European Rye – Kyrö Malt Rye + Wood Smoke

It is funny how sometimes tasting experiences cluster together. I just so happened to meet the amusing gents behind Kyrö Rye in London at the 2022 Whisky Show. Then spotted a few months later, a sextet of European Rye whiskies from As my German-tasting companions hadn’t yet experienced what this Finland distillery has to offer, it seemed a perfect way to revisit at home and see what they thought too!

Kyrö Malt Rye Whisky 47.2%

  • Nose – Dry banana and tropical fruits, sweet grains, sugar beet mash, balsa, a bit herbal and fresh
  • Palate – Banana and coffee beans… veering into sweet Sambuca! A bit like a herbal liqueur then rye bread in a glass! Smooth
  • Finish – A nice coffee finish, that became sweeter as it lingered… shifting into a sweet pine forest

Overall we found the aromas inviting and the palate satisfying.

We then moved on to their lightly peated expression

Kyrö Wood Smoke Rye 47.2%

  • Nose – A very light wood smoke, like a hint of smoke or ash in a cold fireplace, warmed into sandalwood then a delicious curl of maple smoked bacon… we then found baked ham and pineapple which then shifted into a baked caramelized banana, accompanying all of this was a rich rye bread!
  • Palate – It started off a bit peculiar, but as we adjusted, we began to enjoy it more and more. There is wood, sweet BBQ sauce, smoked ham, and a slightly singed quality that is also bittersweet, then settles into a warm sauna
  • Finish – Light spice

This was the overall favourite from all 6 ryes sampled. It had the most complex and shifting aromas, the peat on the palate was both present and subtle at the same time. It makes you think of frolicking in a field of rye to then relax in a wood sauna.

What else did we try in our “Roggen (aka Rye) Revolution” tasting set?

And if you are curious about more whiskies from Finland, I’ve had a chance to try a few!

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European Rye – Stauning Rye 48% + El Clásico 45.7% (aka Manhattan in a cask!)

I was first introduced to  Denmark’s Stauning whiskies in 2016, thanks to

Thomas shared two Staunings – a Young Rye and a Peated 2nd Edition. Whilst interesting, they weren’t completely to my palate preferences… More recently, as part of an evening devoted to alternate finishes, we tried the Stauning Rye (2021) Mezcal Finish 46.3% which was definitely different!

So I was curious to see how the distillery has evolved and what their standard “Rye” without embellishments is like and their new “El Clasico” expression.

We decided something labeled “El Clasico” should be our starting point…

Stauning El Clásico 45,7%

  • Nose – Interesting! Old wooden furniture, plums, cedar wood closet, resinous, wood chips, apples, and grapes… very nice! It envelopes you in a warm embrace
  • Palate – Hmmm… a total contrast from the aroma… cold granite, very young, bitter with a bit of raisin, resins, and spice… joined by herbs and botanicals, quite curious for a Rye
  • Finish – Slightly bitter
  • Water – One taster added, and recommended against

We struggled with this one. How could it be so inviting, with such potential on the nose to be so odd on the palate? In short, we wouldn’t consider this “classic” style at all.

What more do we know? It turns out that Stauning El Clásico is a rye with a vermouth twist! Whilst most folks would make their Manhattan by combining Whisky & Vermouth, the folks at Stauning decided to try finishing their Rye for 6 months in a sweet Spanish vermouth cask. Curious!

How do they describe the results?

The nose is filled with the scent of apples, oranges, ripe plum, warm spices, cinnamon and roasted caramel. The lips are met with a sweet and piercing kiss of dried fruits, citrus, and crushed pepper. The warm aftertaste has bittersweet notes of vermouth that stays inside the body for a long time.

Not a classic in my books, but this helps explain the contrast between aromas and palate.

We then moved on to their standard expression, to discover it was more to our preference.

Stauning Rye 48%

  • Nose – Starts off with sweet wood (aka licorice), quite herbal, some smoked paprika, light apple crumble with cinnamon, then a hint of rye bread
  • Palate – A touch of cocoa, something slightly roasted, then grape cola
  • Finish – Nothing specific stood out

The folks at Stauning describe this as:

A liquid interpretation of freshly baked Danish rye bread. A Nordic rye whisky with dark and roasted aromas and a long fruity aftertaste.

This is a different kind of rye whisky. The combination of malted rye and barley and pot still distillation makes this a smooth, fruity and full-bodied whisky.

It was at this point my tasting companions and I concluded that we probably aren’t the target group for Stauning. We are devoted single malt explorers, and whilst it’s interesting to venture into other territories, this particular pair reminded us why we are whisky, not rye enthusiasts.

Put more bluntly – if you are looking to convert someone from Single Malt to Rye, these aren’t your best “gateway” drams. However, if you are already a staunch Rye fan, you will find something a bit different and interesting in this pair!

What else did we try in our “Roggen (aka Rye) Revolution” tasting set?

If you are curious about other Danish whiskies, check out:

Of these, Fary Lochan is the one to watch! I’ve already tracked down an original bottle of their 6-year Moscatel Finish!

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Denmark’s Stauning Rye with Mezcal finish

This wasn’t my first taste of Denmark’s Stauning offerings…. a distillery in Western Denmark started by nine friends back in 2005. I believe my first sample of their Rye was before it could even officially be called whisky and the 2nd their 2nd batch of peat. So I was curious to see how they evolved over the last few years.

This particular bottle with its original artwork and distinctive name “Bastard” was what inspired the whole evening’s trio of unusual finishes. You gotta admit, with both a moniker like “Bastard” and a roaring slobbering wild beast on the bottle, one can’t help but think this will be a brash bold humdinger of a dram!

So what did we think?

Stauning Rye (2021) Mezcal Finish 46.3%

  • Nose – Caraway, rye, grassy, heather… a hint of smoke like faint smoke of sweet grass, some sour mash that then shifted into quite a strong sourdough bread, honey-sweet with slightly sour yogurt… then as it opened up further heaps of caramel, quite warming with a touch of salt, dried cherry or that Chinese dried plum that is all at the same time sweet, sour, spicy and salty! Then shifted to porridge, a bit of oak and something else which was a bit hard to pin down – perhaps this is the Mezcal element??
  • Palate – Think dark rye bread, some burnt caramel, resin, and yes – here you can find a Mezcal influence combined with sweet spices like cinnamon – a slightly curious combination with the rye
  • Finish – Wood shavings and sawdust, very bitter and long

Clearly young and a bit brash – once the aromas settled down there was a pleasant sweet sourdough on the nose. Overall an interesting experiment and talk turned to how it should pair well with cigars…. however I will admit this isn’t one I’m desperate to run out and repeat!

What do the folks at Stauning have to say about the “Bastard”?

The wind from the North Sea mixes blood with the desert of Mexico in this double-distilled rye whisky aged in old mezcal casks. An illegal love affair with a gentle and exotic aftertaste.

Stauning Bastard a rye whisky made purely of local ingredients, malted on the floor at our distillery and double-distilled in flame-heated pot stills. After three years in new, toasted virgin American oak casks, it has been rounded off with 6-months ageing in old mezcal casks from Mexican Oro de Oaxaca.

The result is an elegant love child whose equal you won’t find anywhere else in this world.

Official tasting notes:

  • Nose – Sweet tobacco smoke, raisins, oat biscuit, citrus, oak
  • Taste – Tobacco, vanilla, barley, dried fruit, cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses, shortbread, oak
  • Finish – Long sweet, slightly smoky, salty, brown sugar, pepper

Well…. I’m not sure I would describe this as an ‘elegant love child’ however would agree to the oats, oak,

So here goes an evening devoted to a curious trio of Rum, Tequila and Mezcal finishes with:

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Celebrating 30+ European whiskies!

In the grand scheme of things, trying 30 whiskies is no big deal.

But when you live in India and those happen to be European whiskies… it is an accomplishment!

Let’s face it, exploring the world of whiskies behind a crazy custom’s “curtain” that restricts access not just bringing into India but state by state… means relying on individuals making an effort to source directly from far-flung lands rather than simply strolling over to a corner liquor store.

Hence it is indeed a celebration – with thanks – to share a summary of European samples! Now… just providing a list alone isn’t fun.. so with each, I’ve shared a fleeting impression so you can see what might peak your interest to read more…

European Whiskies  

Many of the Nordic whiskies came compliments of 

The Europe page is continuously updated as we explore more whiskies, so feel free to check back anytime to read of more!

PS – Anyone spot the ‘malted spirit’ rather than proper whisky??

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Nordic Explorers – What a journey!

Over the past few months, a fellow whisky lady and I have slowly been working our way through a delightful dozen 20 ml bottles representing five Nordic countries and seven distilleries.

There were some highlights and lowlights and it was a fascinating tasting travel. For those who missed the individual posts, I thought I would share a short synopsis of our Nordic journey…

Sweden - Smogen + Box






Nordic Whisky Set

*** Thank you again 

Now… to fill these bottles back up and return the favour. What shall we chose for Thomas to try??

PS These are not the only Nordic whiskies we’ve sampled… Check out the Europe page.

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Nordic Explorer #12 – Denmark’s Stauning Peated 2nd Edition

Last in our Nordic Explorer‘s session was another whisky from Denmark’s Stauning Distillery.

