söndag 14 mars 2021

Swedish Whisky from Hven Distillery – St Raphael 40,9% ABV!

Dear friends, followers and supporters alike! Today I bring you my review of and thoughts on a soon to be released whisky from Hven Distillery called St Raphael, the first release in their new series called Seven Angels. The recipe for this whisky goes like this: in 2010 new make made from unpeated malt was filled into a total of six casks out of which five are french oak casks from Allier that have previously matured Italian wine; two Cabernet Sauvignon casks, two Merlot casks and one cask that matured a sweet wine made from the grape variety Vespaiola. The sixth cask in the mix was an american oak cask that previously matured Vodka from Hven Distillery. The whisky was bottled at (watered to) 40,9% ABV. 





All in all the six casks gave 2302 (50cl) bottles out of which 1600 will be available at the swedish state monopoly this tuesday (16th of March). The product can be viewed by clicking here. Ok folks, let's do some reviewing!



Nose:
When taking the screwcap from the bottle and pouring the whisky into my glass, there are instant whiffs of crispy citrus flying by alongside the red candy in bassetts wine gum. Nosing lightly into the glass I find very smooth and elegant scents of even more citrus now intermingling with homemade blackcurrant juice. Shaking the glass vividly and nosing properly there are more rich, deep, and full-bodied scents coming through; in the first layer there is elderflower, dryness as if coming from blackcurrant leaves, and licorice. In the second layer there is dark and rich vanilla with hints of overripe banana, tobacco (sweet cigarillos), and chocolate fudge. The low ABV makes this whisky easy to nose and at the same time it seems to both let through and support the scents in the bottom layer.


Taste:
Well folks, it’s sweetness and dryness at the same time! The sweetness is a bit sugar-y and definitely has both an elderflower and a sweet licorice feel to it, almost sweet and ”sour” actually. The dryness consists of medium heavy tannins, a spicyness that I just can’t seem to pin down, lemon peel bitterness, and almond paste that somehow seems a bit ”angry”, ”agressive” or maybe fire-y. When the dryness and the spicyness has calmed down and the aftertaste enters there is first a fast peak of elderflower coming through, then a tad of rubber, and finally it ends very quickly indeed on vanilla with elements of citrus fruit seeds, chocolate, and a whiff of coffee beans.


Some reflections to sum up:
The best thing about this whisky is the nose, It’s both intriguing and interesting and there are elements and layers that can easily entertain you for half an hour. Also, the ABV, albeit low, really does carry the nose and those beautiful scents in the second layer. The taste however is all in all a bit to fast for me. Also, in my taste the dryness is too much in focus and when the aftertaste enters the whisky fades out too fast and ends on tasting just… plain and simple good whisky. For the sake of the taste (and aftertaste) I would have wanted a higher ABV, but I can guess that at the blending stage that option was probably opted out since it would have resulted in even more dryness and tannins. Summing up: this is not a bad whisky, it’s just not as good as I had hoped for (basically all of the whiskies I’ve tasted from Hven to date have been really good and so my expectations were rightfully set high). Its flaw is the dryness, a dryness that sadly makes the taste rather one-dimensional.

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 systembolaget.se

måndag 1 mars 2021

Swedish Whisky from Norrtelje Distillery – RoslagsWhisky 4x30 at 46,7% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike! In late december last year the Sales Manager of Norrtelje Distillery kindly revealed to me that they were going to release yet another whisky here in Sweden, come the month of march. And about two weeks ago I found a package in my mail box that contained a sample of said new release, yay! This is the distillerys third release of whisky so far at the Swedish state monopoly. The label on the sample bottle gives us the following info about this bottling: Swedish organic unpeated malt was distilled in may of 2013 and on the 7th of april in 2014 was filled into four 30 litre oloroso sherry casks. The whisky was bottled on the 17th of november in 2020 at a cask strength of 46,7% ABV. No filtration or coloring was done. 




