St Kilian ‘Seven’ Sherry PX + Oloroso 51.7%

Back in October 2021, the Bombay lads and I explored together St Kilian distillery from Germany’s Signature Edition One, Four and Six. One set made its way to India whereas a second remained in Europe. I augmented the European ones with the Seven, which was enjoyed in more sociable settings rather than proper sit-down tasting… until the new year!

Described by the St. Kilian folks as an “ideal companion for summer”, they introduce this expression by sharing it is

Matured in ex-sherry barrels, this bottling reflects the Andalusian summer sun. The balanced balance between ex-Sherry PX and ex-Sherry Oloroso barrels ensures a harmonious enjoyment.

What did we think?

St Kilian Signature Edition ‘Seven’ (2017/2021) 51.7% 5,700 bottles

  • Nose – Dark, rich treacle, coffee, plump and juicy raisins, salty licorice… shifts more and more into fruity elements, apricots, dates, sherry berry aromas
  • Palate – Spicy! A rich chocolate bar with cherries, raisins and nuts, a clear sherry stamp – chewy and rich, warming, full-bodied
  • Finish – Long, strong with a nice spice on the tail end…

While it starts out dark and stormy, with an initial hit of acetone, this one soon displayed its clear Sherry cask influences. We also tried it with water – with a bit of a debate depending on whether you prefer your whiskies more intense and indulgent or preferred a fruitier and creamier dram.

In some ways, I would say with a dash of water, this is the most ‘accessible’ of the quartet we’ve tried. While all four St Kilian’s tried from the Signature Editions are bursting with character, this one has more of a ‘nod’ to more classical sherry aromas even if the flavour retains something distinctively different.

What more do we know? The St Kilian recipe is:

  • 73% ex Sherry Olorosso and
  • 27% ex Sherry PX

As for official tasting notes? Here’s what St Kilian has to say:

  • GERUCH Süße Noten von Rosinen und in trockenen Sherry eingelegte, dunkle Früchte lassen Raum für reife Pfirsiche mit Walnuss sowie feinen Kräutern, vorrangig Minze und Salbei.
  • GESCHMACK Die trockene Süße von Rosinen und Walnuss wird begleitet von reifen Pfirsichen und sahnigen Malzbonbons, mit wärmenden Anklängen von aromatischer Eiche, frischer Minze und Salbei.
  • NACHKLANG Lang, cremig und würzig-warm mit feinen Sherry-Noten, Honig, Malzbonbons sowie reifer Walnuss.

As for a rough translation?

  • Nose – Sweet notes of raisins and dry Sherry, dark fruits leaving room for ripe peaches with walnuts as well as fine herbs – primarily mint and sage
  • Taste – The dry sweetness of raisins and walnuts is accompanied by ripe peaches and creamy malt sweets, with warming hints of aromatic oak, fresh mint and sage
  • Finish – Long, creamy and spicy-warm with fine notes of sherry, honey, malt sweets as well as ripe walnut

What else did we try from St Kilian?

I would easily recommend Edition ‘Seven‘ however also kept coming back to the ‘One’ – which so far is my favourite! Next would be the peaty ‘Four‘ with the ‘Six‘s Rye / Burgandy combination not working quite as well for me. Based on this experience, I will also keep an eye out for future Editions too!

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St Kilian ‘Four’ Peat, Sherry 48%

After St Kilian’s inaugural “One“, and their Franconian “Six” we shifted gears to explore their “smoky” Fourth Signature Edition.

St Kilian describes their whisky as:

Surprisingly intense, spicy and smoky: With a phenol content of 54 ppm in the malt, the “Four” is not only the smokiest one to date, but also the most aromatic and strongest bottling of St. Kilian thanks to its full maturation in sherry casks.

What did we think?

St Kilian Signature Edition ‘Four’ (2016/2020) 48% 10,700 bottles

  • Colour – Dark  gold
  • Nose – Sweet smokey meats, Nordic wood sauna, jerk pork, honey glazed ham, smokey marinade, pine, herbal, cigar tobacco, fudge and chocolate, hint of coffee, dark caramel, even better the 1st sip
  • Palate – Savoury, a bit sharp, peat and sweet, initially imbalanced, a bit bitter, charred wood…
  • Finish – A nice fat finish, thick with flavours – smoke and sweet, long peat….