Photo: Stauning Website - note for 1st not 2nd edition

Photo: Stauning Website – 1st not 2nd edition

Stauning Peated 4 year (2009/2013) 55% 2nd Edition

  • Nose – Peat yet with a minimalist quality, woody, muted
  • Palate – More like a touch or sensation of peat than forceful, smooth and doesn’t burn, slight hint of sweet
  • Finish – Nice pleasant finish

A definite step up from the rye, the Stauning Peated has an overall restrained quality.

Here is what the folks at Stauning have to say:

  • Colour – Light straw colored
  • Aroma – Delicate smoke, Grain, chocolate
  • Palate – Smoked chocolate bar, nougat, light molasses
  • Finish – Long, smoke, oak, vanilla, butterscotch

Stauning Peated is made of malted barley, gaining its smoky characteristics from drying the malted barley with peat smoke from peat excavated by Klosterlund Museum. It is then matured in first-fill ex-bourbon casks from the bourbon distillery Makers Mark.

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

For more information, do read Thomas’ posts on Whisky Saga. Specifically:

A fascinating journey so far with our Nordic whisky experiences:

  1. Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year old 57.3%
  2. Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2%
  3. Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%
  4. Shareholders 2016 52%
  5. Mackmyra Preludium:01 – De Första Dropparna, 3 year 55.6%
  6. Mackmyra 8 YO Dram Good Whisky 54.4%
  7. Mackmyra Bachair 3 YO Private Cask
  8. Audny Series 3 4 year 46%
  9. Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition 47%
  10. Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice 43%
  11. Stauning Young Rye (2010/2011 – Oct 2012) 49.3% Batch 5
  12. Stauning Peated 4 year (2009/2013) 55% 2nd Edition (this post)

With this, our Nordic whisky adventures are now officially over… Thank you again Thomas for a wonderful trip! We never would have otherwise had an opportunity to try such a range of drams from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and even Iceland!

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Nordic Explorers #11 – Denmark’s Stauning Young Rye 2010/2011

Next up in our Nordic Explorer‘s session was a whisky from Denmark’s Stauning distillery.

Stauning was founded in 2005 by nine whisky enthusiasts in western Denmark with a dram to make a Danish dram that uses locally sourced grain, locally malted and, where relevant, using Danish peat.  Encouraged by a meeting with Jim Murray and his positive reviews of their early results, the team bought a farm near Staining and built new premises in 2009.

Stauning Young Rye (2010/2011 – Oct 2012) Batch 5 49.3% 

  • Nose – Inoffensive yet still veering more in the harsh nose cleanser territory, clearly rye, raw yet more muted than the rawness of the Floki, some spice sharpness, a dusty dry sawdust dimension, then became sweeter with overripe melon and honey
  • Palate – Grain rye, smooth and doesn’t burn with a hint of apricot
  • Finish – Normally a finish that stays is a good thing… in this case not so much

Perhaps it is just that my Nordic whisky lady companion and I are simply not partial to rye whiskies or perhaps it was just that after the fabulous Teerenpeli Kaski, the Stauning Young Rye didn’t even come close to measuring up.

It reminded both of us of the slightly peculiar grain experiments we recently tried from AD Laws – Triticum and Hordeum. Neither were to our taste. Perhaps a rye fan would find other elements we missed… That’s all part of the range of whiskies that appeal to different palates and preferences.

Here is what the folks at Stauning have to say:

  • Colour – amber, dark
  • Aroma – Rye, fruit, cinnamon
  • Taste – Rye, apple, apricot
  • Finish – Very long, cinnamon, oak, raisin, chocolate

Stauning Rye takes an unusual approach in using a large proportion of malted rye, then matured in new white oak barrels.

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

For more information, do read Thomas’ posts on Whisky Saga. Specifically:

A fascinating journey so far with our Nordic whisky experiences:

  1. Smögen Single Cask 7/2011 4 year old 57.3%
  2. Smögen Sherry Project 1:4 57.2%
  3. Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%
  4. Shareholders 2016 52%
  5. Mackmyra Preludium:01 – De Första Dropparna, 3 year 55.6%
  6. Mackmyra 8 YO Dram Good Whisky 54.4%
  7. Mackmyra Bachair 3 YO Private Cask
  8. Audny Series 3 4 year 46%
  9. Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition 47%
  10. Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice 43%
  11. Stauning Young Rye (2010/2011 – Oct 2012) 49.3% Batch 5 (this post)

With only one more to go, our Nordic whisky adventures are nearly over…

12. Stauning Peated 4 year (2009/2013) 55% 2nd Edition

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Nordic Whiskies – Explorer’s Edition

Once upon a time there was a Swedish lass who wandered her way to India…

She came upon a gal from the Canadian prairies

Who just so happened to have a penchant for whiskies

Which became a shared passion

And their forays into further malty discoveries commenced…

Along the way, the Swedish lass decided it was high time to check out what her erstwhile home and native land could produce. Hence the distinctive Mackmyra Svensk Rök made its way to the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai.

