Young whisky can rock, and what a better example than those two lovely expressions combining very young whisky (peated) and then finished in sherry from Smogen distillery.
Smogen is a young Swedish distillery , established in 2009. I’ve reviewed their first EVER expression “Primor” last year (review here) , and was very impressed by how good this very young 3 year old whisky was. Smogen is a peated malt, and most peat lovers know sherry can complement the peat quite nicely when done well… and this was Exactly what Pär Caldenby owner and distiller at Smogen had in mind, when he decided to experiment with sherry casks and his peated whisky – and voila – The sherry project.
The “Sherry Project 1:1”, is the first installment of four in the initial group of the project. The focus is on the successive increase in influence from the Sherry casks, with the installments 1-3 being given 4, 8 and 12 months of finishing period in one fresh Sherry butt each.
The fourth installment will be a 4 yo full term maturation in fresh Oloroso Sherry Quarter casks – installments 1-3 matured for 2 years and 10 months in virgin European oak Quarter casks, prior to their aforementioned finishing period, while installment 4 fully matured in sherry.
The 1:1 is bottled at 51,8 % ABV, and is peated at 50+ ppm phenols. The total outturn is 932 bottles, most of them are sold in Sweden at Systembolaget, some bottles will be sold in the UK and elsewhere , though I have not been able to locate any online…
Nose: oh my. What a treat for the sherry and peat lover: big smoky and sweet fruity nose. Ash. Dried fruit: sultana, plum, date. Oyster sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Oh. Yea.
Palate: boom! Its starts off with an explosion of peat. Smoke. Pepper. Sweet BBQ marinade. Dark chocolate. Sweet BBQ bacon. Sweet chilly. Plum marmalade.
Finish: Tapioca pudding with smoky sweet bacon. Burnt sugar and dried fruit.
Big stuff. and what a good whisky this is at this tender age. The sherry just made it better IMHO. The Primor was good, this is a cracker.
Let’s continue with the “older” 2:1 project. The 2:1 is bottled at 55.7% and yielded 880 bottles.
Nose: Again – Lovely with the trademark smokiness, those dried fruit – this time I’m getting a lot of figs and dates, as well as ripe plums and brown sugar. Smoky and sweet, with hints of Maple syrup, pepper and again the BBQed pork in marinade. Earthy and very spicy, with the alcohol playing a big role here…
Palate: Pepper up front with a lot of peat, smoke and chilly.ginger powder, dried fruit and prune sauce.this is more peppery and thick than the 1:2 palate, but not far from it.
Finish: Pepper, sweet syrup, maple and ash, quite some wood, definitely woodier than the 1:2. the smoke goes a long long way…
If you find yourself saying “nah, it can’t be that good at 3 years or so” , then do yourself a favor, and try one of those crackers. It’s just amazing how good they feel, regardless of age. Truly cracking stuff. The only downside is the price, which is quite steep…
Many thanks to Robert from Highfern for the samples.