Having reviewed the whisky I contacted the folks at the distillery for some details and this is a summary of what they shared with me: The organic barley was grown in the landscape of Östergötland and malted by Viking Malt in the city of Halmstad. The sherry casks used are made from european oak. The casks numbers are 29, 30, 31, and 32. While the filling strength of their new make is normally set to 60% ABV, these specific casks were actually filled at 50%, as an experiment. The four casks gave 165 (50cl) bottles in total out of which 140 bottles have been sent to systembolaget (the swedish state monopoly). 

The whisky will be released through a so called web launch this Thursday (the 4th of march) and can be viewed by clicking here. Ok friends, below you will find my review!

Nose:
Starts off on deep (medium heavy) notes of sherry. In the background we have apparent but by no means overpowering yeast with a slight touch of wood (more towards dark oak than new wood). Moving deeper into the nose I find elegant notes of moist dark raisins, a beautiful vibe of raspberry infused almond paste, orange chocolate pralines and/or orange zest with a slight touch of sweet (soft) liquorice candy. At the very bottom I find a malty honey-like vanilla sweetness with a touch of wet forrest leaves. The cask strength of this whisky is the perfect strength to nose and provides a great overall balance.


Taste:
First impression: nice, second impression: mmm! Starts off on a medium heavy sherry style with a tanninic spicyness and a whiff of new wood that is quickly interrupted by a dry acidity best described as dark sugary lemon juice intermingling with red cocktail berries (Maraschino cherry). Beyond that we have honeydew melon moving into a soft malty sugary sweetness, a touch of slightly salty liquorice and finally a strong note of almond paste. In the aftertaste there is a reminiscence of peat and a slight touch of soft/velvety tar. The cask strength gives perfect balance also to the taste and for me this is a great strength for sipping. 

Some reflections to sum up:
This is definitely the best whisky produced by Norrtelje Distillery so far! But it’s not only good from an evolution/progress perspective (meaning: in relation to their previous releases), it is also a good and tasty whisky in and of itself. What we have here is a straightforward unpeated sherry matured whisky with depth, elegance, and lots of interesting stuff to find and enjoy in the layers of both the nose and the taste. And even though the casks have not completely overcome the yeast on the nose I wouldn’t say that it is a disturbing part of the nose. I could find no yeast on the taste and I would definitely say the the casks/maturation do overcome the whiff of new wood in the beginning of the taste. And so, just as I did the last time I reviewed a whisky from Norrtelje Distillery I once again have the pleasure to conclude that they have taken a clear step forward, and this time it’s a big one. And hey, filling the casks with a 50% ABV new make might just be the right path forward!

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Norrtelje Distillery for the great opportunity to review also 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 systembolaget.se


söndag 21 februari 2021

Swedish Rye Whiskey (to be) – 2yo Blind Seal Whiskey at 46% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike, once again I'm very fortunate to bring you my review of something really special and exciting! This wednesday Tobiaz Forsberg, the "Head Bootlegger" and intiator of the new and upcoming swedish whiskey brand Blind Seal Whiskey, visited my neighbourhood to hand over a sample (corona safe). 















Now, this was not any usual sample folks; about a week earlier, on the 11th of february he paid a visit to Swedish Distillery Agitator Whiskymakare since it was actually already two years ago that he filled the first barrels of Blind Seal Rye-style distillate!

Tobiaz filling the first barrels on the 11th of february 2019.
(Pic belongs to Blind Seal Whiskey).

Now, if Sweden was USA the maturing liquid in the casks would legally be whiskey, but since the EU has other rules we have to wait yet another year until there is actually whiskey in the casks. So, while visiting Agitator, Tobiaz drew a couple of samples for bloggers and friends to review, and I'm very honoured and happy to be one of them and to be able to review a sample of 2 year old Blind Seal drawn straight from cask(s) and watered to 46% ABV! But before reading my review, please first take part of this article to read up on Blind Seal Whisky in general and the recipe and production process of this liquid in particular. 

Ok friends, let the analyzing begin!


Nose:
Nosing at a distance the foremost scent is a velvety and soft (fudge-y) caramel/candy sweetness. There are also hints of melted butter and surrounding everything is an extremely mellow and very ”round” vanilla. The strength mediates calmness. When placing my nose into the glass, below the vanilla I find a whiff of slightly burnt wood. Shaking the glass properly a medium heavy rye spicyness and ashes (burnt out fire) appears accompanied by soft salt liquorice, a whiff of violet, ginger, mango, lemon peel, and then it’s boomerang time quickly back to the soft salt liquorice. A very complex and quite deep nose indeed.


