Friday, April 10, 2015

Verso “Sprout” and Juuri (Origins) just made my cocktail!

While I was visiting the distillery, it was a nice surprise to learn more about these rye make boozes. The Verso will be a normal range product and thus be available more or less frequently from the stores. The idea is not the include Verso in whisky tastings (except out of curiosity) but to use it as a ingredient in various drinks / cocktails. You can also use Juuri (the Origins) instead of Verso in these ones.


The Versordier Cocktail (was: Bulevardier, was: Negroni)

  • a chilled cocktail glass for added visual experience
  • One part Campari
  • One part sweet vermouth
  • A bit more than one part (1.25) of Verso or Juuri
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a orange twist to garnish the experience. This is also known as Ilmari Turja in Kyrönmaan Matkailunedistämiskeskus.

The Leväluhta Bog Spring

Near the Distillery is a sight called Leväluhta bog. One of it’s characteristics is that the water of the bog runs red during the springtime. The other part that you might want to note is that the bog has recently released over a hundred human skeletons from it’s depths. The oldest of these corpses date back to the Merovingian and iron age. There are tales and whispered speculations of the origins of these poor souls, the truth will most likely remain a eternal mystery.
Leväluhta_bog,_Merovingian_age_bones_-_National_Museum_of_Finland_-_DSC04176[1] (photo from Wikipedia)
To stir up the Leväluhta Bog Spring you need to modify the since-the-ages-famous Old Fashioned. For more grim and memorable lights/night out, use drinking horns or skull shaped glasses.
  • a nice pour of Verso or Juuri
  • some beetroot syrup
  • 3 dashes Bitters
  • perhaps a splash of soda water, or water from the bog spring..

Stir, don’t shake, with a bone-shaped stick. A must-have for the next Halloween!


Pukkilansaari “the Isle of Pukkila”

Pukkilansaari is a island on Kyrö river. You need to use a ferry to cross the stream to get there, but it is worth it since during summertime there is a outdoors dance hall. And that is where you need to find yourself in a Northern summer night.
The original drink is the Whisky Sour, with some KDC modifications. To get one use
  • a nice pour of Verso or Juuri
  • Fresh Finnish Strawberries (other countries are ok too)
  • Egg white
  • Lemon juice
  • simple syrup
  • some dashes of Bitters
These should get you started. The texts for Leväluhdan Lähde and Pukkilansaari were taken and very loosely translated from Kyrönmaan Matkailynedistämiskeskus cocktail descriptions. More will come later. 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

KDC Kyrö Distillery Juuri (Origins or Roots) take #two

I wrote about KDC Juuri back in December 2014: 

Since that time, I have learned that KDC produces their drams in relatively small batches (roughly 600 0,5 liter bottles at the time) and there can be variance between batches. It all depends on multiple factors. Unless the vatting is done on larger number of batches there are differences between bottling batches.

When I got my hands onto sample about batch 8 and Raw Origins, I naturally had to review what’s going on especially since I had now visited the distillery and learned more about their process.

The Rye KDC uses for their mash is excellent. I was able to taste it and I was taken away with that experience. It is great to know how their raw ingredient fares and what the actual end product will taste.


The sample of the batch 8 has a lot better and softer nose than the batch 13. While it is like a moonlighted booze (it is booze after all), it has a great scent in it. Soft rye with some summer combined into it. But what is more important, is that the taste is a lots more tolerable and soft. It is rough, like a Finnish drink should be, but it also has a great rye in it. This is much more balanced and much more complex, than the one from the room 13. Personality is nicer, there is some twist and joke in it but what is the most important part: the finish is longer and way more pleasant. While this is far away from whisky (this is new make, unaged) this is a good base for the dram to come.

While at it, I have to write about the Raw Juuri also. Normally Juuri is tamed down to 46.3% while the Raw Juuri is bottled at 63.8%. This is actually also the strength used when the Juuri is put into barrels for maturation. Considering the angel’s share I’d guess the final Cask Strenght KDC Rye Whisky will be roughly 52-58% – depending on the age of course.

