditional and 'modern' tastes. Very entertaining, I doubt one could do much better with 3yo malt and new oak. Most encouraging, kudos, the future is bright for Smögen. SGP:464 - 83 points.







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