Review 2017-066 «Specifics» Rye whiskey • Distilled in 2004 • Bottled in 2014 • Distilled from 100% rye • 50% Alcohol • Matured for 100 months in American oak casks • Non-chill filtered • Natural coloured • Zuidam Distillery • Baarle-Nassau • The Netherlands • Widely available • price ±€50 • Whiskybase #68283
STORY. Zuidam Distilleries was founded by Fred and Hélène Zuidam in 1976 to professionally carry out their passion: to produce high quality liquors and jenever. Nowadays, their sons Patrick and Gilbert are participating in the business. Fulfilling a big dream, Patrick van Zuidam started distilling whiskies in 1996 under the name of Millstone. Meanwhile, the Millstone brand has picked up several prices, in particular with their rye and sherry-matured whiskies. They still are the only large brand that produces whisky in the Netherlands.
APPEARANCE. The bottle design is familiar, but also different, and resembles some old-school Dutch jenever bottles. The label is well-designed with easy-available information. The contents is beautiful natural brownish red autumn-like coloured.
NOSE. The typical rye smell directly comes through Spicy cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg are combined with sweet black cherries, vanilla and milk chocolate. Some solvent notes appear in between. In addition, there are some varnish, burned sugar, orange skin, bitter almonds and grapefruit. The oak is definitely adding its contribution. (water) This pushes it more towards grain, more cherries, spices, caramel, rye bread, some herbal with in particular anise seed and mint. Then, as aspected considering the Dutch origin, liquorice, both sweet and salty. And marshmallow, definitely marshmallow! Exciting and well put together.
TASTE. A sweet spiciness hits the tongue. Hot, like chili powder or tabasco, and spicy with nutmeg, clove, cardamon, pepper and ginger. Spiced vanilla and black cherries are also forcing their way through. Then, slightly drying, oaky, but on the other side still sappy. In the middle of the tongue, the sweetness develops. Cherries, strawberries, cocos, candies, even some Oloroso sherry notes. The sweetness mingles with herbal notes, and liquorice, cough sweets, mint thee, Sprite (if you remember). I even detect a slight hint of smoke, and salty sea air! The spiciness comes back, and lingers quite long.
VERDICT. First, what a surprisingly good rye whisky. Secondly, it is D-U-T-C-H (!), of which I am proud. Spicy, complex, fun, gorgeous. Well done, you guys at Zuidam! And many thanks to my local liquor store owner for advising and letting me taste a drop in his shop! Funnily enough, Zuidam states on the Dutch version of their website: “We advise to not drink this rye whisky at Breakfast.” Well, all right then…
A bottle of this was purchased from Gall & Gall.
«What others say»
- @Whiskybase: Mean score of 87.90 (12 votes)
- Dominic Roskrow @whiskyadvocate: “It’s big, and perfectly balanced between honey and fruit, sparkling distinctive raunchy spice, and a dash of ginger biscuits. This is rye to die for. Superb” Score: 93/100
- Chris Goodrum @whiskymag: “Now that’s an impressive oak monster. Very herbal and dry. Longer and sweeter with water” Score: 85/100
- Neil Ridley @whiskymag: “Wonderfully lengthy and complex, with some incredible weight too. Spot on” Score: 88/100
- Jim Marray in the Whisky Bible 2015: “Salivating, rye-fruity and simply pulses with that forceful grain; the small still oils accumulate to form a thickening backdrop. The spices buzz…” Score: 90/100
- Ruben @whiskynotes: “…it’s definitely up there with Canadian or American rye whiskey” Score: 86/100