Taste
Woooow, so thick, rich and creamy! At the center of the taste a "melted butter"-party is taking place (almost butter on salted popcorn actually), and we are dancing to a constant beat of spicy vanilla, saltyness, malted grain, and barbecue smoke that just keeps on rolling and rolling in my mouth as endless waves keep hitting the beach… In the early aftertaste there is a really velvet-y vanilla going on that evolves into a dry and medium-big almond paste and/or marzipan. Then, I’m gently hit by a lemon zest dryness, and in the actual aftertaste I really do have more a feeling of bourbon matured single malt than I do of rye whiskey. An interesting flavor journey for sure! 


Some reflections to sum up:
As said, the nose is very complex, lot’s of interesting stuff to find and this is a liquid that seems way, way older than 2 years old! The "industrial" feeling (gundpowder and metal) that was present in the nose of the 11 month old sample is gone and this I would say is a sign of even greater maturation than before. On the nose, the strength is very calm and you barely feel that it’s 46% and so I must say that I was a bit worried that the chosen strength would be "too weak" for the taste (meaning I thought that the strength would make the taste become ”thin”). This was gladly not the case, and for being bottled at only 46% and being only two years old the taste already shows an incredible richness and creamyness. To highlight the rye and the spicyness over the barley (that makes up 40% of the mash) though, I wonder if this should perhaps rather be bottled at say 48-50% ABV (?) Finally, I really, really like that there is a smoky/barbecue-y thing going on in the taste and that smoke sure makes this rye stand out. I absolutely can’t wait to try this liquid when it has turned three years old, very exciting times ahead indeed... And finally, a big thanks to Tobiaz for once again sharing a sample of your Blind Seal Whiskey with me at a work in progress phase, cheers! 

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.


It's a blind seal folks! ;) 
(Pic belongs to Blind Seal)

söndag 7 februari 2021

Swedish Whisky from High Coast Distillery – Alba 53% ABV!

Dear friends, followers, and supporters alike, the whisky year of 2021 is finally up and running. For me it started out with
doing a Svenska Eldvatten tasting for Strängnäs Whisky Society, and now it's time for the first review of the year. The nice people at High Coast Distillery sent me a sample of their upcoming whisky Alba. You guessed it, the casks used are all made of american white oak. 














The recipe goes like this: new make made from 44ppm malt was matured for 8,3 years in two versions of american white oak; 76% of the liquid in virgin american oak, and 24% in 1st-fill bourbon barrels. The whisky was bottled on the 19th of January at a strength of 53% ABV. The total number of bottles produced were 5044 (50cl bottles).

3600 bottles are reserved for release at the Swedish state monopoly Systembolaget this Tuesday (the 9th of January) and the product can be viewed by clicking here. Ok folks, let's analyze!


Nose:
The most evident scent on the nose is the peatyness. I would describe it as a mellow, deep, rather earthy (not smoky), and extremely well balanced peatyness. It’s in fact a very beautiful and intriguing peat that makes me want to dig deeper. Below the peat I find full bodied vanilla, orange zest with discrete milk chocolate, and a whiff of dark viscous honey. Somewhere on the nose there is a fleeting touch of coconut sweetness that’s probably coupled with the vanilla. The orange, the chocolate, and the coconut gives a slight reminiscence of ”liqueur”. The strength is perfectly balanced and when nosing deep, deep in the glass I find that the strength mediates a spicyness that clings to it.


Taste:
The peatyness starts off as saltyness (as it so often does for me), and medium salt licorice. In a matter of maybe a second or so the saltyness shifts into sweetness; honey sweetness, a tad of violet sweetness and a slight, slight touch of pinneaple pulp. From there we move on into a malty sweetness (barley/dust from milled barley mixed with slight touches of almond paste). The different sweet flavors then shifts into a medium spicyness and dryness which evolves into a slightly smoky peatyness with hints of leather, ending with a warmth in my chest. 