I have no details about the batch of the  Raw Juuri I tasted, but I am surprised how mild and soft the scent is. Considering the power of the drink, I was expecting a lot tougher experience. The Rye scents nice!


Also the palate is first a lot more softer than I thought it would be. The bite emerges much later than I was anticipating. Rye, summer, sun and vast fields surround me when I dive deep into this one. Nothing bad, but there is a constant reminder that this is just the step one. The cask hasn’t given it it’s share yet – and the cask maturation is the big difference between a booze and the whisky. The finish burns and steams, like a steampunk locomotive in a heat but it cools down after finishing it’s goal. Too bad I don’t know the batch of this one, but I must say I enjoy the Raw Juuri much more than the ordinary one.    

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2006 and Valinch Seolaid

Thanks to a good friend I got samples of these two Bruichladdich drams. I hadn’t tasted Islay Barley 2006 earlier and the Port Charlotte Valinch is not just easy to come by, since it is sold only at the distillery.

Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2006

This has been peated up to level 40ppm and it is made of barley from six farms and territories: Coull, Kynagarry, Island, Rockside, Starchmill and Sunderlandt. Laddie’s story can be found here:


My story begins with a color, which is a honey-amber like. Nice and oily, which is good. The scent is a instant winner for me. Smoke and peat. I also found some peat and smoke in there. Sweet and salty notes can be located in there too. I just love this stuff!

The scent also continues on the right trail. Smoked peat combined with sea, lemon, pepper and sweetness. This ends in a long finish, which fondles your brain and mouth equally well. This one just jumped onto my wish-list for “I want one bottle of this one”. This is a very enjoyable dram. While compared to the Scottish Barley, this is more elegant and soft, but more Shakespearian complex and both meaning and rhythm. Scottish Barley is more straight forward with a big lance and axe, while Islay Barley is dexterous and agile. Both have their places and both are required.

Port Charlotte Valinch Seolaid

This is a rare dram to find and get. This is 12 yo Port Charlotte (cask strength 53.2%), that has been matured in a Sauternes barrel. It seems that this is the same as here:

What makes this extra special for me, is that this is the first 12 yo Port Charlotte I’ve tasted. I enjoyed Octomore 4.2. Comus a lot and it had also the Sauternes element in it.

This is fabulously oily and dark dram. The scent is sweet, rich and the peatsmoke is in there – buried under a collection of other scents. The palate strikes with peat and smoke, combined with knights of the sweet order, singing their aura about rich merchants of Venice. This one has power and the tale, it has burning smoke and smoldering peat that accompany the bard on it’s journey across the land and sea. This is a experience and that kind of a great dram I enjoy. The finish lasts (almost) forever.

There are reasons why I appreciate and like smoky peat whiskies. This is one of them.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Kyrö Distillery Company: where the Rye evolves

