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!

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

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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European Rye – Stork Straight Rye + Full Proof

We began our European Rye tasting journey in Germany – given that’s where we are located! We decided to start with the familiar Stork Club Straight Rye and then move on to their Full Proof expression.

It was also fitting that I was tasting this pair with friends in Neumark in der Oberpfalz – considering they had earlier introduced me to Stork Single Malt 43%! And true to form, we rewarded ourselves with a tasting after a day trip to a medieval fair in an old castle (Burg Parsberg in this case)- because that’s how we roll in Deutschland!

Let’s start with a quick recap on Stork which comes from Spreedwood Distillery. It was started by three friends who spotted an opportunity to bring rye from the field to the glass:

  • Steffen Lohr, former bartender (including »Der Raum«, Melbourne) worked for years as a brand ambassador for Bacardi before he set up his own agency »Small Big Brands«
  • Sebastian Brack invented the successful Thomas Henry bitter lemonade brand and is a co-founder of Belsazar Vermouth.
  • Bastian Heuser – also a former bartender and one of the co-founders of the »Bar Convent Berlin«, the leading European trade fair for the bar and beverage industry.

They use German rye, largely from the prolific Brandenburg region, and love to experiment with different casks. You can read more about their process here.

Now let’s get down to “tasting’ business!

Stork Club Straight Rye 45%

  • Nose – Very minerally, like wet granite or stone, also quite “clean”, slowly opened to reveal a little sweet caramel and vanilla
  • Palate – Wow! Very sweet, butterscotch, a hint of peppery spice, then shifted into espresso joined by creamy chocolate, warming into orange marmalade
  • Finish – More of that bitter espresso beans

As much as the aromas were “mineral”, the palate was soft and sweet! It has a lovely mouthfeel – almost buttery. The more we spent with this rye, the more chocolaty it became – at one point it was like the rye equivalent of sipping chocolate milk!

Overall this is an exceedingly drinkable dram. Very pleasant, quite enjoyable… and whilst there is nothing “exceptional”, it is just a friendly Rye that one can sip or combine in a cocktail.

This is exactly what happened to my bottle of Stork Rye – brought to India for a tasting that instead joined a Cast party after a great production. It made a marvelous base for an exceedingly delicious Old Fashioned with a nice orange zest and Peychaud’s bitters. Yum! No wonder the whole bottle was rapidly emptied! (and yes – that’s our cat Zoe joining the bottle pic!)

What more do we know? Stork’s Straight Rye is matured in First fill American oak & German Napoleon oak. At Eur 30 (in Germany), it is good rye to keep in your whisky cabinet for those moments when you want a change from a typical single malt – particularly if in the mood for a cocktail!

We then moved on to the “Full Proof” Rye expression, anticipating it to be a more “amped up” version of the Straight Rye.

Stork Club Full Proof Rye 55%

  • Nose – Surprisingly shy, what we could discern was quite sweet, buttery caramel or butterscotch, from far away something lightly roasted, a bit of rye hint, yet overall quite ‘muted’ – at least compared with the Straight Rye, after some time had a touch of dried fruits and vanilla, but still quite subtle
  • Palate – Is that Sherry? Sweet over-ripe plums, some dates, a maraschino cherry, sweet spices – particularly cloves, then some wine tannins, the skin of plums
  • Finish – A hint of peppery spice carries through
  • Water – Fruity, sweet, consistent with the palate

This was curious and decidedly different from the “straight rye.” Perhaps because we enjoyed the Straight Rye so much, we had high expectations to be blown away with this one! It was still interesting, yet quite different than we anticipated.

What I later read helped explain everything! The “Full Proof” expression is made in small batches and is matured in toasted American and German Napoleon oak casks as well as sherry and white-wine casks and is bottled at approximately cask strength.

Aha! Suddenly it all made sense!! That’s where the odd sherry notes or wine influences came – which are a bit different in a Rye than in a single malt! Hence when we found these elements, this didn’t quite “jibe” with what we had in mind for a Rye. An interesting experiment, however, I’m not a real fan of some wine cask finishes, and with Rye? It is definitely different!

If you are curious to try it, this is currently part of Stork’s core range and be purchased in Germany for Eur 48 for 500ml.

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

You can also find Whisky Lady in India on:

European Rye Revolution – Kyrö, Stauning, Stork

The world of ryes has radically exploded in recent years. Far from the typical North American Rye, Europe has some serious contenders in this space. This makes perfect sense when you consider over 50% of the world’s rye comes from Europe – with Germany leading the way!

