söndag 22 november 2020

Swedish Blended Malt Whisky from Smögen & Hven – Bländande 55,5% ABV!

Friends! Last week Pär Caldenby, the Distillery Manager/Master Distiller at Smögen Distillery, contacted me by e-mail giving me a heads up that some upcoming products would come my way in the form of samples. Yay! The package arrived at the beginning of this week and one of the samples was marked "Bländande". The sample contained a swedish blended malt whisky and the name of this whisky is of course a pun, a play with words on the fact that it is both a blend and that the result of the blend is of bländande quality, meaning of blinding/dazzling quality. Bländande is a collab between Pär at Smögen and Henric Molin, the Distillery Manager/Master Distiller at Hven Distillery. This is (most likely) the first ever blended malt whisky using whisky produced in Sweden! 


The recipe consists of roughly equal parts whisky from the two distilleries. Both parts are made from heavily peated barley. The whisky is 8 years old. In total nine casks were used: four virgin chinquapin barrels (Quercus muehlenbergii) containing Single Malt Whisky from Hven Distilley, and four 1st-fill bourbon barrels (ex-Makers Mark) as well as one Oloroso Sherry Hogshead containing Single Malt Whisky from Smögen Distillery. The blending was carried out by Pär and Henric. Prior to bottling the whisky spent more than a month marrying, and was then bottled at (watered to) 55,5% ABV. Bottling took place at Smögen Distillery, while distribution is taken care of by Hven Distillery. More than 3000 bottles were produced in total.

Curious for some more info/details I sent an e-mail to Pär with a few questions which he kindly replied to. You'll find his answers in italics:

1). What is the ppm for the respective parts from Smögen and Hven?
The phenol-content in the malt of Smögen is fully [well above] 50ppm. For Hven it is somewhat lower but still definitely heavily peated.

2). The whisky has been watered to 55,5%, what ABV did the respective parts have before watering took place?
The ABV in the casks were well above 60% before dilution.

3). Was the sherry hogshead european or american oak?
American white oak.

4). In a commentary field on facebook it is said that half the contents of the sherry hogshead was used for this bottling. Is this info correct?
Half the hoggie was used, that is correct. Sherry casks can easily dominate so one has to use them with good judgement.

5). Can you share an exact number for the marrying time, and in what kind of vessel was the blend married?
Fully [well exceeding] one month. A [steel] tank.


Ok folks, there you have it! Here in Sweden 2600 bottles of Bländande is available this Tuesday (24/11) at the state monopoly, and the product can be viewed by clicking here. Now, let's analyze and see if the result of this blend blinds and dazzles me!


Nose:
Lots of dark and rich scents lurk about, great deapth. Very mature. The first things that pop up is the center scents consisting of dark fugde, something chocolate-y, ”fruity vanilla” (red berries and vanilla) and also a quite big malty-ness. Surrounding the center is of course peat, but it’s not really the Islay-style kind of peat (that I would associate with Smögen); there is a lot of peat but it’s rather soft and at the same time earthy (rich soil), and when pouring some of this whisky in my hands, rubbing them and nosing, the peat manifests itself as live coal/embers, leather and a whiff of mint. It might be just in my mind but I can kind of feel (recognize) which scents are from Smögen and which are from Hven, meaning both identities/distillery characters are present. At the same time, this is a really sucessfull blending project with perfect integration where the two parts become one.


Taste:
Wow, just wow! Old Laphroaig on sherry casks, spot on! This is definitely my kind of whisky. It tastes like 18 years or older but the peat has not calmed down (as it would have if it was that old and from Islay). On the contrary, the peat is very much alive, vivid, with an earthy, rich, chewy character to it. I’ve never tasted a Swedish whisky that tastes like this one. Magic is in the air and all nerds out there should be really happy that this project happened. Trying to ignore/set aside the absolutely wonderful peatyness for the sake of further analysis, I find dark raisins, black treacle and traces of sweet acidity (as of sour milk) in home baked bread, honey sweetness, sugar coated/caramelized ashes, and a wonderful smoky malty-ness. 

Some reflections to sum up:
Buy this whisky. Or you’ll truly miss out on something great!

