Our last Spirit of Hven dram was their most recent – St Raphael – which is the first of their new limited edition Seven Angels series.
The folks at Spirit of Hven love their myths and stories. For this whisky, they were inspired by the tale of the archangel St Raphael sent to heal Abraham and Lot, becoming the patron for doctors, apothecaries and medics.
Hence St Raphael is :
a homage and thank you to everyone within medicine and healthcare. They have fought brave and hard with the Covid pandemic. It is also a tribute to blue light personnel by their side.
They go on to share that the Archangel St Raphael is also the patron for happy meetings, travelers and marriage.
Surely, during this pandemic, we have missed our physical meets, with hugs and human touch. Surely, we long for to travel again, to meet our friends, family and colleagues all around the world. And how huge is not our longing to gather family and friends, and finally be able to celebrate our postponed weddings, to commit, with love, closeness and joy.
Let this whisky be a tribute to the healing, to be able to travel again and meet like we once did. To enjoy the wonders of spring, each other, and a remarkably good whisky.
So what did we think? In short – we loved it! Definitely the right note to wind down our afternoon tasting…
Seven Angels – St Raphael (2010/Mar 2021) 40.9%
- Aroma – A quick sharp whiff of varnish then it settled down and started to open up, becoming floral, wine, cinnamon and honeysuckle, summery, cloves, dessert confection
- Palate – Unexpected! Lots of oak tannins, spice, the red wine cask is quite pronounced, while the aroma was floral the palate was a heavier creamier almost fudge like dessert with rich red wine
- Finish – Long and warm
We could clearly taste the influence of the Italian red wines from Veneto – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Vespiola. We understand six casks in all were used – including one which previously held Spirit of Hven vodka!
Whilst we found it took a bit of time to open up, but when it did – worth it! There was a delightful dessert quality without being overly sweet. The contrast between summery aromas and spicy almost autumnal palate was quite enjoyable. Lots going on but it worked!
What do they have to say? Whilst you may not find the factsheet on their website, the kind folks sent it to me with oodles more details!
Here’s what they have to say about how they made this whisky:
St Raphael is a marriage between six casks from 2010. Five of these casks, made from air dried Quercus Petraea from Allier, have previously held wine from one of the most merited winemakers in Italy. A family-owned winery with many generations. Geographically they are situated just south of the alps in northern Veneto. The blend of the five casks is two previously holding Cabernet Sauvignon, two previously holding Merlot and one that have held a sweet wine made from the grape Vespaiola. The sixth cask, to balance the stringency from the French oak, is made from American Quercus Muehlenbergii. This cask has previously held the unique Hven Vodka that is oak matured prior to last distillation.
And what about their official tasting notes?
Scent and taste without water
- the first scent is enticing, a wonderful marriage of ripe, well matured red wine on a sunny terrace. Both Merlot and Cabernet show themselves without becoming intrusive. A lovely fudge aroma from the Chinkapin oak makes a soft base. The end is elegant and fruity with notes of honey and apricots, a clear contribution from the Vespaiola.
- Taste is soft with elegant stringency in the closure. Balanced acidity and a light sweetness. Long, warming aftertaste with round body. No fixated balance point on the tongue, it rolls over all the tastebuds, full palate, with small exclamations. Alcohol is clear but fine-tuned.
With water, just a couple of drops, as the alcohol is initially low, the whisky becomes even more flirtatious. It releases light notes of honeysuckle and ripe, dark fruits. Oak character grows with the notes of herbal French oak. Lovely, elegant hints of liquorice and flowers.
With these couple of drops of water, smoothness reach perfection. Velvet smooth over the tastebuds. The stringent taste that was felt before water is transformed to honey and vanilla.
Considering my tasting companion typically prefers a peatier dram, this one was perfect for a summer afternoon.
What else did we try at Spirit of Hven?
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