However it merely whetted their appetites for more… Yet how to quench this thirst for Nordic whiskies in merry Mumbai?

20160713-NordicWhiskyTo their rescue came a kind gentleman with a collection of Nordic whiskies – vast and wide! He hand-picked a special ‘Nordic explorers edition‘ of remarkable whisky samples.

This care package wound its way first from Norway to Sweden then on to India… the precious cargo revealed a goodie pack of whiskies… and the lasses could not contain their excitement at receiving such bounty!

Coming soon will be tales of Nordic tastings… a delightful dozen representing five countries and seven brands.






Nordic Whisky Set

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

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European Tour – Braunstein Danica 42%

After the fabulous Finnish whisky, what next did we have in our Whisky Ladies European tour? Another Nordic whisky of course!!

And what does a passion for fly fishing and whisky have in common? Brothers Claus and Michael Braunstein from Denmark!

The Braunstein boys founded Braunstein distillery in 2002 to produce vodka, gin, snaps, liqueurs and bitters, rum and finally whisky. PS they also brew beer too!

They see themselves as ‘Danish whisky pioneers‘ and initially focused on launching a series of limited ‘editions’ (Library Collection) then cask strength playing with maturing in a range of casks from ex Calvados to Sauternes to Cognac to Rum and more! In 2014 they launched their ‘travel retail’ editions with an unpeated Danica (what we sampled) and Danica peated.

And how did we end up with this Danica? “It was the ONLY Danish whisky in Copenhagen international airport!”

Danica Whisky

Braunstein Danica NAS 42% (Unpeated)

  • Nose – Quite fresh, sweet, almost perfume, apricots, green apples, fruity nectar, sunshine in a bottle
  • Palate – More body than expected from the nose, lots of barley initially, fruity, pear, a bit chewy, yeasty, a little anise… as it continued to evolve more dates, raisins and dried fruit, some orange peel
  • Finish – Chocolatey goodness

Several ladies remarked how it tastes even better than it smelt. Others felt the opposite. Quite clear it had primarily bourbon influences then sherry peaked out more on the palate and finish.

However by the end of sipping, discussing and dissecting… for most it fell into the category of ‘nothing at all wrong but nothing fabulously right either’ whereas others found this Danish whisky simply delightful!

And that is the challenge… when your evening begins with something that really captured our collective Whisky Ladies attention (Teerenpeli 10 year), the Danica didn’t quite make a mark for all.

Perhaps the peated version would have had more oomph? Or perhaps one of their cask strength expressions would have tickled more ladies fancy? Or perhaps simply on its own, it would shine brighter…

None regretted the opportunity to sample however few returned to the Danica as their tipple of choice. In fairness, this is but the beginning of Danica’s journey and an early NAS travel retail offering… who knows what will be revealed in future with age statement expressions or further editions…

What do the folks at Braunstein have to say? Here’s what they shared on the bottle:

A great whisky for whisky lovers with a sweet tooth. The non-smoked whisky has matured in a selection of finest small and big casks. 

A smooth and complex whisky that caresses the palate with notes of chocolate and loads of dried fruits.

Well… small and big casks doesn’t tell us a whole heck of a lot! On the back of the bottle it then revealed “Sherry & Bourbon” casks with the batch number mysteriously empty.

2016-06-28 Danica

Here’s what others have to say about Braunstein’s Danica whisky:

Other whiskies sampled during our European tour included:

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Whisky Ladies European Tour – Teerenpeli, Danica, Kornog + Slyrs

In the wake of the Brexit vote, the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai decided to go on a European whisky tour featuring:

2016-06-28 European Tour

The Teerenpeli Finnish whisky was a recent acquisition from my trip to London – recommended by the folks over at the Whisky Exchange and a rather fine addition to our evening.

The Brauntstein Danica‘s was snagged as the only Danish whisky available at Copenhagen airport!

The Kornog from France has been eagerly awaited! Special request ordered by one of our whisky lady’s prompted by my curiosity after sampling a cask strength version.

A complete bonus on announcing June’s theme was the addition of a 4th European whisky from Bavaria, Germany. I mean, who else in Mumbai other than a “Whisky Lady” just so happens to have a bottle of Slyrs 51 sitting in their whisky cabinet??

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