Finally, a big thanks to Pär and Henric for the great opportunity to review this whisky before it's release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or is associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.

Pic borrowed from systembolaget.se

söndag 25 oktober 2020

Swedish Whisky from Norrtelje Distillery – Single Sherry Cask no.43-250!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! A couple of weeks ago the Sales Manager at
Norrtelje Distillery contacted me and wondered if I was interested in tasting a soon to be released whisky produced by them. "Of course" said I, and a couple of days later a sample showed up in my mail box. Now, this is the second release (at the swedish state monopoly) of whisky from this distillery, and this is the info I have about it:












The barley was organically grown in the landscape of Östergötland, and malted by Viking Malt in the city of Halmstad. The malt is unpeated. In the production process water from the well of the farm that the distillery is located at was used. Distillation took place in april 2016. The new make was filled into cask 43-250, a 250 litre oloroso sherry hogshead, on the 24th of September that same year. It was bottled straight from the cask without filtration on the 13th of January 2020 at 48,7% ABV (which I assume to be cask strength). The cask gave 193 70cl bottles out of which 185 will be available at the swedish state monopoly this Tuesday. The product can be viewed by clicking here. Ok friends, let analyse!


Nose:
At a distance from the glass (30cm) there are whiffs of sweet malt, sugar sweetness (syrup), and sultana raisins. Nosing closer to the glass (10cm) I find obvious notes of a nice sherry maturation (dried dark raisins, dried figs), light honey, and a slight touch of juice from canned pinneaple. When nosing straight into the glass there is apparent yeast, a yeast that has some peat and also some wood in it. The sherry maturation/style has unfortunately not fully overcome the yeast. In the deep bottom layers I find a beautiful liquorice and/or mint (the flavour, not the plant).


Taste:
Starts off on dark raisin sweetnes and some saltyness which fastly morphs into a mixture of yeast and new wood that thankfully quite quickly (2-3 seconds) moves on into a kick from the ABV and then we have medium peatyness, almond paste with whiffs of bitter almond, grassyness, and dryness. After these stark/strong flavours we have pear (not quite ripe), something red (apple?), dry vanilla, vanilla custard, and the almond paste comes back. In the aftertaste there is a mellow sherry sweetness, and the taste actually ends kind of in the same way as the nose did, with a pleasent mixture of peat and mint.

Some reflections to sum up:
If one has the ability to look past the yeast on the nose, nosing this whisky is a pleasure; it is complex and it contains some goodies, especially the sultana raisins, the pinneaple juice, the hint of peat, and the liquorice-/mint-vibe going on. On the taste, all in all, the yeast is less of a problem since it fades as fast as it does. Here too there are goodies, especially the medium peatyness, the dry vanilla and the sherry sweetness. Eventhough this edition of whisky from Norrtelje Distillery shows yeast both on the nose and on the taste it is definitely more mature and grown up than their first release (which was 6 years old mind you). Considering that this release is only three years old I think that it is ok that there is a little yeast in there (something I have experienced before in young whiskies/early releases from other swedish whisky distilleries). In my opinion Norrtelje Distillery has clearly moved forward and improved their whisky making skills. Congrats and good for you!

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Norrtelje Distillery for the great opportunity to review this whisky before it's release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or is associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.

Pic/copyright belongs to Norrtelje Distillery

söndag 18 oktober 2020

Swedish Whisky from Hven Distillery – The Nose 44,9% ABV!

Dear friends, followers and supporters alike! Today I bring you my review and thoughts on an upcoming release of swedish whisky from Hven Distillery called The Nose. You guessed it, this whisky is a tribute to the Master Blender (a.k.a The Nose) at the Hven distillery. You may not however have guessed that the name of this whisky also hints at the famous astronomer Tyco Brahe who lost the tip of his nose in a duel involving swords, and as a replacement is said to have worn a copper nose on an everyday basis but a golden nose for parties (very fancy, right?). Well, folks, that's just about as much storytelling I will indulge in for now...




