The very first ever release of Wagging Finger Whisky! The Dutch distillery, run in Deventer by Erik Molenaar has been around for a few years and started out by making gin. A couple of years ago whisky was added to the repertoire and now, through a Belgian bottler, the first release is there!
Apart from there being a bottler, the bottling has a name too, and it belongs to a series, and a labelling.
So, fully qualified and quantified, it would be something like ‘Gileanne, Pin Up Queen, L’Intouchable, BYOB-C, Wagging Finger’. I don’t really know where to stop… But, apart from it having as many names as The Lord of the Rings has endings, in the end it’s the whisky that counts.
It’s quite light on the nose, with some (maybe not very surprising) gin like qualities. There’s quite a juniper note, and some fresh orange too. After a bit more air the young spirit starts showing, but in a ‘still maturing’ kind of way. Dry barley, a small note of white pepper, an even smaller note of oak. There’s a whiff of iron too.
With a bit of warm-up (read: other whisky) the over 60%-ABV isn’t too much to handle. It does show a white pepper bite, and a some dry oak shavings. That crisp gin note is here too, with juniper and some aniseed. The bite keeps building for quite a long time.
The finish is slightly more sweet than I expected. There are sudden hints of vanilla and a note of mocha a few seconds after that. The gin note has completely disappeared.
It doesn’t seem like this whisky is trying to come across as more mature than it is, which is quite different to most new Scottish distilleries. It’s a very drinkable dram, if you’ve done a bit of warm-up. What I find very surprising is the inconsistency between the palate and the finish and I don’t really know what to make of that.
The fact that it tastes young means, I presume but won’t know until we’re a decade further along, is that there’s quite some room for aging and settling down. I sometimes doubt that with a lot of these ‘three year olds that taste like ten year olds’.
All in all, to me this whisky is a lot more impressive than I imagined. Of course, it’s very young and shows it’s (lack of) age, but I am very glad I got my hands on a bottle. I think Erik Molenaar is very much on the right track. He seems to be doing his own thing, instead of trying to make yet another generic imitation of Scottish single malt. Kudos!
I very much hope he’s kept enough casks to properly age them without having to bottle everything for private owners and have nothing left to keep it until it’s ten years old!
Regarding 3yo tasting like 10, that usually is also malt and yeast strategy for short term aging while those distilleries use slower yeast and different malts for long term strategy.
It’s what they do at a lot of asian distilleries. By using highly active yeast strains, more flavour developes in the newmake, more dirt and inconsistency. A different yeast type will get you a cleaner more floral newmake which is excellent for long term aging.
Good to know!
Generally I think those whiskies that taste older than they are have very limited potential for longer aging. At least, they taste like they’re ‘done’, instead of lookkng forward.
I did not think this about Wagging Finger, though…
Yeah, that’s exactly the deal. Those whiskies are meant for short up to 10 ish years of aging to be at their prime. Zuidam also does this to make their young releases taste better. The older aged releases use a completely different yeast and malt.
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