Thanks to /u/Strasse for this dram.
If you find yourself between Denmark and Sweden, specifically in the strait of Öresund, you may be drowning in a cold area and should reach land and warmth immediately.
If you’re lucky enough to be there and be on the island of Hven, congrats on staying alive! To celebrate you could visit the Spirit of Hven distillery, and also stay there because it’s a hotel and conference centre.
I can’t speak to staying there, as at the time of writing this we’re in a bit of a slowdown for visiting other places, what with the New Plague going on and all. But if you were there, you could try the second limited release from the distillery, a whisky called Hven Seven Stars No.2 Merak.
The Seven Star series is a plan for 7 different whiskies, each of which is limited, each of which is a Single malt. This specific bottling is named after The Big Dipper (aka Merak in Swedish), is 25 casks all blended together, and used a mix of American, French, and Spanish oak casks.
Also it’s organic in case that’s your jam. I’m agnostic when it comes to organic, so it won’t be impacting my review. No idea on the age, though I did read that there is some 2008 whisky in here and it was released in 2015, so presumably there’s some 7-year-old whisky. Also it looks like they are using a pot still as well, though I’m no expert on telling stills from pictures, so please feel free to correct me.
That’s all nice and good, and it’s great that we’re no longer drowning in what I assume is freezing water, but how does their whisky taste? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: £ 95 (for a 500ml bottle)
Casks used: American, French, & Spanish Oak Casks
Colour: 10YR 7/10
Nose: Caramel, hard candy, mace, raspberry
Quite a bit of sugar notes on the nose. Takes some time to get beyond that sugar, be it toasted or not. Eventually you get some spice and some tart fruit, though it’s lighter than expected.
Nothing too rough on the nose.
Taste: Black pepper, ginger, citrus
Hot. Very hot. If I had to guess, the 25 casks used were either younger than 7 years (at least some of them) or something was lost on the taste for the nose. That said, it does retain some of the spice and there’s eventually some generic citrus flavour rounding out the sheer amount of heat.
Finish: A veritable tariff war full of oak, Vitamin C tablets, menthol
First off, if you’re not from Canada or the US, the first is a note to our problematic issues we’ve had with soft lumber sales being fucked by unscrupulous US politicians. Remember kids: If you can drag out a court case for a while, you too can commit illegal activities because the benefits will pay off any fines you receive from toothless bureaucrats who want to ensure their future employability.
Why do I say that? Because the wood on the finish of this is rough and comes out like it’s showing up for free coffee. That paired with a chalky version of the citrus and a strong, angry mint flavour gives you three aspects of the ugliest captain planet ever.
Conclusion: Nice nose, meh taste that’s too hot, and a terrible finish. It’s too bad too, because I get the feeling like the blender and distiller on this whisky had a vision, but needed additional time to get to it. It reminds me of a younger version of higher end blends where the nose is the most impressive part. Sadly the nose being so light here means it scores below those higher end blends.
This comes off as a whisky you purchase when you want to support the distillery as they grow. Given that they have amenities, I’d be recommending you try either one of their other whiskies to support them, or visit when we can instead.
World Whisky review #422, Sweden review #9, Whisky Network review #2170