And whilst I’ve had a chance to try some interesting ryes lately at Whisky festivals, sitting down at home (or a friend’s home, in this case), for a proper tasting is always preferable to the quick sniff, swish & spit of a large Whisky fest!

What I love about this particular tasting set is how a “standard” expression was paired with a slightly different or limited edition expression from the same distillery. This way we could get a feel for the ‘house style’ along with variations on that theme.

So what did we explore?

Roggen (aka Rye) Revolution” with 3 sets of pairs:

Whilst 6 different ryes may seem like a lot to go through at one “go”, when these are minis of only 30 ml each shared between three people, it’s a perfect teasing taste! And when the price is a mere Eur 20 – it’s also a great deal!

All of the distilleries, we’d had previous experiences, which you can read about here:

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Paris Whisky Live 2022 – Armorik

An obvious focus at Paris Whisky Live are the whiskies produced, “published” or put together (bottled) in France. On our 2nd day, we decided to begin with a visit to Breton – checking out the latest new offerings from Warenghem distillery which bottles their whisky under the Armorik brand. Being familiar with their original core expressions, we chose to try their two age statements and new limited edition “innovations”.

Armorik 10 year (2022) 46% 3000 bottles. Approx Eur 63

  • Nose – Fruity (think peach cobbler), maritime, and mineral… perhaps a bit nutty and sherry too?
  • Palate – Lightly smoky, marmalade 
  • Finish – Soft and lingers, at first honey-sweet, then a bit more of that maritime quality with a touch of cracked black pepper

Though only 10 ppm, there was no doubt of the peat influence here. It is a blend of ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and was the 1st of their limited edition “aged” expressions.  If you are curious to know more check out what do the good folks at Armorik have to say about this limited-edition expression here.

Armorik 15 year (2022) 46% 2nd edition 730 bottles. Approx Eur 70

  • Nose – Shy at first, then opens up, fruity, old wood, sweet
  • Palate – Honey sweet, well-rounded, full and fruity, sweet spices
  • Finish – Warm honey, a hint of smoke?

What more do we know? This 15-year-old began in ex-bourbon casks for 9 years followed by 6 years in Sherry Oloroso casks. This is their 2nd edition of this vintage expression. It also is lightly peaty to 10 ppm, though hardly showed this element in my quick sniff and swish!

What more do we know? Here are the official notes:

“Armorik 15 years old has acquired with age a sort of elegant, aromatic fullness, while retaining the fruity freshness characteristic of our distillate.”

We then transitioned into two new expressions from Armorik under the label “Yeun Elez” for their peat innovations with various casks. We were directed to try the Joric Tourbe (peaty) whisky first then moved on to the cask strength single cask one. 

Armorik Yeun Elez Jobic 46% approx Eur 63

  • Colour – Very pale
  • Nose – Light, fresh, fruity, sour cream
  • Palate – Surprisingly soft and gentle, then the smoke starts to subtly grow, like the nose it is also quite “fresh”, with a hint of mosambi (sweet lime) and the tiniest pinch of salt 
  • Finish – Continues in the same vein as the palate gradually tapering away

What more do we know? They use Scottish 50 ppm peated malted barley. It is also worth noting the very light colour – our guide shared how this whisky was 1st matured for 4 years in what she described as an “almost over-used” ex-Bourbon cask before being transferred to a Pineau des Charentes cask – I jotted “2” but missed noting if that was years or months! (I suspect its years).

What I do remember clearly is her pairing suggestion – Oysters! – which I could completely see fitting together rather well with its very subtle peat and saline with soft sweetness too. 

Armorik Yeun Elez 5 year Single Cask 8289 (Oct 2016/Jun 2022) 58.7% 666 bottles

  • Nose – Clearly maritime in character! Seaweed, quite a few “mineral” aromas, as it start to open up became increasingly fruity, shifting from medicinal to cream puffs and peaches, then became a bit deeper with some woodsy elements
  • Palate – Quite “sharp” initially – the 1st sip was almost jarring at cask strength after the gentle Jobic expression…. it then started to settle down to reveal sweet fruitiness (more peach than tropical) and that lovely sweet peat cinnamon we often find… the more we sipped the more amazingly sweeter and sweeter it was  
  • Finish – A nice cinnamon sweet close

We learned that this whisky was matured for an initial 3 years in a Bourbon Refill cask before being transferred to a Pineau des Charentes Cask from Rémi Landier cognac house for an additional 2 years. It was released just 2 weeks before Paris Whisky Live 2022!

