tisdag 26 oktober 2021

Swedish Whisky from High Coast Distillery – The First Ten Years 52% ABV!

Dear friends! A week ago I received a package from High Coast Whisky. To my great joy it contained a trade sample of the first 10 year old whisky being released from the distillery! Not very long ago Smögen Distillery released their first 10yo and I’ve really looked forward to and waited for High Coast to do the same. They’ve named this whisky ’The First Ten Years’ and it is a tribute and celebration of just that; the first ten years of the distillery, its history and exciting journey so far.

The recipe for this whisky is a follows: in the beginning of 2011 new make made from unpeated barley was filled into five bourbon barrels and was left to rest for a period of 4,13 years. The whisky was then transferred into seventeen 55 litre american oak casks that previously held Pedro Ximénez sherry (the PX sherry had spent 12 months in the casks). During the first two days of september this year the whisky in the PX casks was emptied and mixed together with whisky from one bourbon barrel (for the sake of balance). The strength was then reduced from 61,25% ABV (vatting strength), to the predetermined 52% ABV. The whisky was neither chill-filtered nor colored. On the 2nd of september this year the whisky was bottled into 2088 50cl bottles.

Here in Sweden 1400 bottles will be released at the state monopoly this Thursday and you can view the product by clicking here. The remaining 688 bottles are destined for markets in Europe and Asia. Ok folks, here is my review:

Sugar-y sweet, warm, and fat vanilla (reminiscent of egg yolks agressively whipped fluffy with white sugar), and short whiffs of tangerine pulp are the immediate scents. Below this a dark, luscious and quite full-bodied dram reveals itself with the aid of raw sugar, high quality marzipan dipped in chocolate (marzipan pigs perhaps?), a hint of newly ground coffee beans, and lightly peated butter. In its style the nose of this whisky is damn close to perfection, if not for a very slight whiff of yeast. Overall however this whiff is no disaster per se; while my nostrils interpret it as yeast (perhaps coming from something in the distilling process, and/or a slight touch of "sulphur" (?) from the PX-casks) someone else might simply interpret it as unbaked bread rolls (lying on a baking sheet ready for the oven) with a hint of sweetness from almost-ripe green apples.

Very, very nice taste! A beautiful rose hip sweetness with citrus infused vanilla fudge begins the taste. After that we have moist almond paste, raw sugar (as if from cubes), and dried but moist figs. Especially nice is the leather and cocoa that follows, and they both contain a beautiful hint of earthy vanilla-esque peatyness. In the aftertaste I find dark firm/viscous honey and a nice warming feeling in my mouth and chest. Very good. The chosen ABV is absolutely perfect and not only carries the flavors but also assist them in coming to the very front of the palate with great balance.

Some reflections to sum up:
First of all: no yeast on the taste, that’s good. Here in Sweden there has been quite a debate on whether 1650 swedish crowns for a 50cl bottle of 10yo swedish whisky is too expensive or not (in other words: is this whisky "worth" that kind of money?). The answer to this question is of course individual and highly personal. In my opinion this is definitely one of the best releases from High Coast Whisky so far. It is not very complex, it is easy to analyze, and it is very, very good, both on the nose and the taste. Since I was prepared to pay 1495 swedish crowns for ’Bländande’, also that whisky a special, limited, historic, and good-tasting swedish whisky, ’The First Ten Years’ from High Coast Whisky is at least equally good as Bländande. So yes, for me it’s worth the money. Sláinte!

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.

Pic borrowed from highcoastwhisky.se