Some reflections to sum up:
I really like this whisky. It’s extremely well composed, well balanced and full of personality/character. Although the nose is more complex than the taste, the taste still gives the nose a good fight with its interesting flavor journey unfolding in your mouth. Virgin american oak really works great for maturing the peated style new make of High Coast, and it was a smart move to also include some 1st-fill bourbon casks in the mix in order to not let the spicyness from the virgin amercian oak take over. This is a whisky that comes highly recommended from me to you. A job well done to the folks at High Coast Distillery! 

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at High Coast 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.

Copyright belongs to High Coast Whisky


lördag 12 december 2020

Swedish Whisky from Smögen Distillery – 8 years old batch 2!

Dear friends! When Pär Caldenby, the Distillery Manager/Master Distiller at Smögen Distillery, sent me a package in the end of november he did not only include Bländande, but also a sample of the soon to be released second batch of 8 year old whisky! While the first batch was composed from four Sauternes barriques, batch 2 is composed from seven bourbon barrels (six 1-st fill, one refill) and a 1-st fill oloroso sherry hogshead. As we know by now the phenol-content in the heavily peated malt of Smögen is well above 50ppm. This batch is bottled at 59,8% ABV, which I assume to be natural cask strength. Here in Sweden this whisky will be released at the state monopoly this tuesday (201215) and it can be viewed by clicking here. Well folks, without further ado, let's do some analyzing!


Nose:
Lots of peat jumping right at my nose! A peat bomb if you will (more peaty and smoky than medicinal), agressive in a good way. Although heavy on the peat there is for sure nuance; burnt grass/hay, ”leather” with a slight touch of jute cloth or burlap, natural (green) mint, salt-y melted butter, salt vanilla, vanilla ice cream, and even some fugde with a chocolate-y touch. There is a whiff of fruityness that I can’t really pin down, it hides in the vanilla and the ice cream and it’s hard to capture (fleeting)… In bourbon matured and peated whiskies it tends to be something citrus-fruit-peel-y that I think of, so we’ll settle with that.


Taste:
Definitely a peat bomb on the taste, explosive stuff this! We have salt/brine (without really being coastal salt if that makes sense), fireworks (gunpowder and ashes with a hint of sulfur), peated leather (however that tastes), medicinal stuff (you know the band-Aid on a roll), evident mint and various green tastes. There is also a beautiful element comprised of peated vanilla and salt almond paste that brings a softness and a richness to it all. The softness and richness is needed and most welcome because if it wasn’t there this whisky would, taste-wise, truly be a monster (a friendly monster mind you).


Some reflections to sum up:
This is the most peated swedish whisky I’ve tried so far, and more importantly the one that manages this style the best. Still there's not ”just” peat, there is also deapth and a degree of finesse, both on the nose and the taste. Out of the nose and the taste the latter is for sure the heaviest, in all its bluntness and straightforward-ness, but it has an elegant aftertaste of softness and richness. Lovers of peat will definitely… you guessed it, love this whisky!

Finally, a big thanks to Pär 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 6 december 2020

Swedish Whisky from High Coast Distillery – Solera 01 56% ABV!

Dear friends! On Friday I received a package from Swedish Distillery High Coast which contained a sample of an upcoming release named Solera 01. As the name clearly reveals this whisky is the first release in a series of forthcoming editions matured in a Solera system. But hey, what’s Solera?! Let’s consult wikipedia:

”Solera is a process for aging liquids (…) by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. The purpose of this labor-intensive process is the maintenance of a reliable style and quality of the beverage over time. Solera means ’on the ground’ in Spanish, and it refers to the lower level of the set of barrels or other containers used in the process; the liquid is traditionally transferred from barrel to barrel, top to bottom, the oldest mixtures being in the barrel right ’on the ground’ (…) In the solera process, a succession of containers are filled with the product over a series of equal aging intervals (usually a year). A group of one or more containers, called scales, criaderas ('nurseries'), or clases are filled for each interval. At the end of the interval after the last scale is filled, the oldest scale in the solera is tapped for part of its content, which is bottled. Then that scale is refilled from the next oldest scale, and that one in succession from the second-oldest, down to the youngest scale, which is refilled with new product. This procedure is repeated at the end of each aging interval. The transferred product mixes with the older product in the next barrel. No container is ever drained, so some of the earlier product always remains in each container. This remnant diminishes to a tiny level, but there can be significant traces of product much older than the average, depending on the transfer fraction. In theory traces of the very first product placed in the solera may be present even after 50 or more cycles”. 

