Peaty persuasion – High Coast Hav “Spiced Oak” 48%

What’s in a name? Well… apparently a lot! Back in 2010, a distillery was founded in the Höga Kasten or High Coast of Sweden…dubbing itself  “Box Distilleri”.

Fast forward to 2018, a few years after Barcardi gained a stake in Compass Box, a potential ‘brand conflict’ was raised and Box CEO Thomas Larsson acquiesced, changing their name officially to “High Coast“.

Our previous brushes with this Scandi distillery were quite positive – from samples of The 2015 Festival and a special Shareholders 3 year dram in 2016 to a full bottle brought from Sweden to Mumbai –  Dálvve – in 2017.

Here is what I found…

High Coast Hav Spiced Oak 48%

  • Nose – Light smoke, youghurt, malty, sweet spices of clove… started to open up more sweet grass peat, candies, then malty mocha, chocolate, almond biscotti, vanilla icing sugar, a light citrus twist
  • Palate – OK that has some kick, a bit harsh at first, spicy peat, some dry oak, then becomes friendlier, fruitier, sweeter… almost flowery
  • Finish – Black peppercorn, cinnamon brown sugar chaser, vanilla

More punch on the palate than the aromas initially indicated, but becomes more fun and tasty. I was struck with how the freshness also had a nice complement of character depth – considering “Spiced Oak” rather apt, particularly appreciating the light peat.

Somehow I found myself sipping and enjoying and… well.. not really thinking about creating detailed tasting notes as I was simply liking it!

What more do we know?

Lots! Thanks to the transparency in sharing the recipe and process…

I’ve reproduced content from their website below, starting with the overall description and tasting notes… however for the geeks, I encourage you to read on!

Here is what the folks at High Coast have to say about Hav:

Hav is a lightly peated single malt whisky from High Coast Distillery (formerly Box Distillery) in Sweden. It has been matured in both ex-Bourbon barrels and small 40 litre casks made from Swedish and Hungarian oak. ‘Hav’ means ‘sea’ in Swedish and is part of The Origins series celebrating location, history and geography of the Swedish distillery.

Official tasting notes:

  • Aroma: Fruity, Spicy, Cloves, Light Peat Reek, Nutmeg
  • Palate: Well balanced, Fruity, Spicy, Peat aroma
  • Finish: Oak, Cloves, Vanilla

Recipe:

Hav consists of 76,82% unpeated whisky and 23,18% of peated whisky. 66,85% has matured in small casks of Hungarian and Swedish oak up to 5 months then transferred to Bourbon barrels for an average of 6,09 years. 30.84% has matured solely in Bourbon barrels and 2,67% has been finished in 40 liter Hungarian oak casks.

Casks used:

  • 200 liter Bourbon barrels (Quercus Alba), delivered empty direct from Kentucky
  • 40 litre Swedish oak casks (Quercus Robur), made by Thorslundkagge
  • 40 liter Hungarian oak (Quercus Petraea), made in Hungary
  • Until October 2014, our casks have matured in a damp warehouse, where they lost slightly more alcohol than expected. Since October 2014 until bottling, the casks have been maturing in a dry environment in warehouse number 3.
  • 14/03/2019 48 Bourbon barrels containing 6610,5 kilos of whisky, with an average strength of 61,69% abv, were emptied into our blending tank. There we added, 2154,7 kilos of water to reach the desired strength of 48% abv.

Ingredients:

  • Yeast: Fermentis Safwhisky M-1
  • Unpeated malt: Pilsner malt from Vikingmalt in Halmstad.
  • Peated malt: Pilsner malt from Castle Maltings in Belgien as well as peated malt from Scottish maltsters.
  • Peated to a phenolic level of 31 and 46ppm with peat from Scotland
  • Barely types: Henley, Sébastian, Rosalina, Scarlett, Quench, Tipple, Barke
  • Process water: From Bålsjön, filtered through sand and carbon filters
  • Cooling water: From Ångermanälven
  • Batch size: 1200 kg malt / 6300 liter wort
  • Average fermentation time: 80 hours in stainless steels washbacks.
  • Distilled between: 09/01/2012 – 12/12/2013