The recipe goes like this: new make made from lightly peated malt has been matured in a total of 21 casks; 14 french oak casks that previously held Bourdaux wine (Petrus, Margaux, Latour), and 7 american oak cask, some virgin, some that previously held Vodka from Hven Distillery. The whisky was then transferred into spanish oloroso sherry casks for "marrying". The age of the whisky is 8-12 years old and has been bottled at 44,9% ABV. Here in Sweden it will be released on the 20th of October available at the swedish state monopoly. The product can be viewed by clicking here. Ok folks, let nose and taste The Nose!

Nose:
A very unique nose, that’s for sure; at first nosing there is juniper berries, but also juniper needles and/or fir, bark, and a medium touch of tar and asphalt with a hint of peat and dried grass. With that said, kind of a mix of forest, autumn, and industry (”industrial”; a slight feel of truck diesel). Below this dominant and rather harsh layer I find light yeast acidity, fresh pear, a bold vanilla, raisins and dried moist dates.


Taste:
The harshness and industry is gone, in favour of autumn and deapth! We have a dry and exciting spicyness, rye/cereal, warmth, dark viscous honey, liquid almond paste, roasted malt, milk chocolate infused with coffee beans, the feel of european oak slightly drawing towards manzanilla. And then, boom! A bold dryness hits my mouth, a feel of bubbles/carbonation jumping around on my tounge, dryness in the roof of my mouth as well as throat. After a while things calm down and the aftertaste gives a whiff of peach, pancake batter, water with light honey, and soft/sweet vanilla.


Some reflections to sum up:
Now that's a jorney for sure! The taste has few similarities with the nose, the nose might in fact be a deterrent to some people given its unusual-ness, but those who taste shall be rewarded. Very intriguing and interesting both on the nose and the taste. The nose of The Nose is quite complex indeed, the taste is more straightforward and not too dry. The aftertaste is soft and sweet and feels kind of like a mix of spicy Speyside and a luxorius, well-composed high quality, blended scotch.

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Hven Distillery for the great opportunity to review this whisky before it's release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or is associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.

Pic belongs to Hven Distillery

söndag 11 oktober 2020

Swedish Whisky from High Coast Distillery – Silent Mills O2!

Dear friends, followers and supporters alike! Today I am very happy to bring you my review/tasting nostes of an upcoming release from High Coast Distillery/High Coast Whisky called Silent Mills 02 – Sandö. Before we talk the specifics of maturation etcetera, here is some background info from the site of the distillery:

"Silent Mills 02 – Sandö is number two in a new category that develops and deepens the theme of the pedigree and authenticity of our Origins series. The High Coast, and its nature and history, is the backbone of our brand and the source of inspiration for our whisky. With Silent Mills, our historical origins in the northern forestry industry come into focus and the whisky is linked to our Origins edition, Timmer. Where Timmer draws inspiration from forestry work and log-driving along the river Ångermanälven, the Silent Mills series develops the story and highlights all the sawmills that have lined the river and which have long ago sawn their last log. Like Timmer, all Silent Mills editions are peated and are matured on 200 liter bourbon barrels. The crucial difference between Timmer and the Silent Mills series is that we add other barrels to Silent Mills to deepen the taste and create a whisky with more complexity and an exciting tonality [...] In Silent Mills 01, it was American new oak that added spice and clear vanilla tones. In Silent Mills 02 – Sandö, it is instead selected sherry casks that deepen the taste. [...] Like the previous edition, and the upcoming ones in the Silent Mills series, the whisky is bottled with an alcohol strength of 51%".

So, some details: the barley used was peated to 44-45ppm. Whisky matured in 20 bourbon casks (volume around 200 litre per cask) and 4 oloroso sherry hogsheads (volume around 250 litre per cask) were blended together. The youngest whisky in the mix is 6.01 years old and the oldest is 7.69 years old (giving and average age of 7.35 years old). The whisky was watered from cask strength (in this case 62,4-64,3% ABV) to 51% ABV. In total the casks gave 10318 bottles out of which 2500 will be (initially) available on the 13th of October at the swedish state monopoly. The product can be veiwed by clicking here. Ok folks, let's review!


