In the past two days, we have visited the United States and Canada for our whisky adventures. Today, for door number eighteen, out continuing excursion brings us to the Netherlands. Pull that bottle from its hidey-hole and you will find it to be the Millstone Peated PX Sherry Cask.
The Zuidam Distillery was founded in 1975 in Baarle Nassau , which lies in the southern Netherlands near the border it shares with Belgium The Founder, Fred van Zuidam, had accumulated two decades of previous experience in spirits production before deciding to make a go of it on his own. Under his care, the distillery started by making a line of premium liqueurs using natural ingredients, from grain to fruit to herbs and spices used. This methodology continues to this day, as Zuidam spirits are made with no artificial colouring or flavouring. This goes for all of their products, be it their Cassis Liqueur (which is delicious by the way), Apple Flavoured Gin, Dutch Courage Old Tom Gin, Premium Genever, or Single Malt Whiskies.
Speaking of whisky, the first experiments in whisky-making did not start right away. The first experiments were made starting in 1994, and proper whisky production commenced in 1998. Even then, the Zuidam family showed patience, not releasing their first single malt whisky commercially until 2007. The first bottling was a 5 year old. It was also the first release to use the Millstone name, which was a reference to the use of Dutch Windmills to stone-mill the malted barley. Nowadays, the use of windmills is no longer enough to supply all of the grist needed.
Fred’s son Patrick van Zuidam is now in charge of whisky and spirit production at the family distillery, and under his influence, the distillery’s line of whisky has stretched into a variety of different styles and grains, including Rye and three and five-grain blends. Further experiments in growing their own barley are ongoing with the goal of being self-sustainable when it comes to grain in the near future.
The mini bottle from Zuidam in our 2019 KWM Whisky Calendar is one of Millstone’s peated bottlings, and also has a healthy sherry influence to it. Shall we crack it open and try it out? Yes, let’s!
Produced by the Zuidam family distillery in Baarle-Nassau, Netherlands, this peated Millstone single malt whisky was aged entirely in PX Solera Sherry Casks. Bottled in small batches at 46% ABV.
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: Rich Sherry notes along with wood and spice notes. Cloves, juniper, star anise, gingerbread, trail mix with raisins and walnuts, maple syrup, and an underlying potpourri and wood smoke.
Palate: The peat comes out more on the palate, with sweet notes from the PX Sherry and a lot of nuttiness. Toasted almonds, walnuts, dates, maple syrup again, earthy tobacco, fruit leather, amaretto, Frangelico, black licorice and Montreal steak spice.
Finish: The earthy smoke from the peat and nutty notes from the sherry linger together nicely.
Comment: This is big sherry with a decent amount of smoke, but very approachable. The spice notes and the smoke keep the PX Sherry influence from going overly sweet and decadent, which is surprising. This could have been over the top, but it finds a nice balance.
This is quite the roller coaster of peat and sherry from Holland. Will we stay on our international tour or head back to the familiar landscape of Scotland for tomorrow’s whisky? Stay Tuned!
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*The Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar is produced under license from Secret Spirits, Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar™