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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Spirit of Hven Tycho's Star, Swedish Single Malt

Located on a teeny island between Sweden and Denmark, near the former digs of 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe, Hven Distillery began distilling spirits in 2008. Whisky isn't their main focus. In fact it's just another one of their ultra-locally sourced products.

It's time for everyone everywhere to start ignoring every drop of digital ink spilled about the experimentation going on at Bill Lumdsen's distilleries in Scotland. You want to see some real tinkering? Here's how Henric Molin, Hven's distiller, makes Tycho's Star:
--Three malts: pale ale, chocolate and heavily peated.
--Two to three different yeasts applied over a 90-120 hour fermentation period.
--Three oaks: 58.2% heavily charred Quercus muehlenbergi from Missouri, 33.44% heavily toasted Quercus petrea from central France, 8.36% medium toasted Quercus robur from Bourgogne.
(These stats come from Thomas of whiskysaga.com)

Of course, if doesn't taste good then what's the point? Lemme see...

Distillery/Company: Spirit of Hven Backafallsbyn
Region: Hven, Switzerland
Type: Single Malt
Age: ???
Mashbill and maturation: see above
Alcohol by volume: 41.8%abv
(from a purchased sample)

The nose leads with barley, honey butter and white chocolate. I keep finding lots of sugary breakfast cereal, like Corn Pops and Frosted Flakes. It has a spirity edge that reads a little phenolic. A little bit of mango slips in after a while. There's dark chocolate, roasted nuts and nutty whole grain bread in the palate, which is followed by a tart spritely nip and a slight herbal bitterness. It finishes with honey and toasted grains up front, smoke and bitter greens in the back.

I can imagine at 46+% abv it probably gets rougher and tougher, but as it's currently bottled the whisky is a nice drinker with a good sharp edge. It's also barley-forward, which is always a plus in this oaky era. Tycho's Star would probably appeal to most single malt lovers, which makes its experimental recipe a success. Unfortunately that same approach has made it expensive.

Availability - A few dozen retailers in the US and Europe
Pricing - $55-$80 (ex-VAT) in Europe for 500mL; $100-$130 for 750mL in US
Rating - 82