First Cut:
Unpeated spirit: 13 minutes head (foreshots)
Peated spirit: 30 minutes head (foreshots)

Second Cut:
Unpeated spirit: 67 % ABV (20°C)
Peated spirit: 60 % ABV (20°C)

Key facts:

  • Strength ABV (alcohol by volume): 48 % ABV
  • Age: 5,24 – 7,12 years (Average: 6,26 years)
  • Phenol content PPM: 0, 31, 46 ppm (Average: 11 ppm)
  • Cask: 40 liter Hungarian oak, 40 liter Swedish, 200 liter Bourbon barrels
  • Number of Bottles: 11 614 st
  • Bottle Size: 700 ml

Gotta admire the passion, precision and creativity that goes into such an approach…

And the other drams sampled in this Peaty Persuasion trio?

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Swedish Whisky – Box Whisky Dálvve 46%

Yet again we have returned to Sweden, compliments of our Swedish Whisky Lady’s summer trip to the land of her birth.

She brought this Box Whisky with her… carefully kept aside for just this occasion! A special Après-ski evening with whiskies from France, Switzerland and Austria.

Box Whisky Dálvve 46%

  • Nose – One coined the phrase “It is Scandi floss!” for it light sweet candy floss like aroma, then behind the sweet peaked some peat, overall impression is fresh, minimalist, with some citrus grapefruit, cedar wood
  • Palate – Not complicated yet exceedingly enjoyable, in keeping with the aromas – minimalist, peat and lightly sweet
  • Finish – Starts off slightly bitter then warms up in a lovely way

This was definitely a ‘thumbs up’ dram with exclamations like “Sweden rocks!” and “Mmmmm… really rather nice.”

We found it very drinkable, one of those happy to be home whiskies that can work even in Mumbai’s warm weather. A bright summer dram.

Here’s what the folks over at The Whisky Exchange have to say:

Dálvve is a medium-peated whisky that has been aged for around five years in first-fill bourbon casks. This is a sweet and smoky whisky with notes of vanilla.

Here’s what else we sampled that evening:

It was purchased in Sweden in August 2017 and opened from a closed bottle in December 2017.

Curious to try more Nordic whiskies? Check out the European whisky section with  Swedish whiskies:

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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

Denmark

Finland

Iceland

Norway

Sweden

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 #4 – Sweden’s Box The Festival 2015 54.5%

Our Nordic exploration continued with a special whisky created for The Box Whisky Festival 2015… available ONLY to attendees at the festival! (or those kindly given a sample from one such coveted bottles).

Box Whisky The Festival 2015 54.5%

  • Nose – Quite organic, fresh, sweet caramel, bananas, pear, hint of cinnamon, woodsy
  • Palate – Oily, deeper elements, spice at the back of the throat, while not complex, quite solid like firm planks of wood providing the foundation, chilli chocolate spice, swirling smoke
  • Finish – Long, caramel chocolate
  • Water – Super sweet aroma and spice on the palate, though would not recommend as it dampened the more unique qualities

I had kept aside just a smidge in the wee 20ml bottle and revisited the next day… so glad that I did! Much of what I enjoyed came from the 2nd round which was sublime.

Overall it had an understated quality despite its initial boldness, with a harmony between nose, palate and finish. This is a whisky that requires you to sit, sip and savour. It cannot be ‘speed dated‘… it needs time to get to know you a little before it reveals its nature as quite an interesting dram.

Box Distilleri is very  distillery has to say:

For the Box Whisky Festival in 2014, we presented the world with our first festival whisky. This year’s edition is similar to its predecessor, with a distinct peat flavour and evident character of charred oak. One huge difference, however, is that all the casks are sized between 100 and 130 litres and that the age is somewhat higher – on an average four years. Two out of five casks are made from Swedish oak.

Recipe

61% of the whisky is made from peated malt (31–45ppm).

The bottling consists of whisky from five casks made from new American and Swedish oak.

The Festival 2015 is neither chill-filtered nor coloured.

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

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

More Nordic whisky experiences coming soon!

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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.

Denmark

Finland

Iceland

Norway

Sweden

Nordic Whisky Set

Stay tuned for notes on our Nordic whisky experiences coming soon!

*** Whiskies courtesy of 

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