Yay! On the 13th of March, the day after tomorrow, swedes will finally be able to purchase yet another swedish Whisky at the state monopoly ’systembolaget’ (through a web-release)! Smögen Whisky, founded in 2009 and located on the west-coast of Sweden, is launching their first whisky which is a three year old composition of nine casks made out of european oak. One of the casks was a 225 litre ’Barrique’ that previously held Bourdeaux-wine, the remaining eight casks were new charred 110 litres casks so this should be interestin. The barley is peated to 45ppm. The batch resulted in 2188 bottles out of which 1600 goes to the state monopoly.
I am very grateful to Pär Caldenby, the owner and master distiller of Smögen, who very generously shared a sample, during this years Linköping Whisky Expo. Thank you Pär!
With no water added this is obviously very strong whisky! It’s so strong that the peat and the alcohol strength itself are the two main characters in this drama that are fighting to win the battle of attention. Still, trying to grasp the peat at this high strength, it’s robust and quite farmy but somehow still very soft. Interesting style of peat! At this strength the whisky is also quite ”botanical”. Beneath all this in the top layer, that is hard but not impossible to get past, I find a beautiful and very soft vanilla and a nice malty nose. Okay, let’s add some water to see what happens (I add water to another glass so I can nose and taste parallell…)
With just a little bit of water, maybe 10 small drops into the same amount of whisky that’s in the picture of the glass, the whisky really settles down on the high strength, everything get’s reaaaaaally smooth and very malty. Now we have an almost biscuit-y (digestive crackers) and buttery nose. Some really nice fudge coming through. The peat also calms down of course but at the same time it developed into a quite sweet, almost brownsugar-y and almond-y peat.
Returning to the glass with no water added, let’s have a taste. Oooh! This is great, for sure. It starts of on a very sort of salty peat. The strength actually isn’t too much (or is this a warning sign?). Of course you can almost feel the whisky evaporate from the tounge up your mouth but still, it’s very beautiful at this strength. There is lot’s of different fruit-y-ness, the main stuff is sultana raisins, something reminding me of baked or dried apples, but also moving over into sun-warm red grapes. This fruit-y-ness is complemented by a hint of poitin-spirit. Everything get’s quite dry after 4-5 seconds and the dominant aftertaste definitely is that brownsugar-y peat. Very nice!
Let’s turn to the glass with just a little bit of water: Oh yeah, adding to the above, there is now a nice fudge and vanilla combination that comes first, but quite fast after that I get the very salty peat back, then malt-y-ness, just a tiny touch of poitin and finishing of on digestive crackers, unwhipped cream and soft peat…
Well, let’s send a big congratulations to Pär for his very exciting and interesting whisky. I’d say that all in all this is a very mature 3 year old! Well done and Slainthé!