This is a weird one. I can’t find any information on this bottle online, and maybe it’s a cask sample I got from someone. I know it’s been sitting in my sample stash for a couple of years and I don’t have a clue where it came from.
I do know that a couple of years ago I got some Zuidam samples from festivals, and there were some bottle-your-own 30 liter casks in a shop in Haarlem that this might come from. Again, not a clue.
What I do know is that a couple of years ago, as in, the better part of a decade, I wasn’t a fan of Zuidam’s whiskies, especially not their single malts. Since their first releases at five years old they’ve come a long way and I also think I understand their whisky a little bit better.
This is a very young peated whisky, at a surprisingly low ABV. 49.5% is not something that sounds like an intended strength, and I would guess it’s a cask strength dram. Knowing Zuidam they could’ve casked it at a lower strength than it came off the still, but it might also have a number of different reasons.
It’s young for sure. There’s peat too but not too much of that. Lots of oak and the peat I get is not the same as Islay peat. More like some of the peat used from the mainland. Like Highland Park does, but more of it. Quite malty and sweet, a lot of plant flavors. Nuts, chocolate, flint too.
The palate is dry and oaky, with some vanilla and the green of plants again. A light spiciness with nuts. A strange combination of flavors, but not necessarily a bad one.
The finish shows the weight of the spirit a little bit more. It’s quite heavy and the small cask probably doesn’t add any lightness either. It finishes like a spicy highlander with a lot of peat to it. A bit like Ben Nevis.
I knew I had this sample. But because of some past experiences I’ve never really enjoyed those really young Zuidam whiskies. Therefore this one had been sitting in my cupboard for quite a long time, years even. I have to say that this one exceeded my expectations by quite a bit.
The spirit is very heavy and weighty. It actually tastes a lot more mature than I expected of a four year old. The other expectation of such a, probably, small cask is that there is mostly wood flavors, but the spirit stands up to that nicely. Quite a well done whisky, actually.
So, no clue where the booze comes from, but kudos to Zuidam. It might not win any awards, but this is a dram I wouldn’t regret having a bottle of.
Millstone 4yo, Peated, Cask 1-009, 49.5%. Probably some private cask.