We found with all three, that water is a great addition – in this case an absolutely must!

  • Nose – Mmmm sherry, maple bacon, cinnamon, buttery salted caramel, malted milk chocolate
  • Palate – Tempers the peat, took out all the sharpness, completely balanced the elements so could setting into its smokey sweetness
  • Finish – The flavours remain – dilution didn’t dampen the full finish

Could absolutely see the Sherry cask influence on this one. If you are in the mood for a full-bodied whisky with a smokey sweetness, well worth checking out. With each sip, it grows on you more and more.

What more do we know? Well the good folks at St Kilian are open about their recipe:

  • 51% ex PX Sherry
  • 49% ex Olorosso Sherry
  • Mix of German unpeated early with Scottish peated barley (54 PPM) from Glenesk Maltings

As for their official tasting notes?

  • GERUCH Kräftiger, warmer Lagerfeuer-Rauch lichtet sich für fruchtige Sherry-Aromen mit süßen Rosinen, cremigem Butterkaramell-Fudge, frischem Apfel und feinen Anklängen von würzigem Tabak und Leder
  • GESCHMACK Vollmundig-intensiv mit aromatischem Torfrauch, begleitet von einer Melange aus getrockneten Pflaumen, Datteln und Rosinen, abgerundet von einem Hauch Vanille und dunkler Schokolade mit Fleur de Sel
  • NACHKLANG Lang und würzig-warm mit feinen Sherry-Noten und sanft ausklingendem Rauch

With a rough translation:

  • Nose – Strong, warm campfire smoke clears for fruity sherry flavours with sweet raisins, creamy butter caramel fudge, fresh apples with hints of spicy tobacco and leather
  • Taste – Full-bodied and intense with aromatic peat smoke, accompanied by a melange of dried plus, dates and raisins rounded off by a hint of vanilla and dark chocolate with sea salt 
  • Finish – Long and spicy warm with fine notes of sherry and fading smoke

What else was included in my wee St Kilian quartet?

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St Kilian ‘Six’ Rye, Pinot Noir, Bourbon 47.5%

After a promising start with St Kilian’s 1st Signature Edition – One – we fast forwarded to their 6th Edition with a strong “Franconian” bent:

The Signature Edition Six is ​​a real Franconian! The special barley malt comes from Upper Franconia and the barrels of fine Pinot Noir from Lower Franconia.

Signature Edition ‘Six’ (2016/2020) 47.5% 6,500 bottles

    • Colour – Dark  gold
    • Nose – Cherries, grapes, an almost rye-like spice, licorice, after time it was a bit malty, fresh grass and hay, tobacco leaf, apples
    • Palate – Sour cherry, lots of spice, bitter and dry, strong red wine elements – dates, raisins, woody grain….
    • Finish – Spicy with sherry sweet Christmas spices – very dry and long
    • Water – Oh nice! Much fruitier, juicier, softer with the grapes and cherries coming back both in the aroma and palate, a nice tannin came out and the finish was even better too – long and warming

We found both with the One and this, that water really made the malt! It started a bit acrid without but really came together with water.

While certainly not a ‘classic’ style, it had an interesting character – could certainly see the Rye and also Pinot cask influence on this one.

We also thought it might go well in an Old Fashioned – something to try one of these days!

This one was a bit of a departure shifting from malt whisky into rye with a recipe of:

  • 45% ex Rye (American Oak from Early Times)
  • 30% ex Franconian Pinot Noir (French Oak from Fürst winery in nearby Bürgstadt)
  • 25% ex Bourbon (American Oak from Old Forester)

As for their official tasting notes? Here’s what the folks over at St Kilian have to say:

  • GERUCH Feine Gerbsäure, reife Trauben
  • GESCHMACK Im Antritt eine feine Süße gefolgt von Weinaromen sowie Aromen von Getreide
  • NACHKLANG Feine Würze, süß, trocken und langanhaltend

With a rough translation:

  • Nose – Fine tannic acid, ripe grapes
  • Taste – In the beginning a fine sweetness followed by wine aromas and grain
  • Finish – Fine flavour, sweet, dry and long-lasting

I found a bit more about this expression from Whisky.com.