This was quite an interesting whisky – one I wouldn’t mind returning to again to sample outside of the festival environment! Curious to learn more? Here is what they have to say.

And there you have it – a teasing taste of four newish expressions from the Warenghem distillery from Bretagne.

What about other Armorik experiences? Check out:

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Paris Whisky Live 2022 – Nationale 10

It is no surprise that Paris Whisky Live has quite an extensive section devoted purely to French whisky!

In a few cases, the lines are a bit blurred – Scottish spirits matured in French barrels. So what is the story with Nationale 10? Jean Boyer started in 1965 as an importer of Scotch whisky into France. After 20+ years importing, he then decided to turn his hand to independent bottling – first with Scottish whisky and then also with French whisky. In the meantime, the company ownership changed hands in 2015 to Dominique Ribereau-Gayon. 

As for the name “Nationale 10” – what is the story there? It is linked to where Jean Boyer settled – in the Landes forest on the edge of National Road 10 in Saint Geours de Maremne.

We started with the “French Oak” from Rozelieures distillery.

Nationale 10 Chênes de France 43% (approx Eur 52)

  • Colour – Bright copper
  • Nose – Fresh, easy aromas, fruity – particularly fresh plums, some cereals, yogurt, comes across as young and vibrant
  • Palate – As promised on the nose – quite easy to drink… starts soft then becomes spicier, still has that sweetness of honey and light fruits
  • Finish – A hint of bitter

It reminded me a bit of breakfast muesli – cereals, fruits, and yogurt. Which meant it was a perfect way to kick off our 1st stop of a day of whisky tasting!

As for the next one? We moved on to the peaty expression, I believe also from Rozelieures.

Nationale 10 Tourbé 43% (approx Eur 56)

  • Colour – Straw gold
  • Nose – Lightly peated like a puff of smoke, mineral
  • Palate – Clean, sharp, vegetal
  • Finish – Light spice

Curious as I was somehow expecting more sweet fruits and peat based on the Chênes de France than veering into mineral and vegetal elements. However, it worked. When I read up more after tasting, learned that it is peated to 30 – 35 ppm, so it is certainly a more subtle approach than some peat monsters!

Both were a good way to start off our day of whisky-tasting adventures!

If you are interested in learning more about Nationale 10, check out their website.

Curious about more French Whisky tasting experiences? Check out some adventures:

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Paris Whisky Live 2022 – Maison Benjamin Kuentz

We have been so lucky to have met with Benjamin Kuentz, in Paris, to sample some interesting creations from his careful approach to “publishing” French whiskies. So when I bumped into a collector from India at Paris Whisky Live on the first day as he was leaving, I knew just the place to take him as a “last taste” of the fest. 

Whilst I encouraged him to try the full range, I skipped over some familiar friends: (D’un) Verre printanier, Fin de partie and our favorite Aveux Gourmands.  Instead, I focused on two new whiskies intended to join their core range.

For both of these expressions, Benjamin selected whisky from the Charentes region and then matured it in a rather interesting combination with an ex-cask of Cognac, Italian Vermouth, and ginger brandy. And yet they are completely different in character! 

Maison Benjamin Kuentz Spicy Nouba (2022) 45% – Spicy, Fruity, Woody

  • Nose – Definitely woodsy, lightly peaty, and fruity
  • Palate – Fiesty young and fresh, quite a lively character
  • Finish – A bit bitter

I had fun with this one – it was indeed a bit spicy, or could also be described as “spunky!” An interesting start…

Here is what they have to say


Delicate, lively, smoky, fruity and slightly peaty at the same time, Latin at heart, oriental in body. Its nose is surprisingly lively. Woody green cereal notes, fleshed out with vanilla essence and candied orange peel. In the mouth, it is a long moment of suavidad. Soft and supple, a slow attack. Vanilla again, mixed with sensual spices, turmeric and sweet paprika, are shaken with a zest of bitterness. It is even more striking in the Old Fashioned version.

As for the next one?

