Wynand Fockink is an old jenever distiller in the centre of Amsterdam with probably the most awesome name in the industry. I went there yesteday with my whisky buddy Shai, and his best friend David.
The guys both turned 30 this week and decided to meet halfway for celebrations (halfway between Israel and the USA). David also invited pianist Daria van der Bercken, who apparently is rather famous in the classical pianist scene. Me, being a classical music barbarian, had no clue who she was, so while the other guys felt kind of star struck, I could focus on drinking.
We actually came into Wynand Fockink for the tour of the place, and a ‘workshop’ of some sorts, but they only did those from April. So, it all boiled down to a tasting. It all was a bit unorganized which meant that I had the feeling we were freeloading on the generosity of the shop, but it was actually a paid tasting. A bit strange since there was no itinerary of any kind and you could just point and drink.
We ended up tasting only the jenevers and skipped the liqueurs.
With a maximum of 15% malt wine the rest of the alcohol is distilled from wheat and molasses. The taste is gentle but not complex. A nice drink.
While the ‘old’ has to do with the old recipe, with at least 15% malt wine this stuff is still unaged. The slightly yellowish hue comes from a drop of caramel. This was more complex and had a bit more character. Alcohol from barley at not too high strength apparently just has a bit more flavour.
The superior version is aged for three years in bourbon barrels, and uses the old recipe. Again, a bit better than the previous one with again more character. Although I think it is very easy for the wood to overpower such a gentle spirit. Three years seems to be right.
The rye version. This is very much like very young rye whisky and since I really like rye whisky, this was the drink I loved most of the range. Again, not too complex, but the rye is very prominent and the grain character is rather huge. Lovely stuff.
One of the older types of grains available and mostly used in bread. This tasted more crisp and had a bit of a savoury flavour to it. Very different than the rest and really interesting if you’re into it. I’d put my money on the rye though.
Rogge jenever at cask strength
While this came at 48% instead of 38% it was way more restrained on the nose but did have some impact on the flavour. Since jenever is mostly drunk chilled (from the freezer, actually) this would work very well since it’d be able to hold it’s own.
So, a good time and we could have made more out of it. There was so much to taste that it was really hard to get a grip on what was available. But, since it was a bit of chaos when tasting, it could do with a bit more guidelines or a more knowledgeable ‘guide’.
It was lovely to meet Shai and his friend, we spent most of the rest of the evening (before they went to dinner that is) getting to know each other since Twitter isn’t much for personal conversations. I always like to meet booze-buddies. Good times.