What more did we try from St Kilian?

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J.B.G. Münsterländer Single Grain Whisky 42%

J. B. G. Münsterländer comes from Geuting – a small distillery in Bocholt, in the north-west of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany near the border with The Netherlands. They began producing whisky in 2013 with both single grain and single malts.

J. B.G. Münsterländer Single Grain Whisky 6 year (12 Nov 2020 / 20 Mar 2017) Cask 26, 27, 28, 42% (Bottle 161/1000)

  • Nose – Coconut, chocolate, caramel popcorn, fresh and creamy, marshmallows and cotton candy, bananas, light sweet spices
  • Palate – Very sweet, smooth, really quite nice in an uncomplicated friendly style
  • Finish – Nothing much to speak of.. but that’s OK

A nice “sniffing” whisky, one you can sit back, sniff and sip in a relaxed companionable way. A great discovery and one that prompted interest in exploring further… perhaps next time one of their single malts.

What do the Münsterländer folks have to say?

Our Single Grain Whisky from the Musterland region has received a slow and careful double distillation. Entirely aged to maturity in new casks crafted from American white oak our whisky is reduced to the sought alcohol content with our own well water fresh from source. This way you receive a mellow, well-balanced and full-bodied Single Grain Whisky.

Official tasting notes:

  • Nose – Rich aromas of vanilla, cocoa and nutmeg, harmonious
  • Taste – Sweetness of cocoa and vanilla, fine wooden notes
  • Finish – Mellow, nutty and long

My tasting companions had picked up this bottle on sale for around Our 30, however you can still find it online for approx Eur 45.

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Black Forest Wild Peated Single Malt 42%

Imagine tromping through the wilds of a deep dark Black Forest and coming upon a distillery and winery that is both new and has linkages back to 1855.

These folks at Black Forest seem to be into producing a wide array of spirits and wines – from Riesling and Chardonay to hazelnut eggnog and rum, brandy, vermouth and gin…. including a peated single malt… a sample which made its way to my hosts home and our whisky glasses!

Black Forest Wild Whiskey Peated 42%

  • Nose – Fish oil – think cod liver oil, old cellar – musty and damp, hint of metal or mechanical grease, finally started to shift a bit – granary, dusty hay, dirty socks, then a bit saline
  • Palate – Metallic, wet motor, sharp yet at the same time insipid
  • Finish – None
  • Water – Really doesn’t help

Living in Germany has opened up a whole new world of whiskies – some interesting, some perplexing and some that…. well… are definitely not my ‘style’. I suspect you can already tell which one this fall into!

I get the concept of local pride and appreciate small distilleries taking a gamble to venture into whisky making. However not all offerings work for all palates.

wild-brennerei.de

What more do we know? The folks at Black Forest shared they use summer barley, dried under a peat fire, double distilled and then age for 6 years in three different (unspecified) barrels.

Rough translation of their tasting notes:

  • Smell: Salty, light aromas of iodine, subtle peat notes, nuances of smoke and seaweed, slightly fruity
  • Taste: Very soft, strong body, a lot fo character, slight sweetness, caramel, nutty
  • Finish: Long smokey aftertaste, lots of body and powerful finish without losing finesse

As for what it would set you back, should this appeal to you, Eur 40 for 500ml.

Chalk this one up to the category of “you don’t know til you try…”

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St Kilian Signature ‘One’ Bourbon, Rum, Sherry, Bourbon, Chestnut 45%

The “First Drops” of a new distillery are always exciting though sometimes shaky. There is always the temptation to get your inaugural batch “out” yet also it may take a few experiments til you hit your stride.

What about Germany’s St Kilian Distillery? For their 1st batch, they went bold with 18,500 bottles. My first bottle was a treat from the fabulous “Whisky und Frauen” from our time together at The Village – whisky festival in Nurnberg in Feb 2020.

I knew that this was one to share with friends in India. The perfect opportunity arose late October 2021 however whilst the bottle could make its way to Mumbai, I could not. The perfect solution came in acquiring a 2nd bottle for myself in Germany – which is thankfully is still available!

