Dear friends and followers! About one and a half week ago, I spent my time working for Edrington at the Linköping Whiskyexpo which was great fun as usual. What was also very fun was that I passed by the stand of swedish west coast distillery Smögen to have a quick chat with the distillery manager/master distiller Pär Caldenby. So what was the purpose with the quick chat? Well, it was of course to see if Pär had anything special up his sleeve for me to review! So, did he? Oh yes indeed, I was very lucky to collect a sample of the coming release called "Triple"! 🙂
So, what is so special about this coming release? Well, it's a release of the (so far) only triple distilled whisky from Smögen! On the label below it is described as being "intended as an experiment". The whisky is 5 years (and nine months) old and has been fully matured in two Sauternes Barriques (European oak, 228 litres each). The cask numbers are 5/2011 and 6/2011. The malt is heavily peated, in this case meaning slightly above 50ppm. The new make was filled in March 2011 and the whisky was bottled in January 2017. The two casks gave 882 bottles out of which 696 will be available at the swedish state monopoly by web-release, this thursday (the 16th of february) 10 o'clock (view the product here).
|The info and the words of Pär about "Triple"|
But hey, we need some more info right? So, with the hope of gaining some more info on this particular bottling, likewise to be able to share this very exclusive info with you my fellow friends and followers, I sent an email to Pär with a couple of questions. You will find his answers in italics:
1). When you double distill, what is the ABV of the new make coming out of the spirit still?
The heart of the spirit run is roughly 70% ABV, in winter slightly higher.
2). When you triple distill, what is then the ABV of the new make coming out of the spirit still?
For the triple distillation (...) the heart is closer to 75% ABV
3). To what ABV did you water this triple distilled new make before filling?
The watering at filling was to around 70% ABV. Also, this batch is watered also at bottling [from the cask strength 66% ABV, to 54% ABV]. It is great at 54% ABV, even if it does stand just a little more water if one prefers that.
4). Is this the only time you've done triple distillation, or is there more of this stuff maturing in the warehouse as we speak?
These were the only two casks containing triple distilled whisky. I'm thinking about triple distilling again.
5). The two sauternes barriques used for this bottling, are they "fresh"/first fill, as was the case for single cask 7/2011, or is it second fill? I came to think of this when I discovered that the "Triple" is slightly lighter in color than the SC 7/2011
The sauternes barriques used are first fill/fresh, but with a light toasting level, while SC 7/2011 was medium plus toasting level. [The toasting level] makes a huge difference.
Ok folks, now we know a lot more, so let's see what we have here
Very fat and big! Boasting of first and foremost whipped full fat cream, dark vanilla fudge almost even chocolate fudge, dark sugar moving into light swedish baking syrup (treacle/molasses?). All of these things are in the first or main ”layer”. There is even a tad of cold coffee in there. All these things are almost inseparable, tightly clinging together to one another and really hard to tell a part. As far as the second layer is concerned there is just a tad of baking yeast and something reminding me of the peel from swedish Ingrid Marie (red winter) apples. (Damn, now I can’t stop thinking about cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla custard…). The peat? Well, it’s very, very chocolate-y in style but also sort of having a barbecue in the woods. Wow, this sure is a complex dram… everything is extremely well integrated... Ok, let’s have a sip!
Salt and dark sugar begins and they are completely inseparable! So is all of the earthy peat and the light milk chocolate that follows, also the very, very soft vanilla cream. Everything blends together in a really fascinating way, wow… When swallowing, a gently dry peat evolves together with even more milk chocolate. There is also actually, interestingly enough the red apples from the nose, but not peel this time, rather ovenbaked apple pulp or flesh. At the start of the aftertaste, with my mouth closed, the light alcohol ”rises” in my mouth, moving towards my ”upper mouth” (the pharynx), then follows the baking syrup. For a while, in the late aftertaste, everything gets more and more thick and meaty, or rather chew-y, yes very chewable.
To sum up:
This dram is very comlex and most of all, everything is so well integrated. I can’t think of any scent, any flavour, or any of all the elements going on here that does not cling together or intermingle with one another. To try to describe this in another way, I can only come to think of one word and that word is, mature. Yes, this is a mature whisky, and an extremly enjoyable one, both when it comes to the nose and the taste. Now, I am well aware that I’ve drawn this conclusion many a times when I’ve tasted the different releases and expressions from Smögen, but this time it is even more so! To me, this whisky seems way older than five years and nine months. And, the triple distillation style works and fits perfectly with the ”house style” of Smögen, so smooth and so soft yet so full and fat… Nice!
Big thanks to Pär for sharing a sample of "Triple" and for the opportunity to review and try it before the release! Sláinte! Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my twitter-page by clicking here, and my instagram by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text 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[at]gmail.com
|picture/copyright belongs to Smögen Distillery|