20150328102352-IMG_3105_small-2When you drive to Isokyrö you know you are at the countryside. The vast fields accompany the more or less lonely road more often than random forests. This is the are where the fields (almost) reach the horizon, people are proud and their shoulders fit in only because they built their houses and doors big. It is the Pohjanmaa and you can check the map for the exact location:
What is the Kyrö Distillery Company? You can read about them from their web site ( ) but put in short: they are a fresh company (founded 2013/2014, started their production 2014) who are producing 100% pure Finnish single malt rye whisky. At this point it is on the new make level, but 2017 the first three years old Rye whisky will see the sunrise. They are in a good competition spot since there isn’t that much production of the pure 100% rye malt whisky. Usually 51% of the rye is enough to call it a rye and distilleries tend to use that option. The Rye is hard to work with, but if you go through the pain and wait you will get amazing results. KDC also produces two main varieties of Gin, which are remarkable good and tasty.  My recent blog post about Verso can be read here:
But first, let’s get back in time to the year 1714. KDC’s first Gin was named Napue, which is the name of the village where the distillery is located. It is also the place, where a big historical event happened 301 years ago: the battle of Storkyro, or the battle of Napue. The Russian’s had fought their way to almost west side of the Finland. Finland was part of Sweden in those days, but all those great victories Swedish had during their 30 year war did not help anymore. Since the defeat in Poltava they had been retreating. And despite that the majority of Swedish force was made of tough Finns the Russians were victorious on the battle and thus on the big war. It was a sad day to the region, since Russians burned down the village and it’s nearby buildings and majority of men were killed during the fight and in the aftermath. The story following the battle is tragic and sad, if you are interested about that history please read The events burned deep into soul of these people. The memorial was finally built 1920 – just a few years after Finland gained it’s independence.
20150328101704-IMG_3092_small The Napue suspension bridge is the oldest one in Finland that is still in use. It was constructed 1909-1910.
20150328101842-IMG_3096_small-2 The distillery as viewed from the suspension bridge. It is on the left behind one more modern house.
The distillery itself has also some historical merits by itself. It was built as a  cooperative dairy in 1908. The dairy produced a famous everyday Finnish cheese Oltermanni for over a couple of decades – revealing the origin the name of the road leading there. The building is beautiful and has remained a lots of it’s old fashioned facet.
The interior of the building are more or less renovated – and the work goes on. The rye they grind is one of the best I’ve tasted: very strong and there is a strong sense of a threshing barn in them. The aim is to use more local rye in the future, which would be a great chapter to the tale.
The production facilities are compact and after cutting off heads and tails they produce roughly 300 liters of new make in one batch (200 liters of pure alcohol).
20150328105514-IMG_3176_small New mash in production. The mashing and fermenting takes six days to complete, due to low temperature and careful process which provides more taste than the haste.
The maturation is done in a small new oak casks to accelerate the process. Once the new storage areas are completed, they can provide even a better and more stable environment for the whisky to gain it’s final form.
20150328111855-IMG_3243_small Current warehouse.
20150328111347-IMG_3229_small The next warehouse, at this point a bit of work is required before casks can be rolled in.
20150328111551-IMG_3234_small The next next warehouse, that is going to require a few more hours before it is ready.
20150328113638-IMG_3283_small The bottling is done by hand at this point. Demonstrated with a empty bottle.
20150328113723-IMG_3287_small It is all handcraft work.
20150328113738-IMG_3289_small The bottle would be ready for labeling. All labels have been numbered earlier by hand.
20150328113743-IMG_3290_small ..and it would be ready to shop out.
There are much more to tell about the RyeRye and crazy Finns who like to think Rye out of the box. I really appreciate their style, attitude and effort they put in their work. While I am a big fan of smoky drams, KDC rye is interesting and captivating. It is strong and tasty (some batches are better than others) and produces a long finish. It is not subtle, but does things on the rough cut way. Both Rye whisky and their Gin provide themes and tastes of Finland: the nature and the toughness. These are not for somebody who want their experiences to be gentle, smooth and indifferent. The rye is good. I will continue to blog about the Distillery and their drams on the later date: it is amazing how much inspiration one visit there can generate. Kippis!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ardbeg Perpetuum and Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2015

On the whisky news side, in case you have not noticed yet, there are two magnificent drams: another will arrive soon and the other one is already here.

Ardbeg Perpetuum is going to combine Ardbeg tastes of the past, present and the future. It will be on sale 30.5.2015 and it is limited in numbers. Photo by Ardbeg.


Kilchoman Loch Gorm 2015 was released 23.3.2015. The price is £63 which makes this one probably half (or less) the price of the Perpetuum. This is also a limited bottling, but usually there is a bit more slack with Loch Gorms than with Ardbeg Day releases. Excerpt from Kilchoman’s mail

“The Loch Gorm releases are traditionally matured in ex Oloroso sherry butts and this latest edition is no exception. Where the 2015 version differs from the previous year is the use of sherry hogsheads to mature a portion of the whisky rather than just sherry butts.  This edition will also be marginally older than the five year old 2014 version, it being bottled from casks filled in both 2009 and 2010.  “

Photo by Kilchoman