Last in a Peaty Persuasion trio was “The Nose” from Spirit of Hven…. This wasn’t our first introduction to this Swedish distillery, however it had been some time – nearly five years since we sample Tycho’s Star! With further explorations clearly overdue!
Clearly with a name like “the nose”, it is a nod to the critical role of nosing to determine which cask is ready and how it is to be used…
So what did I think?
Spirit of Hven “The Nose” 44.9%
- Nose – Sour mash, solvent? over ripe fruit, cinnamon spice, yes there is some smokiness, cinnamon oatmeal with brown sugar, something quite “chaotic” in the aromas – some malt, some spice, some smoke, some sour, some sweet….
- Palate – Cinnamon, oaky spice, raisins, a hint of listerine? more bitter oak, with a kind of resin…
- Finish – Bit of bitter coffee
Well…. there is an oaky spice, however it is a bit peculiar. To be honest, I’m not so sure about this one and struggled with it… Setting it aside, I decided to come back… and just before doing so added a few drops of water, hoping it would help balance this somewhat imbalanced dram.
This time I could tease out more of the overripe fruit, stewed apples, herbs, faintly floral perfume.. but it was still remarkably ‘shy’. And the palate? Hmm.. much improved. Now the oak spice has settled in nicely.
So while the initial experience didn’t tempt me to try water, I’m glad I did.
What more do we know?
The distillery shares that it is an October 2020 release, matured in a variety of casks – more precisely 21 casks! The ‘base’ is 14 French Quercus Petraea casks that previously held wines such as Petrus, Margaux and Latour. These were supported by 7 American Quercus Muehlenbergii casks with a mix of virgin oak and ex Spirit of Hven Vodka casks – yes vodka! These were further ‘married’ in Spanish Quercus Robur ex Oloroso sherry butts. As for age, Spirit of Hven share that the youngest cask is 8 years old and the oldest 12 years – from their distillery’s first year of production.
Here’s official tasting notes:
- The whisky is pungent with balanced elegance, it has a clear note of oak and Cabernet Sauvignon. There are scents of vanilla and caramel combined with coffee and sweet wine. Top note is French oak with a light spiciness.
- The taste is powerful and lands mid tongue. It shows a menthol sweetness balanced by a slightly acidic bitterness. Elegant and full flavoured.
- Medium long aftertaste.
- The whisky opens up and reveals scents of light, floral herbs, lavender and ripe plums. The scent is caressed, probably as traces from the angels, by a nose of vanilla and apple. This is how the garden of Eden must have scented like.
- With a little water, the taste becomes velvet smooth and enticing. Balance shifts towards the lid of the mouth with a counterbalance point mid tongue.
- The aftertaste prolongs with water and the sweet notes extends. Lovely.
I’m sorry… garden of Eden? Not exactly… at least in my experience.
What else was included in an evening of Peaty Persuasion :
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