With the “One”, St Kilian describes it as a whisky which is fruit-sweet with notes of tropical fruits and vanilla, matured in an individual composition of excellent barrels (five in total – more on that later!).

And what did we discover in our wee “hybrid” virtual / physical tasting bringing together Nurnberg and Mumbai?

St Kilian Signature Edition ‘One’ (2016/2019) 45% 

  • Colour – Bright caramel
  • Nose – First a bit acetone and sharp, then quickly shifted to heavy honey, Williams pear, mashed bananas, rum and caramel, malt, roasted apple and a touch of fresh grass
  • Palate – Initially a bit sharp, then delicious… Sweet, spice… went down easily, imminently easy to drink. The pear we found on the nose was initially lost on the palate
  • Finish – Wood and malty

We found it tasty and an interesting 1st venture…  as we considered it further we decided to see the impact of a dash of water.

Our conclusion? Well worth  trying that way! It brought balance, fruitier with the wood elements even more pronounced. The finish was even spicier – in a good way.

Overall we quite enjoyed it with water – made it more accessible without diluting the interesting elements – particularly the aromas.

What more do we know? Well the good folks at St Kilian are open about their recipe:

  • 37% ex Bourbon
  • 37% ex Martinique Rum
  • 18% ex PX Sherry
  • 5% Chestnut
  • 3% ex-Bourbon quarter cask

We found the experimentation with different casks worked – particularly after adding a bit of water which brought the influence of each distinct cask into balance.

Here are the official tasting notes:

  • GERUCH Süße Fruchtnoten von Birne, karamellisiertem Apfel und Mango mit sanften Aromen von Malz und Sahnebonbons
  • GESCHMACK Weich und mild-fruchtig, dann eine ausgewogene Würze und ein malziger Abschluss

With a rough translation:

  • Nose – Sweet fruit notes of pear, caramelized apples and mango with gentle aromas of malt and cream candy
  • Taste – Soft and mildly fruity, then a balanced spice and malty finish

An excellent start to our evening exploring whiskies from St Kilian!

What else did I include in my wee St Kilian quartet?

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St Kilian Signature Edition One, Four, Six and Seven

A year ago I was supposed to be en route to St Kilian distillery for a weekend of discovery. When the plan was set-up it was at a time when optimistically we thought the worst was behind us and it would be possible to bring together a collection of whisky appreciators, vloggers and bloggers from around Germany.

Alas plans had to be changed to an online event which I unfortunately missed. However undeterred, I thought to create an evening of exploration myself – ordering the “Four” and “Six” to join my “One” from the Messe whisky festival. These bottles made their way to Berlin then London then Mumbai. In the meantime, I ordered another set – this time adding the “Seven” to round out the collection, with samples sent to Paris for another tasting company.

The date was set and we were primed to explore what St Kilian has to offer.

St Kilian is approx 1 hour drive from Frankfurt in Rüdenau and has been in operation for approx 6 years. Their inspiration is clearly Scotland – using pot stills – hence their pot still styled whisky bottles. They use both German and Scottish barley and play around with approx 200 different types of casks – not just your typical Oak but Chestnut as well.

The black labels are for the non-peated line and the white labels use peat. All but “Four” is currently out of stock direct from the distillery however I was able to find them from a German distributor.

As for who are the folks behind this distillery? The founder is Andreas (Andi) Thümmler partnered with Irish Master Distiller David F. Hynes, joined by Master Distiller Mario Rudolf. The distillery was built on an old factory site (Meixner textile dye)  with a ‘mere’ Euro 15 million.

I’m curious to see how their expressions and explorations evolve… particularly the unpeated ones!

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Der Weinladen im Schwarzwaelder Store, Munich

Once upon a time I had planned a series of places to find interesting whiskies on your travels. From 2008 to 2019 I was criss crossing around the globe – from Canada to Europe to many parts in Asia. With my travels, I enjoyed exploring curious and quaint places to purchase an interesting dram or two. So it seemed logical to share such discoveries with friends and family in case their path crossed such locations.

Here is one from Munich – Der Weinladen im Schwarzwälder (Black forest wine shop) conveniently located on Hartmannstrasse 8, not far from Marienplatz. Truth be told I was looking for Tara Whisky, but then stumbled across this place and found it utterly charming with very helpful staff. It was during one of my first (of many!) trips to Munich back in November 2017.