Maison Benjamin Kuentz Végétal Musette (2022) 45% – Vegetal, Fresh, Fruity

  • Nose – Funky, fun, and really quite “vegetal”, malt, Agricole
  • Palate – Very interesting – mature orchard fruits
  • Finish – Honeyed with a touch of tartness and spice

Really quite unique – I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting. However, it was really quite compellingly interesting – I would have loved to settle down more with it rather than the scant “sniff” and “sip” that comes from festival tastings.

And what more do they have to say?


A festival of floral notes and cereal flavours makes Végétal Musette a whisky of wild youth and vivacity, free to flirt with a sparkling water. On the nose, a swing of malt flavours, wet grass, Granny Smith, crunchy pear and tropical vanilla. The palate, unctuous and light, gently abandons the spice and revives around eucalyptus, lemon and green pepper. Its finish concedes a touch of warmth, between honey and dried malt.

Would I agree? From my brief notes, quite possible! And up next? A shift to something with a bit of peat…

One of the new limited edition expressions, Benjamin selected whisky from the Lorrain region and aged it for six to seven years, including two years finishing in ex-Moscatel barrels.

Maison Benjamin Kuentz Tohu-Bohu Des Terres 56.2%Peaty, Generous, Powerful

  • Nose – A bit saline to start, quite mineral, fruity, has an effervescence to it with subtle peat 
  • Palate – Initially quite “hot” however on the 2nd sip, it settles beautifully, with a lovely mouthfeel, fab flavours of peat, and sweet
  • Finish – It continues with more peat and sweet

What a nice change of pace to a subtle peat with a bit of “oomph!” If I had more time with this dram, I would have tried it with just a few drops of water to see if it opens up to reveal other elements.  

After tasting, I guessed this must be from Rozellieures distillery which was quietly confirmed.

What more do we know? 


Depuis les terres accidentées, les sentiers escarpés, ou encore les tortueuses forêts, ce whisky rappelle les délicates odeurs de fumée, de mousse, du cuir de nos bottes neuves sans oublier la végétalité et la fraîcheur des sous-bois. Benjamin a souhaité réécrire à sa façon ce monument du whisky en alliant la puissance de la tourbe à l’élégance française dans une valse entre la fumée, les épices, les fruits et les végétaux. D’inspiration écossaise, mais définitivement français.

And their official tasting notes? Also only French, however thanks to Google translate, read on:

  • Nose – Fine elegant peat, delicate smoke, yellow fruits, dried apricot, currants, pastry aromas, a touch of iodine
  • Taste – Intense attack, notes of wet peat, undergrowth, smoke softened by a syrupy delicacy, and notes of candied fruit
  • Finish – Malty and fruity finish borrows from a delicate peat, notes of fig and dried dates, blending subtly with a minty peat

And with this, my 1st day at Paris Whisky Live came to a close. What fun to explore a few new developments from Maison Benjamin Kuentz. I’m quite excited to see how creations from this house will continue to evolve!

Curious about other explorations? Check out our experiences with Maison Benjamin Kuentz :

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 2 with Millstone, Elsburn + Armorik

Our explorations of That Boutique-y Whisky Co at the London Whisky Show continued… still in a rather European vein with:

  • The Netherland’s Millstone 25 years (2022) Batch 5 46.5% (TBWC)
  • Germany’s Elsburn 7 years (2022) Batch 3, 48.7% (TBWC)
  • France’s Armorik 8 years (2022) Batch 3, 59.5% (TBWC)

As part of their special 10th Anniversary celebrations, TBWC turned to the Dutch Millstone distillery with a 25-year dram!

Millstone 25 years (1996/2022) Olorosso Cask, Batch 5, 46.5% Bottle 141 of 380, Approx GBP 300

  • Nose – A dark spicy mulled wine, then shifts into a sherry bomb of figs, dark cherries, and raisins, yet elegant, sweet toffee, coffee cream
  • Palate – Exceptional! Very unique as clearly no Scottish sherry dram. Both sweet caramel and dry, beautifully balanced.
  • Finish – Long and lingering, clearly showing its age, soft prunes

This was a remarkable whisky – such a character, something else entirely!

Alas, I couldn’t find the informative and often entertaining additional information or tasting notes from TBWC.

We moved from The Netherlands to Germany… again a different distillery than we’ve explored to date! What fun!

Elsburn 7 years (2022) Batch 3, 48.7% RRP GBP 130

  • Nose – Deceptive… initially light sunshine with depth beneath
  • Palate – So crazy sweet! Then just like the nose, some wood and other elements combine with the dessert dram
  • Finish – Lovely

We could definitely see the influence of the dessert wine cask. Just the quick sniff and swish definitely didn’t do justice to this whisky. well worth keeping an eye out to explore further if and when an opportunity arises!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

There’s a focus at Elsburn, for using the highest quality casks available, the vast majority of casks are first fill, and only used once.

