Nordic Whisky #1 - Smögen Primör
Smögen Primör, 3 YO, 63,7 %
This is the first review in a new series here at Whisky Saga, where we will take a closer look at whiskies from Nordic distilleries. We are starting off with a whisky that premiered in Sweden just days ago; on March 13, 2014.
The whisky is called Smögen Primör, and it is from the craft distillery Smögen Whisky. This is the first whisky to market from Smögen, and as such this is a great occasion! It is always exciting when a new distillery finally has whisky for sale.
Smögen Whisky is located in Hunnebostrand in Sweden. Pär Caldenby is the guy running the whole thing - literally. He is the only employee of the company as of yet. He started the company back in the summer of 2009, and distilling started in earnest in 2010. The whisky he produces is powerful, with a big, peaty character.
Back to the Smögen Primör. It is released in a limited batch of 2188 50 cl bottles. The content is pulled from eight 110 liter barrels, made of european new oak, and one 225 liter barrique that previously held Bordeaux wine. The barrique is also made of european oak. The cask numbers used are 5, and 14-21, and the spirit was distilled between September and November of 2010. Bottling was performed on November 15, 2013. I imagine that must have been a great day for Pär. Finally he had his own whisky, on bottles!
The whisky is sold at the Swedish state monopoly (Systembolaget) at SEK 1250 per bottle. With the ABV being as high as 63,7 % the product cannot legally be sold in Norway. Pär, being such a nice guy, will circumvent this obstacle by releasing a very limited number of bottles for Norway, at ABV 58 %.
Nose (22/25): On one hand this whisky strikes me as very well-balanced, quite sweet and with quite a lot of peat. On the other hand - given a bit more time in the glass - it is fresh and spicy, with a fair bit of oakiness. You can clearly tell that this is a young whisky; fruity maltiness, cereals. But there are no off notes at all, it is well-rounded and pleasant. The peatiness is sort of Islay-ish, quite maritime. There's a hint of saltiness to it, and I love it when sweetness and peat combines well as it does here. The peat is not overwhelming at all, it just enhances and envelopes the other aromas.
Taste (21/25): Quite fruity and very spicy. I find handfuls of pepper, chili pepper, and peat, peat, peat. It's almost so you can chew the peat - it is near solid! I feel that we are close to some primal forces here - darkness lurks very close, but yet I feel safe. It's not all darkness though, I also find som refreshing ginger and ripe berries.
Finish (21/25): Wow! There is a Midsummer bonfire burning in my chest now! This whisky gives off an incredible warmth. It could probably be utilized to end winter here in icy Norway! The finish is relatively short, as you would expect, but the warmth lingers long after the aromas have wandered off. I really like the ginger sweetness that accompanies the warmth for a brief period.
Balance (22/25): So, is this a good product? Yes, definitely! It is quite mature, well-balanced and full for such a young age. As a first release from a new distillery it bodes really well for the future. Bring it on, Pär!
Images from Smögen Whisky.
Sláinte! - Thomas