Apr 282015
 

Viskin Ystävien Seura is Finnish for Friends of Whisky Society, in English referred to as Fellowship of Whisky, but mainly just VYS. Now this is a club that knows how to put on events. They have this series of utterly CRAZY tastings, like the one my friend and Society member Henrik reported on last week, called “The Rare and Old” – the 14th of which was held last week with whiskys distilled in the 1930s. The series is all sold out in advance, and this club, with some 700 members, really has a lot going on. To celebrate the club’s second birthday, they had a private bottling of Old Buck, a Finnish microdistillery from Pori, and have now declared “Finnish Whisky Day” to honor the Club’s birthday with an event and a tasting of whisky from all six distilleries in Finland (Beer Hunter’s-Old Buck, Koulu, Kyrö Distillery Company, Teerenpeli, The Helsinki Distilling Company and Valamon Luostarin). The tasting will host 180 people, and if you’re going to be around Helsinki on May 23rd, you might want to attend this event.

2015 Board of the VYS

Old Buck is distilled in the micro-distillery run by the Panimoravintola Beer Hunter’s Inn restaurant in Pori. The first distillation was done in 2001 and the first whisky was relaesed in 2004 under the Old Buck label. I have, sadly, not tasted it. To honor VYS’s second anniversary last year, a bottling of  a single cask of Old Buck was made available. This is a peated four year old whisky matured in an ex bourbon cask from Jack Daniel’s. Unique and very interesting!

Photo Credit: VYS

 

Old Buck Bottled for Viskin Ystävien Seura, 150 Bottles (53.7% ABV)

Appearance: Bronze, tiny thin legs running very slowly.

Nose: There’s peat in the background, not overly assertive, sweet lemon, orange, pickles in brine, smokiness drifts back in with notes of limoncello and honey.
Water brings out malt and a wood fire, with orange peel and some floral notes

Palate: Orange, peat and honey, with a sour/vinegar note creeping in with spices and sweet notes.

Linger: The peat comes through with sour notes, wood smoke, some spice and a lingering sweetness. The spice notes remain on the tongue for a long time.

Conclusion

This is a very special whisky, both fun and complex. This was a great choice to bottle for the celebration of VYS’s second birthday. Shockingly, this bottle is still available, almost a year later, for purchase at the Finnish Alco shop. You must be asking yourself, being such a one off and of such high quality, how could that possibly be right?
Well, it costs €283.60 per bottle….

Thank you Henrik for sharing this fabulous dram with me!

Apr 252015
 

As we saw in the post on the 8 year old, Teerenpeli did very well with the 60-40 combination of bourbon and sherry sherry casks. The expression was all you’d expect from a Finnish whisky, with a character all to its own, conjuring up forests, rain and wet earth.

Photo Credit: whiskyadvocate.com/

Photo Credit: whiskyadvocate.com/

You’d obviously expect that the Distiller’s Choice, an expression wholly matured in sherry casks, to be that much better. You might also think you’d be facing a true sherry bomb. Alas, you’d be wrong on both counts.  My fellow blogger Thomas Øhrbom at Whisky Saga notes that, while officially NAS,  this expression is 6-7 years old, as he was told in a visit to the distillery. I thought that while being definitely well made whisky, it didn’t have the depth of character the 8 year old had. I’m not sure if it’s the 2nd fill casks or the age. I wonder if there’s a 100% bourbon cask matured expression out there. Judging from the 8 year old, such an expression has the potential to absolutely shine.

Photo Credit: clydesdale.se

Photo Credit: clydesdale.se

Teerenpeli Distiller’s Choice Kaski (43% ABV)

Appearance: Deep bronze, thick and quick legs.

Nose: A layer of herbal and honey notes with some light lactic notes overlayed with a light layer of sherry with a rather wine like nose which gets sweeter with time.

Palate: Zesty compote made from plums, nectarines and citrus, pine sap, brown sugar, pepper and cinnamon. The full mouth feel creates some dryness on the inside of the cheeks.

Linger: Some sweetness, hints of spice and not much dryness left behind in this rather short Finnish finish.
I do apologize for the corny pun, I just couldn’t resist that one  😉

Conclusion

I had very high expectations coming to this expression from the 8 year old, which were unanswered by the whisky. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well made and very drinkable. But on the one hand it lost that incredible feel of Finland the 8 year old had, and on the other hand it didn’t deliver a true sherry bomb punch. Of the two Teerenpeli expressions I had, the 8 year old is clearly the winner.

I will say that I eagerly await to taste other expressions coming out of Lahti, and wish to thank my friend Henrik for these samples.

Apr 242015
 

When my friend Henrik told me last Saturday about the crazy 1930s tasting his Finnish Whisky Club (VYS) is having, I asked him to write about it. He wrote a beautiful article and published it here, but before all that, he sent me samples of three Finnish whiskys. Two from the Teerenpeli distillery and an Old Buck bottling specific for the VYS club. I’ll pay homage to the small whisky industry in Finland – which is mainly beer breweries distilling some beer, and to to the club, by giving my tasting notes for those three whiskys.

Teerenpeli

Teerenpeli

Teerenpeli is a company which has a restaurants across Finland and a brewery and distillery in Lahti. They have been distilling since 2002 in a very small distilling operation (1500 liter wash still and 900 liter spirit still), producing about 30,000 liters per year. The whisky is lightly peated.

Henrik sent me two samples: One of the Teerenpeli 8 and one of the Kaski, which will be reviewed tomorrow. The 8 combines whisky that was aged in both ex bourbon casks (~60%) and 2nd fill sherry casks (~40%). By the way, you won’t find any information on their whisky on their site, as Finnish law does not allow such information to be disseminated as it would violate the ban on advertising liquor.

Photo Credit: lostinasupermarket.com

Photo Credit: lostinasupermarket.com

Teerenpeli 8 Years Old (43% ABV)

Appearance: Gold, thick and quick legs.

Nose: Malt, honey and spices come right at you, then some green leaves, the forest after rain, wet earth, pine nuts and some not unpleasant lactic notes. I’ve never been to Finland, but these are just the smells conjured up by Henrik’s pictures I see on Facebook.

Palate: Spicy at first then a lovely sweet honey and bitter citrus come in. The palate goes from spicy to sweet to bitter in a lovely transition.

Linger: Short linger, with the bitter citrus and light sweetness remaining. A mild souness develops in the back of the throat, with some possibly lactic notes.

Conclusion

This expression has a lovely bitterness with a rather complex delivery. This whisky delivers more than expected, and is a great example of a non scotch styled single malt. The price, however, is a bit out of whack, as £69 for a 500 ml bottle is steep for an 8 year old.

Thanks Henrik for sharing this lovely expression! Kippis!!