Our seven year old hails from an ex-Rivesaltes dessert wine cask, and has been bottled at natural cask strength.

The angels take a hefty share of 10%+, thanks to a killer combination of warehouse ventilation regulations, high altitude and warm summers. Whisky regulations are strict in this German region, so much so, that their spirit safe is kept under lock and key. In fact, there are 100+ padlocks in the distillery securing every possible opening.

Up until September 2019 this distillery was known as the Glen Els Distillery, but objections from the SWA forced them to change their name, as Glen could be mistaken for a Scotch Whisky – I really don’t think that was ever their intention, but hey ho…

And their official tasting notes?

  • Nose – Sweet honey and roasted nuts; almonds and pistachio. It reminds me of pink and white, nougat. Dried fruits follow; raisins, prunes, and dried apricot. Stunning!
  • Taste – Rich, and another wonderfully balanced Elsburn. Walnut oil, almond butter, and spicy wood. Leather, cocoa and plenty of dried fruits. Long spicy finish. I love this!

Next up? Why a wee jaunt across to France… this time to a more familiar distillery from Bretagne – Armorik.

Armorik 8 year (2022) Batch 3, 59.5% 355 bottles, RRP GBP 75

  • Nose – Salted butter and caramel joined by orchard fruits
  • Palate – Hint of smoke, peppery, yummy, lots of stewed apples, cinnamon apple crisp
  • Finish – Soft and sweet
  • Water – Needs a few drops to open up, a dash brings out the fruits even more!

We had a positive impression of this Armorik – even though it was just a short sniff & swish through the fabulous European whiskies on offer!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

We’re heading back to France for another single cask from the Warenghem distillery. This 8 Year Old Armorik has been matured in an ex-Chouchen (mead) cask. Bottled at Natural Cask Strength (NCS) 59.3% abv we’re expecting to get around 355 bottles from this cask.

And their tasting notes:

  • N: Rich caramelised orchard fruits, baking spices; nutmeg, black pepper and a hint of cinnamon, with a charred wood, and a honey sweetness. Complexe et intéressant
  • P: Big and bold! A honeyed sweetness, balanced by rich oak spices. Baked apples charred oak, oiled leather, with hints of ginger. Long spicy finish. Très bien!

So then… where did our whisky wanderings take us next?? A secret Speyside, then a brief step away from whisky to a Calvados, and then on to some brilliant blends…

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 1 – North-West Euro Express with Fary Lochan, Kyrö + Helsinki

Kicking off our That Boutique-y Whisky Co‘s explorations at the London Whisky Show, was a trio from their North-West Euro Express:

  • Denmark’s Fary Lochan 6 Years (2022) Batch 1 60.7% (TBWC)
  • Finland’s Kyro 4 years Rye (2022) Batch 1 53.1% (TBWC)
  • Finland’s Helsinki Distilling 6 years Rye (2022) Batch 2 58.9% (TBWC)

We began our journey in Denmark… which so far in our whisky adventures has featured only Danica and a few offerings from Stauning – their Young Rye, Peated, and Rye with Mezcal Finish.

To my surprise, TBWC’s Danish dram was from neither – instead, a lesser-known distillery called Fary Lochan. As I learned, there are several distinctive dimensions to this Danish distillery. The founder, Jens-Erik Jorgensen, drew inspiration from memories of smoked cheese from his mother used to smoke over fresh nettles. Jens-Erik made his first tests of smoking his whisky-malt with nettles in 2009 and after his passing in 2016, his spouse and three children continue the tradition. Today they have 4 different styles of malts as their core range – representing a different season, augmented by limited editions.

So, what did we think of this 1st Batch with TBWC?

Denmark’s Fary Lochan 6 Years Batch 1 60.7% 473 bottles, RRP £100 

  • Nose – Oh my! Big rich aromas of chocolate, mocha and malt, forest, lightly herbal, cherries or berries
  • Palate – Distinctive, sharp yet flavourful, mellows into honey, fruity yet with substance
  • Finish – Very fruity
  • Water – Amped up the fruit with a nice tangy edge

Overall we found it young yet delicious. Not such a bad start!

What do the folks at TBWC have to say?

