From the distillery that received last year’s World Whisky award comes another contender for the title in 2013. This is called 100 because it’s 100 percent rye distilled in pot stills, 100 proof, and 100 months old (a bit over eight years). It’s big, and perfectly balanced between honey and fruit, sparkling distinctive raunchy spice, and a dash of ginger biscuits. This is rye to die for. Superb. €53
Millstone is made by Zuidam, a Dutch spirits and liquor company that prides itself on never cutting corners and in using the very finest ingredients. There are hundreds of European distilleries making spirit, but few this good. Its malt and rye whiskies have always been special, but this is Premier League, a world class sherried 12 year old that matches many sherried Scotch whiskies flavor to flavor. That's a first for Europe. €60
The IMAX of rye. Zuidam Distillers seem to have intensified every aspect of this small batch 100% rye. The plum is fresher, juicier even, the spices more assertive. There’s more creaminess, fruit skin piquancy, slabs of chocolate, allspice, ground cinnamon, and a greater rye character by far. This thumps the tongue hard, delivering quite an experience. In submission, with gums zinging, the unrepentant finish goes on forever.
Very fragrant, with notes of fresh ripe plum, crisp spice, herbs, caramel, treacle, black pepper, and hints of dark chocolate. Leave the glass alone and the spices really hit their stride. The flavor shifts imperceptibly, covering citrus, vanilla, chocolate, and ripe orchard fruits, generating a slow build-up of spices like a gathering storm: your taste buds have nowhere left to run. Beautifully paced.
This is from Dutch distiller Zuidam and it's the third exceptional bottling in a row. The PX here refers to the Pedro Ximenez cask used in maturation and this is almost liqueur-like, with plummy fruits, gooseberry, damson jam, and overripe plum. But there's lots going on here on top, with a dusting of cocoa, some perfumey notes, and a sniff of pepper. The jam keeps fighting back though, and there's apricot in there at the end. €75
Based in the village of Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands, the Zuidam distillery was built by genever distiller Fred Van Zuidam in 2002 and is now run by his son Patrick, who started distilling at the age of 14. His single malt is made from windmill-ground barley, given temperature-controlled fermentation, distilled in Holstein stills, and aged in new oak for a period before being racked into older casks. A rich amber color, this expression is ripe and fruity with plenty of red cherry, a little hint of fig, and a little sweet spice. Balanced and rich with a fresh citric farewell this is a classy arrival on the world scene. £59
That Boutique-y Whisky Company (distilled at Millstone) 6 year old, 48.9%
Dutch | $75
Originating from Zuidam Distillers’ diverse inventory of casks, this single malt whisky conjures thoughts of bread dough, white grape, and slightly sour spices. The orange flavors start as a deep glow, then blossom beautifully into rich marmalade aromas. Initially mouth-drawing, with bold, juicy flavors of peach and orange supported by toffee and a gentle lift of spices. Appetizing taste of spiced orange cake to finish. (637 bottles)
Van Zuidam distillery’s star has risen rapidly — it’s under ten years old —and its single malt and rye are confident forays into the world of whisky. So is this. This is 5 ½ years old and is a distinctly different take on peat, with little acerbity, oil smoke, or charcoal. A softer spiciness is present — it’s an almost ginger cake quality, with menthol and lemon-lime candy in the mix. €55 (Not available in the U.S.)
Millstone 2004 Barrel Proof Rye 10 year old (cask #667), 58.6%
Dutch | $125
Hard toffee, Brazil nut, milk chocolate, and noticeable rye bread aromas on the nose from this new American oak barrel. The rye spiciness is embedded with the other flavors; balanced, but not dominant. Soft and fudgey flavors display sparkling spices, deeper toffee notes, vanilla, and cinnamon bark. Try a dash of water to unlock the sweetness and citrus elements below the surface. If anything, this accentuates the tobacco and spiciness of the finish (The Whisky Exchange only) £85