Nose
This dram has two general profiles/styles going on at once. Sometimes when I nose my attention is drawn to profile number one: wonderful soft lemon zest (a touch of watered orange juice in there), a tad of lemon-sugar sweetness and at the same time very fruity fresh. Overall incredibly fruity. At other times when nosing my attention is drawn to profile number two: Smooth, deep, elegant but ’dark’ peat. Leather, and in the deapths a complex vanilla with a slight touch of almond. In the very bottom there is a cup of hot chocolate with a splash of peat in it. All in all very intriguing, mature, and kind of like a smooth Laphroaig.

Taste:
Starts off on ”burnt” sugar, caramelized pan-fried lemon-slices and peated pear, and then moves quickly on into a lump of dried up almond paste, farmhouse, earth/soil, smoke/ashes, liquorice penicillin, wet leather slippers and at the very end we have parsnips pan-fried in a lot of butter topped of with sweet peat. Wow, what a journey of flavors! 


Some reflections to sum up:
The nose is very different from the taste; while there is (in part) a very fruity profile on the nose the taste is mostly concerned with rough and rustic stuff! I would not really say that I pick up/spot the sherry matured aspect of this dram (but it is after all only around 20% of the liquid that has been matured in sherry casks). All in all this is a very good, complex, and well composed whisky that brings the drinker the best of two sides. Looking at the age of the whisky it is a job incredibly well done! 

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at High Coast Whisky for the great opportunity to review this whisky before it's release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or is associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.


In lack of a photo of the Silent Mills 02 bottle. Pic borrowed from systembolaget.se 

lördag 4 juli 2020

Springbank 12yo Cask Strength vs. Longrow Red 13yo – 2020 editions!

Friends! Recently I was contacted by swedish importer/distributor Symposion asking if I was interested in reviewing some of their upcoming whiskies. There was a bunch of whiskies on offer but as I have previously done I chose to (only) sign up for some samples from Springbank Distillery

The samples I chose are the latest editions of Springbank 12 yo Cask Strength and Longrow Red (both bottled 2020). The reason for choosing them was that I actually did a versus/comparison/head to head of them two years ago (click here to read that article), and I thought it would be interesting to do the same thing again :)





Here in Sweden, both the Springbank 12yo CS and the Longrow Red will be available for purchase at the state monopoly this thursday and you can view them by clicking here and here. When it comes to recipe for the two whiskies these are the details:

Provided by Symposion

Springbank 12yo CS (12-15ppm) has for the 2020 edition been matured to 65% in bourbon casks and to 35% in sherry casks. The ABV is 55,3% and Sweden receives 540 bottles (number of bottles produced in total not stated). 















Provided by Symposion

Longrow Red 13yo (50-55ppm) has initially spent 10 years on a mix of bourbon barrels and refill sherry hogsheads (ratio not stated), and has after that enjoyed 3 years of "finishing" in casks that previously matured Cabernet Sauvignon from the Chilean Mont Gras' Intrigue Estate (located in Alto Maipo). The ABV is 51,6% and Sweden receives 660 bottles out of 9000 in total. Ok folks, lets review!









Springbank nose:
Lots of sweetness going on here folks! There’s sweet peat, sweet leather (caramelized leather), and the sweetness hanging around in the air from when you’ve just squeezed some lemons, and hey, there’s even some peated lemon peel in here! And of course the peatyness is also rather “heavy”, moist, and soil-y as it usually is when it comes to Springbank, but, I really must say that this is a cask strength version of Springbank that is really, really delicate and rather smooth; the ABV/high strength is hardly noticeable! The sweet fruitiness calls for almost all of the attention and below the “heavy” layer this whisky shows a softness and a creamy richness that is to die for!

Longrow nose:
Very “closed” at first nosing… first I only pick up mould and plank (newly cut wood) intermingling with almond paste in a preserve tin (meaning notes of metal), strange. Then I swirl the glass firmly and vigorously and now the dram opens up. Out comes glorious notes of old leather, redcurrants, lingonberry jam, very dry almond paste, the purple wine gums in Bassets, orange marmalade/orange zest in peated full fat whipped cream, and very un-ripe green grapes. In comparison to the previous dram the ABV/high strength is definitely noticeable in this dram and has a bite to it (so watch out). On the downside, unfortunately, the plank (newly cut wood) returns in a sort of discrete way (once you’ve picked it up you can’t not feel it). Cool stuff on the nose but do remember to give the glass a good old swirl before nosing.


Springbank taste:
Oh, the perfect strength! First comes a generous amount of saltyness and the bitterness from licking lemon peel (why did I do that?!), and then bam! Dry peat, dry smoke, heavy tannins, lots of grape fruit and a tad of red chilli. It’s all very fast indeed. In the second wave there is vanilla cigarillo graciously moving on into peated almond paste and seaweed infused with mellow lemon. The aftertaste shows fading peat, watery vanilla sauce and a whiff of mint. Wow, that was very intense and quite eventful. A very interesting and surprising flavour journey!


Longrow taste:  
It all starts off with a really vibrant phase of sour-sweetness from the red berries on the nose, and lemon pulp that has been over the top sugared, and after that it’s on to old somewhat lurky peat, peated vanilla, watery leather and milky almond paste. Unfortunately, after this it all just morphs into a sticky and bland almond paste and faint peatsmoke and that’s it folks... While the 12 yo CS is fast and surprising on the taste in a good way, this one is fast and abrupt and nothing really happens after the two main phases. It just fades away to a rather... boring peat. That's just too bad. 

Some reflections to sum up
Well, this time around the Springbank wins the trophy for sure; both its nose and taste is far better, in fact superior, to the nose and taste of the Longrow. Sadly and unfortunately I’d say that this years edition of Longrow Red is a bit of a failure… Looking at the price level the Springbank has all the advantage and appeal. 799kr (around €80) is indeed a catch! Sláinte!

A big thanks to the nice people at Symposion for the opportunity to review and taste these whiskies before their release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos 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 [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.
Borrowed from systembolaget.se
Borrowed from systembolaget.se

lördag 30 maj 2020

Swedish Whisky from High Coast Whisky – Cinco 50,5% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! Today I bring you my review of a swedish whisky from High Coast Whisky (formerly known as Box Distillery). This whisky should have been released on the 2nd of april, but the release was postponed probably due to stuff relating to the pandemic. Anyways, this monday, the 1st of june, it is finally being released! Please click here to view the product.












The name of the whisky is Cinco, meaning five; the whisky is a mix of whisky that has been matured in five kinds of sherry casks, namely Oloroso, Fino, Pedro Ximenez, Amontillado, and Palo Cortado.   Ten of the sherry casks were of Spanish origin, and one sherry cask was of American origin. The whisky, made from unpeated barley, has however first spent time in bourbon casks (between 2,66 to 5,64 years), and has then been "finished" in either of the types of sherry casks until reaching the youngest age of 6,72 years and the oldest age of 8,68 years. Exciting!

Ok, let's review!  

Nose:
The nose is really soft, velvet-y and silk-y soft actually (so maybe extremely soft is a more appropriate description). This whisky is absolutely drizzling with scents like toffee, melted butter, sugar syrup made from brown sugar, and a deep, deep dark and creamy vanilla. Being a sherried whisky I find it very interesting that these scents actually stand before the ”classic” notes of sherry maturation (dark raisins, dried figs, dreid dates, etcetera). The sherry-style leans more towards rich and juicy dark red grapes than raisins, and more towards dried apricots and melted butter than dried figs. Very interesting and an intriguing nose that I could nose forever. Mmm…

Niiiice!
Taste:
Cool! Actually quite dry in style! I thought it would be more creamy than dry but this is quite dry and medium heavy in terms of the tanninic-ness. We do have melted butter and toffee from the nose, and the vanilla is also here but influenced with coffe and… amaretto with a dash of pistachio! Alongside these flavours there is also something over-ripe-pear-ish intermingling with evident menthol/mint that actually reminds me of a light peatyness. A very more-ish and chewy taste!

Some reflections to sum up:
This is a really good tasting and interesting style of whisky. The interesting thing for me is that it’s not at all over-sherried; it’s not your ”regular” oloroso sherry matured whisky. When nosing and tasting I found myself thinking several times that I’ve never had a sherried whisky that has the style of this one, and I’ve definitely never had a swedish whisky that has the style of this one. In short, it’s a genius move to mix sherry styles like this and it has truly resulted in something new in its category. I highly recommend it!

A big thanks to the nice people at High Coast Whisky for the opportunity to review and taste this whisky before it's release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos 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 [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.

Pic borrowed from highcoastwhisky.se

söndag 17 maj 2020

Cask Collaboration with Agitator – tasting notes of 2yo spirit!

Dear friends, followers and supporters alike! Two weeks ago, on the 4th of May, the spirit in the casks included in the cask collaboration project between Swedish distillery Agitator and myself turned 2yo (!). And so, today it is my great pleasure to share with you all my tasting notes of samples from four of the casks!

In order to read up on what makes Agitator such an interesting and groundbreaking whisky distillery, as well as exactly what our collaboration entails, please do click here and read this previous article of mine and you will get a good introduction to it all. The general details are as follows:



New make recipe used for collaboration: 
Peated barley (30ppm), 58% from the High Reflux stills, 42% from the Low Reflux stills, went into Bourbon barrels 111-116 with a filling strength of 55,1% ABV on the 4th of May 2018.

The details of the samples reviewed are as follows: 

Sample no.1: Drawn 200504 from 1st-fill Bourbon Barrel no.113, 56,4% ABV.

Sample no.2: Drawn 200505 from cask no.1532, a 32 litre 1st-fill Oloroso American Oak cask, 56,4% ABV. (Spirit transferred 191031 from 1st-fill Bourbon barrel no.111).

Sample no.3: Drawn 200504 from Cask no.1531, a 130 litre Virgin Chestnut (“quarter”) cask, 56,4% ABV. (Spirit transferred 191031 from 1st-fill Bourbon barrel no.111).

Sample no.4: Drawn 200505 from Cask no.1530, a 32 litre 1st-fill Oloroso Chestnut cask, 56,4% ABV. (Spirit transferred 191031 from 1st-fill Bourbon barrel no.111).

Casks no.1532, 1530, 1531, and no.111 on the fork lift
So, the way I went about analyzing the samples are as follows: after considering what might be a good order in which to taste, I figured that the chestnut casks (sample no.3 and no.4) were the "heaviest" ones; the ones most influenced by the wood. And so I placed them in the order listed above. I spent around one hour nosing the four samples, and then around 1,5 hours tasting them. Ok folks, here are my notes and impressions!

Sample no.1
Sample no.1, nose:
Medium peat, sweet liquorice (and/or polypodium), and a burnt/earthy saltyness are all in the centre of the scent. Above this layer we have lemon curd with a touch of pear-flavoured popsicle (piggelin). Almost something like a carbonated lemon drink; carbonated lemon curd? In the base, the bottom layer, there is soft almond paste resting on a foundation of big vanilla, almost vanilla custard actually. The carbonated feeling in the top layer probably has something to do with the relatively high ABV. The alcohol is there but it’s not too much. The vanilla custard base mediates maturity and signals an age of around 8 years old.

Sample no.2
Sample no.2, nose:
The ABV feels slightly amplified (whilst the carbonated feeling is subdued). Peat and sweet liquorice is in the background. After only six months maturation/"finish" on this small cask there is already quite evident notes of sherry; we have red currant peel, a faint touch of raisins, and definitely dried figs. In the base vanilla fudge intermingles with peat-infused milk chocolate, medium rich leather and an evident touch of a calm campfire. The top layer has some acidity to it but not as much as in the bourbon cask. In terms of age I’d say that it feels very similar to the bourbon cask but here all of the scents are more integrated, more composite, meaning more mature. 

Sample no.3

Sample no.3, nose:
Wow! So many scents, so many impressions! Lots of more things going on than in the previous two samples (while they can perhaps be described as ”calm”, this one can be described as ”eventful”). It’s like a european oak sherry maturation on steroids; lot’s of dryness, lots of dried fruits (dark dried fruits), rich/bold peat, new leather, and medium-heavy to heavy dryness from the wood (tannins). At the core of the peatyness there is an earthy and forest-y mint going on. At the heart of the scent is both a big, big vanilla and something like a ”carpenters home-y cabin in the woods”-thing and/or carpenters workshop happening. I suppose this has to do with the fact that we are talking aboout a virgin chestnut cask, but somehow it does not seem virgin at all. Hmm, very hard to explain… In terms of age this one seems quite a lot older than the previous two samples. It’s hard to specify an age but say 10-12 years old!