Seeing these images today with all the restrictions that life with COVID has brought, I look back on my adventures with a twinge of envy. And at the same time, am quietly amused that was once “novel” is now “normal” as I find myself (mostly) calling Bavaria / Franconia home – with its remarkable forests and easy access to long enjoyable hikes. Even the offerings that seemed at the time “exotic” are now familiar so it was fun to come across the photos I took with great enthusiasm (and little focus) some four years ago.

What whiskies have I picked up there?

  • DeCavo NAS Batch 10, Cask 92 46% – Such an interesting whisky… yet every effort to track down another has been impossible!
  • Forty Three Swiss Highland Single Malt Whisky 43% – An easy going enjoyable dram
  • From Ziegler distillery, I picked the “basic” Aureum Single Malt 43% rather than their experiments maturing with guitar wood in barrels, ex plum brandy or cognac barrels…
  • I also picked up a Finch whisky that I never did get a chance to try… instead it made its way into another Mumbai home to be consumed during the most extreme lockdown when all booze shops were also closed

And beyond whiskies? A few gins and more!

I noted the beautiful bottles of Schnapps – a proud floor to ceiling display of Ziegler specialities. Who could imagine just a few years later I would have the pleasure of going to the distillery and be blown away by their remarkable attention to their craft – be it their schnapps or whisky!

Just in case you happen to be in the area, do check it out:

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Ziegler Distillery’s Aureum Whisky – Part 2

Wow! What a start with Ziegler’s 7 year, Aureum Classic 8 year, Chestnut 5 year and Cask Strength 8 year! It was such an indulgent treat to explore the range of offerings from Ziegler distillery.

We carried on with a truly special whisky “The First” celebrating 10 years of producing Aureum whisky. Of all the whiskies we tried, this was the one I thought would best commemorate our wonderful weekend together. So I bought a bottle which is patiently waiting for the right opportunity to open and share!

Aureum 1865 The First (2010) 10 year 55.5%

  • Nose – Wonderfully robust, sherry berry burst, raisins, caramel and spice, ripe fruits
  • Palate – Lovely nice spice, more of the rich raisins, tannins, malty
  • Finish – What a delightful contrast – bubble gum and marshmallows – then shifting from sweet to nutty

I set it aside for some time and returned after tasting the next few… it had marvellous “staying power”… retaining its character.

What more do they have to say about this whisky?

The first twelve months this whiskey matures in barrels from the local Spessart oak and German chestnut. He spends another nine years in used bourbon barrels with the traditional “alligator charring”. The climate around our barrel storage facility, right on the banks of the Main, gives it its distinctive maturity. The strong alcohol content impresses with its natural sweetness and, in addition to strong malt notes, ensures dominant biscuit and vanilla tones.

  • Sensory: malt sweets, honey, caramel. 
  • Powerful and muscular finish, sweet vanilla with oily chestnuts.


The Grave Digger range is known for being a bit ‘rock n roll’ with peat.

Aureum Grave Digger “The Bruce” Peat 8 year 43%

I have to admit that by this point, my tasting notes failed me completely! What we tried before and after were there but this one? Just remember it being quite interesting and certainly full of character!

So instead, will share what the folks at Ziegler have to say:

The lightly peated malt for THE Bruce comes from Inverness. After a 5-year aging period in ex-Bourbon barrels, the whiskey develops an inviting, malty note with peat smoke on the nose. The taste unfolds in a slightly sweet liquorice with chocolate and a smoky body. At the end you experience peat-smoky tannins, sweet and clear.


 

Aureum Port 8 year 68.5%

  • Nose – Oh my! Dark berries, black cherries, raisins and treacle, incredibly intense with that distinctive chestnut quality too
  • Palate – So so intense, incredibly dry – makes you “pucker up!” Chestnut wood and port collide in a sucker punch of flavours!
  • Finish – Follows through

Given the intensity, I thought to add some water… just a few drops, then a few more… then I DROWNED it! Yes – a VERY generous dollop and wow! This whisky can certainly take it. The chestnut wood remains the base but with water it opens up – bringing the port more to the fore, balancing the palate without losing the wonderful aromas.


