Yoav is a whisky lover for the last 2.5 years trying to catch up for lost time and recently also a blogger and a software geek by profession. He lives with his family in northern Israel and can be easily found on twitter (@yoavgel) and Facebook.
When Gal offered me to sample a dram and guest blog it, I was very excited. come on! to write a guest post for one of the premiere whisky blogs in the world? Who would refuse?
Gal asked me if I have any preference and I asked him to surprise me. And he didn’t disappoint – a peated expression for a peat-head like me!
Initially I was sure this is an Irish whisky (the name does sound like it, doesn’t it?) but was very surprised when Gal told me it was Dutch whisky. Dutch? Whisky? and peated?
Well, Surprise! Although Jenever is the automatically associated spirit for the Netherlands, they also have their own whisky. Zuidam Distillery is behind the millstone brand name and the 5 different whiskies in that range. The distillery was founded in 1975 by Fred van Zuidam, and is currently run by his two sons, Patrick and Gilbert.
Millstone Peated is aged for 5 years in small American white oak barrels which previously held bourbon and sherry. It is double distilled in hand-made copper pot stills. The process of using windmills to grind malted barley into flour causes almost no rise in temperature, helping preserve the aroma, and the important Dutch heritage of the world famous windmills
The name of the brand (as you might have guessed by now) comes from the fact that millstones are used in windmills.
So, what about taste?
Nose: Starts very gently – a little closed up and takes some time to open up and expose the flavours – rich cream, pears, toffee, some bananas and vanilla. After few minutes, some oak, malt and initially weak underlying peat (had to really concentrate in order to notice it) notes which grew stronger over time. With a nice dose of water added (more than a drop or two, by accident) it stayed rich and creamy but with much stronger fruits notes diminishing the peat impact here.
Palate: Now we feel the peat and it’s of the smoky variant. quite dominant. also saying hello: citrus, vanilla, spices party roles at the back of the mouth. with water added, the peat is less smoky, the citrus and spices takes the front seat – lovely.
Finish: Long and dry smoky finish (less so with added water) with lingering spicy oak wood notes playing 2nd violin.
Conclusion: This is not an Islay dram but this peated expression has nothing to be ashamed of. Although, I preferred this one with some water added – it was much better and so much more balanced – quite a nice expression from the relatively unknown(to me) Dutch distillers. They do know their craft there.
Milstone peated , £51 at Master of Malt