Time to take a small trip and have a look around some European distilleries producing Single Malt Whisky. We’ll start our mini trip in Austria to have a look at Hans Reisetbauers flagship Whisky, the 12yo. Earlier I already reviewed the 1998 Reisetbauer 7yo. Hans matures his Whisky in casks that once held Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese, one, a dry and the second a sweet White Wine. Hans doesn’t import barley, but grows four hectares of summer brewing barley himself.
“The barley was crushed and malted at 65° C before being cooled and fermented in stainless-steel tanks for around 70 hours. The fermented mash is then twice distilled in copper pot stills. At this pointed the distillate, which has an alcohol content of around 70 per cent, is aged until fully mature in four casks that the top Austrian wine makers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich previously used for aging Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese.”
Color: Slightly copper gold.
Nose: Plastics and fruit. Orchard fruits. Hints of pear, apples. Ear wax. Extremely duty underneath and for a while the plastics dominate the nose. Some of the plastics are slightly burnt. The plastic note is very close to the waxy aroma, which probably comes from the wine casks used. Given some time to breathe, aroma’s of Grappa emerge. If I would venture a guess (and I can be completely wrong here), I would say the grappa note comes from the Chardonnay casks, and the waxy/plastics come from Trockenbeerenauslese (a sweet White Wine). Next up the woody notes, which are quite soft and slightly spicy. Mocha and Latte. The plastics give way, but the Grappa remains. Very interesting distillate. Nosed blind I wouldn’t have guessed this is a Whisky.
Taste: Plastics again and lots of wax. Polyester!That’s it! Have you ever repaired a polyester boat? WYSIWYG (What You Smell Is What You Get). The Polyester is there immediately, but luckily dissipates quite quickly, to give way to wax wood and a winey note. Coffee in the aftertaste. “Do-a-burp™” after drinking this and it’s all plastics again.
Just reading my note about the nose alone, its pretty obvious this is not a Scottish Malt, and reading it all it hardly seems to be a Whisky at all! In case of the 7yo Reisetbauer I reviewed earlier, I found that it already was dominated by the cask used. The 12yo we have at hand is so dominated by the casks, that it is difficult, if not impossible to detect that this is a Whisky at all! This is a Wine (and polyester) finished Single Malt Grappa. If you want a Whisky, you’re better off with the 7yo. Nevertheless, this distillate has a lot of good sides to it too, so maybe it is unfair to hammer it with its off-notes.