A few weeks back we received a very exciting packaged. Myken Distillery, the worlds first Arctic whisky distillery started production in December 2014, and they have kindly sent us samples of their new make and a sample that had been matured for 12 days in a heavily roasted American oak 5 liter cask. For more on Myken see here and here.
The reason we have not had a chance to taste this new make until now, has been a very nasty cold. My senses of smell and taste have been close to zero for a couple of weeks. But now I am finally back in action.
We had a brief chat with Trude Tokle and Roar Larsen at Myken Distillery, to get some info on the new make. This particular batch was also brought to Tromsø Whiskyfestival in January 2015, which was the first time they presented it to the world. The second cut is a bit early here, they say. They are still experimenting with different cut points, and will also use small casks of different sizes throughout the year, to decide on the character they want.
Myken New Make, 63,4 %
Nose: Light, soft, lightly fruity, freshly baked bread, crisp bread, and a hint of mint. Rich maltiness. Clean.
Taste: Soft, fruity, malty. Crisp bread. Very oily. Medium sweetness, more towards the finish, where it gets sugary (white sugar or simple syrup).
Myken distillate 12 days in heavily roasted American oak 5 liter cask, 50 %
Nose: It has already picked up some vanilla and mild fudge. It is definitely sweeter now. Cinnamon and white sugar. The sharp edges of youth have already been polished somewhat. We are also on our way out of the bakery – the door is still open but we are out in the open.
Taste: Still soft, fruity and malty. It has picked up more sweetness in the form of caramel here as well, just as with the nose. The finish, while still very short, adds a slight oakiness, and a hint of Coca-Cola.
Box Whisky New Make, 63,5 %
Nose: Light, fruity, richer fruitiness than for Myken. Orange zest and lime. Malty. Drier, with nut shells. Slightly darker and richer.
Taste: Soft. More spicy and fruity. The fruit is mainly oranges and mandarin – sweet oranges. Lightly oily.
Ardnamurchan New Make, 64,6 %
Nose: Soft, light, grapes, wine notes, light citrus. A touch of fresh sap lingering in the background. A hint of pine or juniper reminds me slightly of gin.
Taste: Fruity and rich. Pepper and ginger. Slightly metallic. Longer finish than the other two.
If I were to rank them I would say that the Ardnamurchan new make has a slight edge on the other two on the nose, but it is a very tight race all-round. To taste I would say that the Box Whisky new make has a bit more of everything, it is richer. The other two are tied for second place.
All three are new makes of high quality. Very clean and approachable character. Watered down to 46-50 % they could easily all be sold as flavorful, quality spirit.
A very promising start for Myken Distillery. Just 2 years and 10 months until we can taste the first drops of single malt Arctic whisky!
Images from Myken Distillery.