Very exciting indeed, a swedish whisky matured in a Solera system, this is going to be really exciting to taste! 

From highcoastwhisky.se

So, the recipe for this whisky consists of 100% unpeated whisky matured in a Solera system that in total consists of 60 casks; 50 bourbon barrels (200 litres each) divided into five criaderas, and ten 250 litre swedish oak casks on the ground level, the solera casks. The swedish oak has three different origins: five casks have been made from oak grown in Skinshult, three from oak grown in Visingsö, and two from oak grown in Tararp. The whisky drawn from the Solera casks for this batch is 6,34 years old. It has been watered to 56% ABV. 2490 50cl bottles has been produced, and here in Sweden 1500 of them will be available at the state monopoly on the 15th of december. The product can be viewed by clicking here.

The Solera system at High Coast.
Photo from dear friend and fellow blogger
Jonas Gyllenpanzar Stjerna.

[Edit] Curious for some more info/details I sent an e-mail to my good friend Lars Karlsson, the Quality Manager at High Coast Distillery, wondering about the specific maturation process for Solera 01. And this is his reply:

”Solera 01 is more a Swedish Oak finished whisky than it is a Solera system whisky. We filled the Solera casks with whisky previously matured in the Criadera casks for 4,5 years, and let it get extra yummie before bottling. We chose to bottle this whisky under the Solera name since batch 1 is the starting point for what we hope will be a recurring and longlived product here at High Coast Whisky. Batch 1 most of all showcases the taste of Swedish oak. The forthcoming batches will differ from each other, and that is part of the concept we wish to mediate by using a Solera System”.

Well folks, now we know more so let’s analyze! [End of edit] 


Nose:
Lots of things going on at once. I find it rather hard to pinpoint which of all the scents are the strongest ones (the scents that dominate the other scents). So at first glance my overall impression is a sprawling scent. Nosing at a distance I first find basic ”white wine”, minerals, there is also a sweetness (light honey?), raisins, a whiff of yeast and/or dairy product mold (the moldy surface of brie), and burnt vanilla. Nosing with my nose in the glass this whisky is quite powerful on the alcohol. I find obvious tannins (thankfully not over the top), spruce resin, and something fruity that gives me a vibe of a yellow fruityness, sort of like a mix of honeydew melon and mango with a sparkling citric touch (fizz) to it. 


Taste:
Intense, very intensive indeed! The first thing that strikes me with the taste is that there is an evident saltyness! For me this is highly unusual when it comes to non-peated whisky, so a very interesting feature. The saltyness is followed by violet candy, liquorice something something, a ginger bread spicyness, quite heavy tannins (almost as if being tannins in a rich red wine), and a warm vanilla that in the aftertaste develops into a silky creaminess.

This photo also from Jonas Gyllenpanzar Stjerna.

Some reflections to sum up:
I feel a little split about this whisky. As I’ve stated previously I’m not really a big fan of whisky matured in Swedish oak (full time, or finishes). When reading about the recipe and then analysing this whisky I did my best not to let that influence me and rather, as I always do in my reviews, simply write and describe what I pick up on the nose and the taste. Having said that I do find the nose to be sprawling and the taste too heavy on the tannins. It is however not a bad whisky and those of you out there that do like swedish oak will most likely love it (especially the taste). So what do I like about this whisky? On the nose I enjoy the sweetness, the rasisins and the fruityness, and on the taste I absolutely love the initial saltyness, the warm vanilla and the creaminess. So I guess that I can conclude that I don’t like the core style of this whisky, meaning the swedish oak elements, but that there are obviously other things that I am attracted to. Having said all this I do actually look forward to the coming batches; it will be very interesting to see what happens along the way when the swedish oak calms down and some components/parts of the whisky slowly gets older and older.

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.

From systembolaget.se


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