Nordic Whisky #15 - Box Whisky The Pioneer
Box Whisky The Pioneer, 3 YO, 48,1 %
Finally it is here, the first whisky release from Box Whisky in Sweden. This relatively small distillery has been subject to a lot of well-earned praise and positive commentary over the past couple of years. Many have looked forward to this release, and expectations have been high. Box Whisky have presented 'work in progress' at festivals and whisky tastings for a while now, and often to rave reviews.
On June 5 they released their first whisky, Box Whisky The Pioneer. This is the first of four whiskies in a series they call The Early Days Collection, which will see two releases in 2014 and the final two in 2015.
A total of 5000 bottles were made available through the state owned Systembolaget at 10 am on June 5, and by that same afternoon it was sold out! The sales price for a 500 ml bottle was SEK 837. The total number of bottles produced of The Pioneer is 6508 bottles. The 1508 not sold through Systembolaget, are reserved for stock holders and the distillery itself.
Box Whisky The Pioneer is composed of 50 % unpeated whisky matured for three years in 40 liter bourbon casks ("Ankare"), 35 % peated (31 ppm) whisky matured for three years in 40 liter bourbon casks, and 15 % unpeated whisky matured for two years in 200 liter bourbon casks from Jack Daniels, which was finished for a year in 100 liter casks made from new roasted Swedish oak. The end result is a non-chillfiltered whisky at 48,1 %, with no added coloring. Box has made all the technical details, and I do mean all, available on their web site.
Nose (21/25): Oaky spices, peppermint, malt, a bit of salt and some caramel. The young age does show itself, but it is a vibrant and fresh faced youth we have here, not a brash and unwashed scoundrel. After the initial nosing, I left the whisky in the glass for about 45 minutes and then dove in for seconds [Box Whisky do recommend that you leave this whisky in the glass for a minimum of 30 minutes to let it open up]. Vanilla, mild fruits (apples, pears and citrus), leather, soft smoke and cereals. The nose turns quite delicate; soft and almost creamy. With water: The young notes go hiding, and it becomes more fruity. The smoke morphs into a smoking beach fire.
Taste (22/25): Very soft, almost silken mouthfeel. Dry wood smoke, pepper, licorice. With water: Surprisingly, adding water makes it richer and a bit more peaty, with added notes of honey and ginger.
Finish (21/25): Warm, with medium length. Oaky spices and soft caramel. A bit dry. Dark chocolate and mocha on the finish. With water: The finish is longer now, and not as dry. Chocolate and ginger, with some citrusy notes.
Balance (22/25): An impressive feat, I must say. This is a vibrant dessert of a whisky. The young age certainly does show, especially on the nose, before water is added. Normally I shy away from adding water, but for very young whiskies wih a higher ABV it is always well worth trying. In this case it really did improve on both the nose, taste and finish.
Congratulations, Box Whisky, on your first whisky release! And congratulations Roger Melander, well done, sir. Well done, indeed! Now we are eagerly awaiting the second release in The Early Days Collection, The Challenger.
Sláinte! - Thomas