KWM Whisky Advent 2017 Day 7 – Millstone Oloroso Sherry
It has been a little over a year now since Millstone hit the market in Alberta, and our customers are lapping up the many different whisky releases we have from the Dutch distiller, which also goes by the name Zuidams. Zuidams is a family owned distillery in Baarle Nassau, The Netherlands. The firm opened its doors in 1974, and for the first 14 years it produced vodka, liqueurs, gin and genever. The latter spirit, genever is the key to the firms progression to making whisky.
Genever, is a spirit with a very long history. In the early days of distillation in Europe, beer made from malted barley was crudely distilled into a spirit. The result was essentially a proto-whisky, but the spirit would have been almost unpalatable. To make it more drinkable herbs were added to alter the flavour. Juniper was also added as it was believed the berries had health benefits. The name Genever, or Jenever, is derived from the Dutch word “jeneverbes” or Juniper Berry.
The origins of Genever go back to at least the 13th Century, and they are not exclusive to the Netherlands. There is reference to Genever coming from Bruges in the 1200s and Antwerp a couple of centuries later. But most scholars argree that Genever was likely first produced in Flanders, in the Netherlands. By 1606 the industry was sufficiently large for it to attract the attention of the Dutch authorities, who began levying taxes on genever and similar spirits in 1606.
There are two types of Genever, Old and Young. Young or “Jonge” genever is a style that came about around 1900. Modern distilling techniques allowed for the creation of lighter spirits. During the Great War (First World War) there was a shortage of grain and Genever was made from molasses and sugar beets. People started referring to the Old or “Oude” style genever. Some Old Genever is matured in oak barrels, like whisky. It is this style that Millstone is famous for.
In 1988 at the behest of the sons, especially Patrick van Zuidam, the firm started experimenting with whisky making. In 1996 they began laying down casks in earnest. The company produces not just single malt whisky (both peated and unpeated malt), made in the Scottish style, but also 100% rye whisky. We bottled our own cask of Millstone Rye Whisky this year and it has been a hit!
So first and foremost, we know, the whisky is not a 50ml… Apparently Millstone does 40mls instead. We aren’t really sure why. I chalk it up to the Dutch being Dutch. Good folk that they are, sometimes it is best not to ask… besides, we would not have otherwise had this whisky in our Calendar!
Millstone Oloroso Sherry – 46% - No Age Statement – Andrew’s Tasting Note: “Nose: thick with chocolate, Kahlua and caramel flavoured Baileys; big notes of liquorice Jujubes, polished new leather and brand new rubber boots. Palate: big, nutty, leathery and earthy; syrupy, juicy dates and more Kahlua; caramel sauce and more cream liqueur tones; the leather and spices build but also some waxy Strawberry Twizzlers; young but layered and rich. Finish: milk chocolate coats the palate along with caramel Baileys and liquorice Jujubes. Comment: this is a malt for those looking to get their sherry on… it is big, proud and unapologetic; very Dutch! – 50mls Available for $12 – 700mls are SOLD OUT in Alberta. Due back in 2018!
Stay Tuned for Whisky Advent Day 8