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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Spirit of Hven Tycho’s Star 41.8%

Just what is up with these distinctive delicious whiskies from Sweden?

From Sweden, Spirit of Hven is a family owned distillery on the island of Hven, on the straight between Denmark and Sweden.  Tycho’s Star is named as a tribute to a famous Hven islander –  astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).

spirit-of-hven-tychos-star

Spirit of Hven Tycho’s Star 41.8%

  • Nose – Wow! Hickory bacon, leather, really nice on the nose, spice, apples, hickory wood, smoke, juniper, honey, vanilla, milk chocolate and mocha
  • Palate – Great very full mouthfeel, chewy yet not in the least bit harsh, some rich dark fruit, pepper, sweet cinnamon, toffee, nuts, delicious!
  • Finish – Bacony sweet, walnut bitter, with a soft herbal hickory tail on a revisit found chocolate orange zest

It was a pleasure to try this whisky. These days, we tend to find whiskies below 43% watery yet the ‘full’ character of Tycho’s Star gave the impression of a higher strength without the additional alcohol. That shared, none of us were tempted to add even a drop of water.

Comments included “This is like a full meal deal – big mac with fries!” and “I want to have this with steak” clearly reflecting its ‘meaty’ character and yet “It is somehow light in its heaviness.”

We also found it surprisingly well balanced and avoided the obvious ‘this is too young’ type whisky edges.

Don’t let the rich colour fool you into thinking there is caramel. Tycho’s Star is organic certified without carbon- or chill filtering, no colouring or additives.

Apparently this particular whisky is made from a mash bill of chocolate malt, heavy peated malt and pale ale – bringing together caramel chocolate, leather and grassy base notes.

And the casks? The casks are 58.20% heavy char Quercus Muehlenbergii from Missouri, 33.44% heavy toast Quercus Petraea from Allier and 8.36% medium toast Quercus Robur from Bourgogne. Pretty precise details from the distillery!

While our whisky lady contributor did not bring the case, there was mention of leather straps and we loved the dark wax drips down the beaker style bottle. So certainly got ‘thumbs up’ for packaging too!

While considered ‘entry level’ and absolutely in the affordable category (approx $55 for 50cl), this one certainly left us wanting to explore more!

What they have to say:

The whisky has dark, almost mystical notes of leather and liquorice, embraced by a round scent of ripe plums. All this is elevated and refreshed by fragrances of apple and elderflowers. Newly harvested hay and honeydew meadows give a soft finish.

What others have to say:

We are seriously starting to have a Swedish whisky fan club starting here in Mumbai! It helps that we have one Swedish whisky lady who can periodically feed our growing interest… can’t wait to see what she brings back from her latest trip.

Other whiskies sampled in September’s Whisky Ladies session included:

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Whisky Ladies like variety! Akashi, Spirit of Hven + Linkwood

Variety is the spice of life! And why not with whiskies too?

This Whisky Ladies session with a few ladies gallivanting around the globe, those remaining in Mumbai decided to merrily abandon the idea of a co-ordinated theme.

Instead we decided to mix up whiskies from three different countries and styles.

Whisky Ladies, Sept 2016

Whisky Ladies, Sept 2016

The Linkwood was a gift from our Bombay Malt & Cigar session, so I had sampled it earlier, however for everyone else joining, it was a 1st for them! Pronounced a rather lovely drinking dram, it kicked off our evening’s tasting session.

The Akashi is one of the few whiskies blended in Japan available at Mumbai duty free. The Akashi is an example of a ‘ji-whisky’ and has an apple cider quality. It works well as a ‘starter’ whisky for those who like something simple, smooth and unchallenging… and was meant to be our ‘appetizer’ except our poor Whisky Lady got stuck in nearly 2 hours of traffic to reach! (that’s dedication!)

The Spirit of Hven was acquired by a new whisky lady on her recent trip to Sweden. Much bolder with fabulous packaging, the Tycho’s Star swaggered into our senses and was much enjoyed. The irony was our Swedish whisky lady happened to be… well… in Sweden so missed the session however this was clearly one she would enjoy!

PS With desert, we decided to share a few drops of the Blair Athol 27 year with it full cask sherry burst – yum!

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