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Denmark Stauning Whisky from 50 to 100 euros

Stauning Bastard

Review of a young rye matured in ex-Mexcal casks

Origin: Denmark
Type: Danish Rye Whisky
Gradation: 46.3%ABV
Ageing casks: Virgin finished in ex-Mexcal
Chillfiltered: No
Added colouring: No
Owner: Stauning Whisky
Average price: € 67.00
Official website: stauningwhisky.com
Vote: 84/100

This is the third Danish distillery to appear on these pages, a sign of the great ferment that the industry is experiencing throughout Europe. It was founded in 2005 in the hamlet of the same name in the small village of Skjern by nine friends (to quote their own words: a doctor, a cook, a butcher, a teacher, a helicopter pilot and four engineers), who installed two small stills in an old butcher’s shop and began their adventure.
The idea was to create a whisky that was Danish to the core, with raw materials as close to zero kilometre as possible, following traditional techniques such as on-site floor malting, harvesting the peat by hand and direct fire on the stills for distillation, all appealing to the terroir that is so fashionable these days.
The first bottles were produced in 2011, always in half-litre versions, initially as young ryes that could not yet be defined as whiskies, followed by various expressions that were released over time, forming the distillery’s initial core range with Rye, Smoke and KAOS.

The bottle I try today comes from the Research Series, with which the distillery offers alternative and experimental versions of its own expressions (including new make) in small batches.
This rye spent its first three years maturing in toasted virgin American casks, and then was aged for three months in casks which contained Mexican Oro de Oaxaca mexcal: this is not the first time mexcal has been used for ageing, but it remains an uncommon choice.

Tasting notes

On the nose, a sprinkling of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon) falls on a ginger-apple cake mixed with vanilla, candied citron, resin and a faint note of toffee. An impression of rust emerges at times. Peculiar.
In the mouth it has a nice body, the spices are accentuated (pepper, nutmeg) accompanying candied orange covered with dark chocolate, candied ginger, a vague note of roasted coffee and a balsamic and herbaceous background. Bitter accents chase each other along the length, of liquorice root and aniseed, with a saline hint as counterpoint.
The finish is quite long, with spices, wood, apple, dried orange, coffee and balsamic accents.

A curious mixture of evocations, certainly an unusual rye but not complex and layered enough to leave a mark. A pleasant drink, entertaining and intriguing but lacking in substance: perhaps a longer maturation in one or the other type of cask would have given it more depth, but it’s still a dram that is anything but ordinary.

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