Distillery: Zuidam Distillers
Region: The Netherlands (Baarle-Nassau)
Type: Single Malt
Maturation: 6 years in ex-Jack Daniels barrels, then 2 years in new French Oak
Age: minimum 8 years
Alcohol by Volume: 40%
Let's go backwards with this whisky.
Zuidam ages their whiskies in a warm warehouse, which actually doubles the maturation / aging / alcohol-loss rate. Sort of like India (of all places), but a little less extreme. That's why they've done 5yr and 8yr releases, as opposed to 10 - 16 years.
This whisky matures for six years in former Jack Daniels barrels then another two years in new French Oak casks. Rarely will a producer reveal whose former barrels they're using, so that's a fun maturation fact to know. The good news is that there's not a hint of Jack in this whisky.
According to the distiller's site they ferment small batches of distillate at low temperatures for a long period of time inside large wide pot stills. This gives the pre-maturation spirit (new make) soft and fruity characteristics.
But before they can ferment anything, they need some barley grist. And how do they mill the barley? Via windmills!
|I was somewhere around Baarle-Nassau on the edge of the tulip fields when the whisky began to take hold.|
Color - Solid Gold
Nose - Very fragrant and floral at first nosing. Sweet oak. Very similar to Glenlivet's French Oak. Sugary pencils.
Palate - Candy! Brown sugar. Vanilla. Maraschino cherries. Fresh orange juice, maybe? Mild and desserty.
Finish - Medium length. Tiramisu and vanilla.
WITH WATER (about 32% ABV)
Nose - Wood. Raisins. More oak character. Sulphur (which is weird because there were no sherry casks).
Palate - The water makes it much fruitier. Sweet fruit juices. Almost sherryish (which is weird because they were no sherry casks).
Finish - Still decent. Sweet. Gets a touch bitter and sour at the close.
Maybe it's because my expectations were set low for this one due to a couple of not-positive reviews or maybe it's because I had it for dessert at the end of a difficult day, but I liked this one a bit. It would even stand up well against The Glenlivet 15yr French Oak. It's uncomplicated, but it works as a dessert malt. Probably a little better without water.
This will be first time I'll say it (and definitely not the last), but it probably wouldn't hurt if the whisky was released at a higher ABV (43% or 46%) to give it more oomph and strength. But as it stands, it's a good starter whisky.
BUT it's not priced competitively. Perhaps it's done so with the thought that Dutch Whisky will considered a luxury by some? I don't know. Maybe the windmills are expensive to run? Is wind expensive? I can imagine the whisky's price hindering product expansion.
Aside from that, I wish good things for Zuidam because they clearly know how to make a whisky.
Availability - Unavailable in the US, Available in the UK
Pricing - Unfavorable at $105-$120 (minus VAT plus shipping)
Rating - 80