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!

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.

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! 

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

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