Origin: Veneto (Italy)
Type: Italian Pure Malt Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Wine
Added colouring: No
Average price: € 60.00
Official website: www.poligrappa.com
Established in 1898 by Giobatta Poli, the distillery that takes his name is dedicated to the production of grappa, immediately involving the whole family, which from father to son carries on and expands the business,
Now run by his grandchildren (Jacopo, Andrea, Giampaolo and Barbara), the Poli name has long since been linked not only to grappa but also to liqueurs, fruit and wine distillates, and gin (Marconi 42 and 46), which marked the first step outside of a well-established production tradition.
And in what for many distilleries abroad is an almost natural step after gin, in 2013 Jacopo Paoli came with the idea to create for the first time a pure malt whisky, which combines Scottish tradition with Italian ingenuity and inventiveness.
So, after lengthy studies on how to adapt the traditional process for distilling malted barley, they produced the new make that, at the end of 2021, gave birth to the first batch of their whisky: Segretario di Stato (Secretary of State).
Distilled from 40% peated and 60% unpeated malt, in a discontinuous cycle bain-marie still, this is the first version released at the end of 2021, which spent five years in European oak casks followed by a long finishing period in first-fill ex-Amarone casks, for a total of almost seven years of ageing. Limited edition of 1898 bottles (not a random number) presented in an elegant wooden box.
Other versions will follow, entirely similar in maturation but with a reduced finishing time and also using second-fill casks.
The massive presence of wine is clearly evident on the nose, where nutmeg slips over the acidic component of red fruits (wild strawberries, raspberries), accompanied by notes of mango, cereals, carob, citrus, wildflower honey, liquorice root and gum. A light, smoky thread of toasted nuts appears at the end. With time, it becomes softer and more chocolatey.
In the mouth the smoke takes the helm, leading the flavours to the palate to let them soon express their own nature, returning to release vinous essences in a light but not ephemeral body, with a hint of pepper and ginger. More red fruits, plums, nuts, cherries in spirit, touches of citrus. In lenght, the smoke returns to dominate with ashy tones.
The finish is fairly long and smoky, with red fruits, roasted peanuts and cocoa.
Very interesting on the nose, more linear and predictable on the palate, youth certainly plays an important role as does the long aging in casks that are quite charged, but the distillate at its base reveals very broad shoulders, which perhaps a higher alcohol content would have allowed to emerge more. As a complete whisky novice, it is still remarkable.