Aureum PX Puncheon 8 year 67.5%

  • Nose – A sherry bomb, tannins, burnt caramel, hazelnuts
  • Palate – Very dry – another one that makes you “pucker up” however a bit less than the Port, dark wood, spice, honey, berry, sweet strong, very full
  • Finish – Long and strong
  • Water – After the experience with the Port, I was generous from the start with this one! Really helps – enables it fuller, fruitier, gorgeous, rich without being over powering

What a remarkable set of whiskies to sample… Whilst I caught on bits and pieces (thanks to very kind translations). It was a huge highlight of the year.

What did we try in Ziegler Distillery Part 1:

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Ziegler Distillery’s Aureum Whisky – Part 1

About a year ago after an amazing month in the UK, I landed in Germany and went straight to Ziegler Distillery.

We were greeted by a refreshing and rather lovely Gin – what they call G=in3. Fabulous! We then went on a fascinating tour of their schnapps heritage, distillery before settling down to an indulgent and generous exploration of eight whiskies. I’ve decided to share my notes in two parts.

Ziegler Distillery Part 1:

  • Ziegler 7 year Single Malt 40%
  • Aureum Classic 8 year Single Malt 43%
  • Aureum Chestnut Cask 5 year Single Malt 43%
  • Aureum Cask Strength 8 year 53.2%

We also tried their schnapps – the William Pear was exquisite, on a completely different level than any schnapps I’ve tried before. It was elegant, subtle, superb how the aroma and flavour of the pear was distilled to a distinctive concentrated and purest form.

Ziegler 7 year Single Malt 40%

  • Nose – Banana cream, lovely caramel, so sweet yet also had a hint of spice, salty biscuits, marshmallows,
  • Palate – Chilli spice, more of the caramel sweetness, sociable with spice, tasty with character, surprisingly well rounded
  • Finish – Not so much, a bit bitter, light cinnamon and licorice

It was like a friendly bourbon… I found it had a style much like Glenmorangie.



Aureum Classic 8 year Single Malt 43%

  • Colour – Golden
  • Nose – Distinctive, nutty, light wood, started savoury but then became sweeter and sweeter, vanilla
  • Palate – Nice body, malty, light fruits, a bit more wood and a hint of bitterness
  • Finish – Chaser – less spice, but nice

Almost seemed like it was matured in an ex-wine cask… Quite enjoyable.

There was something almost lightly smoky too… I don’t know if I got mixed up with a different one which was matured in an ex laphroaig cask.

I would say the Chestnut and Oak base with ex-Bourbon is more pronounced than Sherry with this one.


 

Aureum Chestnut Cask 5 year 43%

  • Nose – Initially quite direct, the chestnut wood was quite distinctive and pronounced on the nose, light new wood – fresh and vibrant
  • Palate – Much sweeter on the palate than anticipated, followed by an explosion of flavour and character
  • Finish – Bitter cinnamon

After something so lively and distinctive initially, as I continued to sip, it grew on me more and more. Young, interesting and curiously compelling.

I made note that the 1st cask was Chestnut and then it was finished in an ex-bourbon cask.

What more do we know? Here’s what they have to say:

This single malt whiskey is 5 years old and was stored in chestnut barrels. This maturation characterizes the mild taste of this whiskey. The chestnut wood is also responsible for the intense golden hue. It is round and soft in the finish with a subtle sweetness and restrained tannic acid. A very aromatic product, not only for the whiskey lover. As a digestif and / or as a complement to an espresso or dessert.

They also share tasting notes:

  • Sensory: full-bodied and smooth, with spicy vanilla and creamy sweetness.
  •  Hints of chestnuts and orange blossom.

 

Aureum Cask Strength 8 year 53.2%

  • Nose – Curiously closed at first, it then unfurled with increasing intensity
  • Palate – Oh my! Quite peppery, like its 5 year cousin, it was sweeter on the palate than anticipated
  • Finish – The pepper continued

This whisky built on the 5 year, clearly in a similar vein just… more… I made note it also started maturing in Chestnut and then spent some time in a Sherry cask.

Up next, Ziegler Distillery Part 2:

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