Sample no.4
Sample no.4, nose:
OMG! While this small cask does have many similarities with the previous one, the scents are more accentuated and compact. The dried fruits are now red rather than dark, and the leafs from a black currant bush has turned up! I suppose wine gum candy (bassets) is a good description, and there is an intense presence of the candy pieces with red and purple color. The mint has been dialed up and the peat feels very present but somehow subdued or mellowed. Spicy sherry cask. There is also luke warm coffee and a whiff of vanilla infused chocolate chip coockies. Mmm… 

Sample no.1
Sample no.1, taste:
Mmm! Salt (almost sea salt), dry peat and sugary sweetness in a wonderful combination. Bourbon maturation works soo good for this new make recipe! We have smoky vanilla with sugar sprinkled slices of lemon coocked in a frying pan (caramelized). A quite distinct and dry almond paste takes over which morphs into peated whipped vanilla cream and sundried lawn ("hay"). A spicyness lingers. 

Sample no.2
Sample no.2, taste:
Wow! I would really like for you my dear readers to taste this one and share this wonderful taste with me, but at the same time I would kind of like to keep the whole cask for myself. You get the point; this stuff really is really good! I can’t belive that this is only 2 years old! The peat and the sherry is perfectly integrated. The sweet liquorice stands out in a beautiful way! Lots of medium dark flavours in the midrange. Warm peated vanilla, like liquid peated vanilla fudge… There is also something earthy/nature-y going on, maybe oven baked peat-infused parsnips drizzled in butter. Forest infused dried figs and mellow gunpowder lingers on and on and slowly fades away.

Sample no.3
Sample no.3, taste:
Once again, wow! Virgin chestnut cask could easily be mistaken for a heavy european oak oloroso sherry maturation. The core of the taste is both sweet and salt, and has a concentrated peat and tanninic dried fruits; dried figs, dark raisins, and oven baked apple slices. In the background, we also have chocolate infused dried slices of orange. The flavours are semi-calm and at the same time intese/concentrated. While I usually find virgin swedish oak overpowering (and having too much fir/christmas tree in it), virgin chestnut to me is nothing of the sorts, not too much wood, just intense/concentrated. The vanilla is indeed big, just as big as on the nose, and whilst I found the peat to be rich/bold on the nose, I find it to be subdued on the taste. This new make recipe and level of peating works really good with chestnut cask and brings out a mouthwatering touch of milk chocolate in the peat. In terms of age, my mind definitely says the same as on the nose: 10-12 years old. Simply unbelievable.

Sample no.4
Sample no.4, taste:
Dude! Now we’re talking. This is really like an accentuated, amplified, and enhanced super-version of the previous. Whilst the previous one was tanninic, this one is really, really dry. My impression of 1st-fill oloroso on chestnut is that it tastes kind of like a port pipe ”on fire”; burnt port/heavily roasted port. The dried fruits from the nose have almost transformed into something like chilli and spicy. It’s heavy on the spicyness and it teases my tounge in an intriguing way. There is an intese feeling of peel from black currants. We also have peat-infused bramble marmalade. In the background dark chocolate-y vanilla fudge cubes calls for attention. The aftertaste closes with lurking peat and intense vanilla slowly, slowly fading away. Wow, what a whisky! Sorry, I mean what an incredible 2 year old spirit!

Some reflections to sum up:
Alright folks! The maturation sure is moving along at a very good pace. Already the spirit tastes soooo good and I can't wait to taste these casks again further down the line. Out of samples no.2-4 my favorites are definitely no.2 and no.3. But, they are all really good and are all of very interesting and different character, to say the least. Having reviewed these samples in this phase of the collab, some ideas have definitely emerged regarding how (in what form) it might be interesting to bottle them. Big thanks to Håkan, Oskar, and Christian for the amazing opportunity that this collaboration is! And last but not least, big thanks to all of you my dear readers and I hope you've enjoyed this article. Sláinte! 

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Sample 1-4