Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! As you might remember I recently posted an "article" on my visit to the new swedish distillery Agitator Whiskymakare (if you haven't read it yet, please click here in order to get a proper sense of the contents in this post). Now, the production process at Agitator is not the only thing that makes it a unique single malt distillery, It is also what kinds and styles of whisky that they intend to produce that is very unique indeed.
Their first offering to the public is in fact the chance to buy in on a package of their so called Argument Grain-series. So what does this series consist of? Well, the first whisky (whisky to be) is distilled from a mash bill consisting of a mix of malted oats (37%) and malted barley (63%) which has been matured in 180 litre 1st-fill bourbon casks. The second one is a mix of malted rye (29%) and malted barley (71%) matured in 180 litre new american oak casks. And the third one is a mix of malted black-wheat (15%) and malted barley (85%) matured in 130 litre 1-st fill american oak sherry casks.
Now, I am not only very lucky to have been the first whiskyblogger to visit the distillery, I am also very lucky to, a few weeks ago, have received some single cask samples of these different styles! And so today I gladly share my tasting notes with you on these samples including which one I think is the best so far. Before you read on it should be said that the oats on bourbon has been distilled in the High Reflux stills and has been matured for 4 months, currently at 55% ABV. The rye on american oak has been distilled in the Low Reflux stills and has been matured for 3 months, currently at 53% ABV. The wheat on sherry has also been distilled on the Low Reflux stills and has been matured for 4 months, currently at 55% ABV. If you want to read and hear more about the Argument Grain-series (in swedish), please do take a look by clicking this link. Ok, let's see what we have here!
Oats on bourbon – nose:
Very softspoken and ”simple”; absolutely no peatyness or smoke at all, there is soft vanilla and a discrete whiff of jelly banana candy intermingling with peach candy, white wine and green kiwi. A tad of yeast drawing towards wash (but definitely not a ”young” scent), close to this scent is also a fleeting memory of the iron vitamin-pills that grandma used to take… With regards to the oats I can’t really tell if my mind is playing a trick on me but I swear I can nose oatmeal porridge in the background. With regards to the strength I really have to nose it really close and hard to feel any alcohol
Rye on american oak – nose:
Compared to the previous, this one is really ”silent” on the nose; all that I really feel/pick up at first on the nose is just a tad of spicy-ness. I shake the glass like crazy and suddenly burnt wood, christmas tree, softly burnt vanilla and some kind of red berries pop up to the surface. In the very bottom layer I also pick up whole ground cardamom. There is even less yeast in this one than the previous one. I do not identify any peat, however I do identify sea salt/a whiff of sea air
Wheat on sherry – nose:
Mmm! Wow! This is incredible, after only four months on sherry this is some heavy shit indeed! Dark notes and signs of sherry; not really raisins but rather half-dried red/purple grapes. Also something ”dry” on the nose that I can best describe as tannins and/or port wine. There is also a splash of gundpowder, interestingly enough the gun powder is intermingling with cucumber water. Absolutely no signs of yeast.
Oats on bourbon – taste:
Ooh, thats actually quite strong on the alcohol! Not overpowering but just strong. Not as elegant on the taste as it was on the nose. Starts off on a very, very slight touch of vanilla and then it absolutely boasts of (Irish) Poitin (very interesting that this reminds me of unmalted barely when there is in fact oats in the mix…). In comes a slight touch of black pepper which is quickly interrupted by burnt fudge. And that’s it. We are already at the aftertaste in which the burnt fudge lingers on for quite some time… The cask has definitely given more impact to the nose than to the taste.
Rye on american oak – taste:
Ah yes, definitely already heavily influenced by the new american oak. Put together the new oak and the rye makes this a quite spicy and herb-y ”dram” indeed. Spicy banana (whatever that is), cardamom, burnt vanilla, earl grey tea. When drinking this one I do feel some yeast. No peat and no sea salt or whiff of sea air, there is however a slight, slight touch of seaweed and/or bicycle inner-tube so that might be how some kind of peatyness is expressed at this stage?
Wheat on sherry – taste:
Mmm! This one really copies the nose, kind of spot on actually! Very interesting, here I pick up everything from the nose except the half-dried red/purple grapes, quite fun actually. The stuff predominant on the taste is the tannins and/or the port wine tightly intermingling with leather and an absolutely delicious gunpowdery peaty-ness that really reminds me of a kind of rough/tough/uncut/unpolished Connemara (peated Cooley).
To sum up: This was very, very interesting to try and it will definitely be very interesting to follow the further development. To try and rank these ”drams” is a very tough job, but I’d say that the one least ”ready to drink” (read: the one most un-mature) is the rye. Moving on, I guess that most of you would pick the wheat on sherry as the winner and so will I, but, the oats on bourbon is actually a very close runner up for me (despite the somewhat Poitin-esque style that it has at this stage in its maturation process). So, the winner is the wheat on sherry, much thanks to its beautiful gunpowder peaty style! This one will definitely be a very, very cool and unique style of sherry maturation and some kind of peat (with that said I do not really spot the wheat. So the sherry matured Low Reflux style from Agitator with only malted barley in it might also be really great).
Finally, a big thanks to Oskar and Christian for the opportunity to try this stuff at such an early stage in its maturation process. 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 by stating the source.