When we learnt that the distillery was located in the village of Farre (which was previously known as Fary) we had that far far away fairy tail image in our head, and so our label is based up on an old style fairy tale woodland glade and a small glistening lake.

Our Fary Lochan is not a nettle smoked malt, but has been matured in an ex-Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask for full term.

With the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: A soft and fruity nose, with lots of dark chocolate and hazelnut, Dried fruits, raisins and dates, with hints of roasted coffee.
  • P: Rich and luxurious with rich dark chocolate, Black Forest gateau, black cherry, and an underlying woody char.

We continued our journey to Finland with not one, but two Finish whiskies. Prior to our intro by TBWC, the only Finnish distillery we tasted was Teerenpeli – of which my favourite remains their 10 year! However what was in store for us? We started with Kyrö and moved on to the Helsinki

Finland’s Kyrö 4 years Rye (2022) ex-charred American Oak/Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, Batch 1 53.1% 350 bottles RRP GBP 60

  • Nose – Very unmistakably rye, punchy yet interesting, nutty
  • Palate – Plasto, different and distinctive, malty and clearly rye on the palate too
  • Finish

It was just a quick sniff & swish, however enough to intrigue. We learned that the folks from Kyrö were also a The Whisky Show, so we knew we simply had to explore further!

What do the folks at TBWC have to say?

It seems like every Finnish whisky distillery starts life in a sauna, and Kyrö was no different! Surprisingly, the idea of starting their own distillery still seemed like a good one the following morning, and from there, the journey of Kyrö began.

This is a 100% whole grain malted rye, that went into a new American oak cask for two years before being re-racked into a first fill bourbon barrel for the remainder of its maturation. It’s banging!

And the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: Vanilla creams, caramel, chalk dust, dried apricot, rye bread dough earthiness, fresh rain on dry ground; petrichor.
  • P: Sweet, malty, toasted rye bread, earthy honey, red berry fruit notes. Hints of coffee linger in the finish. Spectacular!

From there we moved on to Helsinki Distillery… Started in 2014, the distillery produces gin, whisky and other spirits.

Helsink 6 year (2022) Batch 2, 58.9% 330 Bottles, RRP GBP 70

  • Nose – Imagine a bakery with fragrant fresh rye bread hot out of the oven, then drizzle a little honey… it then shifted into salty smoked salmon, then back to the bakery with ginger biscuits, then to woods with fresh clean pine, then very sweet chocolate
  • Palate – Softer than expected on the palate, with lots of pine and ginger
  • Finish – Spicey and just keeps going

I didn’t know what exactly to expect, however, this was quite an interesting intro to Helsinki’s whiskies. Whilst matured for 6 years, it had quite a ‘jumpy’ young nose however surprisingly smooth palate.

What do they have to say?

It’s a welcome return for a second batch from Finland’s Helsinki Distilling Co. as I was a big fan of the first release we brought to you in our Rye Series last year. This is a 6 Year Old rye whisky, from 70% malted rye, and 30% malted barley, that has been matured for six years in a new charred American oak cask, char level 3.

Low year round temperatures in Helsinki year round leads to a slower interaction with wood. This presents a preferable situation for maturation in powerful, first fill casks. Hell yeah!

And the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: Deliciously complex! Aromas of coffee, light honey on toasted rye bread, dark chocolate, and hints of pine needles and linseed oil.
  • P: Hints of liquorice, dried apricots, creamy vanilla caramel, coffee, and cocoa, alongside a charred wood smoke note. Love this!

So then… where did our whisky wanderings take us next?? Why, on to more TBWC offerings – naturally!

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Remarkable Random Range of Whiskies

What does a Scottish blend from the 1950 / 60s made for a Hamburg distributor and a German malt that barely qualifies as whisky have in common? Or what does a peaty coastal single malt bottled by an Indian distillery have to do with a sophisticated complex Island dram from a much-coveted Indie bottler? And how about the price range from an affordable entry-level Island OB in GBP 20s vs another over 150?! Or sourced from an auction some 40 years after bottling vs direct from bottler within hours of going on sale, to Le Clos Dubai duty-free or available exclusively in Bangalore only… Frankly speaking, they have practically nothing in common beyond a random sweaty evening in Mumbai where they just so happened to be tasted together!

A Remarkable (Random) Range

What a remarkable – if random! – range for a brilliant evening… which was revisited another night in Mumbai with more malt experts!

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