Dear friends! Earlier today I received a package from the people at Swedish distillery Agitator. Yes, the package contained their two upcoming releases (!) and this evening I'm bringing you my review of the first release. To freshen up your knowledge on Agitator, their production method, and what sets them apart from basically any single malt distillery around, please read the first part of this article and regarding their philosophy (if you will) please have a look at their website here.
The first release from Agitator has simply been namned "Single Malt Whisky". The general info that has been spread through press releases etcetera lets us know that the whisky in question has been matured in four different kinds of casks; bourbon, sherry casks, new american oak, and chestnut. In search of more specific info for you my dear readers I had a wee chat with Oskar Bruno (Distillery Manager) just a few hours ago. Our conversation resulted in the following info regarding recipe etcetera:
The whisky has been crafted from a mix of unpeated and peated new make (30ppm barley). The casks predominantly used for maturation are 200 litre 1st-fill bourbon, full time maturation. A portion of the whisky has been matured in new (virgin) american oak 200 litre, and this is where it gets interesting: 50% of the new american oak casks were of the wave stave kind, and the liquid in them enjoyed a full time maturation. The liquid in the rest of the new american oak casks started out in 1st-fill bourbon casks and then enjoyed a finish of more than one year in the new american oak casks of regular kind (non wave stave). The sherry casks used were 130 litre american oak, and the liquid in them enjoyed a full time maturation. The chestnut casks used were 150 litre, and also here we are talking about a finish; the majority of the liquid filled into these casks enjoyed a one year finish in them and/but in some cases the finish time was four months. The age of the whisky in this first batch is 3-3,5 years old and the number of bottles is 14000. Here in Sweden this whisky will be released at the swedish state monopoly this wednesday and you can view the product by clicking here
Ok folks, time to review!
Very fresh and quite vivid scents! In the center layer is a malt-y/barley scent that is medium heavy and teams up with a rather robust vanilla. These two scents are intertwined in a really nice way. The layer above opens up slowly, more and more, with some time in the glass. Here we have very light citrus (or maybe even rhubarb acidity), a whiff of overripe pear, but most of all winter apples in apple pie (apples below a crust of sugar and butter baked oatmeal). Wow, as I nose the apple pie, oatmeal, and vanilla evolves more and more and there is lots of luscious vanilla and butter emerging, mmm! The bottom layer is actually the layer I first identified. Here we have the peat and there is a lot more peat than I had expected there to be from a standard-/core range-/house style-product point of view. I can’t really decide if I nose ”peat” or ”smoke”, so I simply have to conclude that’s it’s somewhere in between. On the other hand, the peat has a whiff of earthyness to it, so probably more on the peat side of things after all.
Wow, judging from the style of the nose I did not see this coming; the taste actually starts off on a lot of sherry sweetness (dates and raisins), and it’s quite peaty indeed! It then moves on into oaky vanilla (american oak style) with a hint of light liquid honey. Then comes the malt/barley with a lovely oaky/woody spicyness to it. A dryness comes through and at the same time the peat shows itself for real and it does so in an elegant way. In the aftertaste the peat slowly fades away and the vanilla and dryness has a final bump.
|The beautiful package that the samples arrived in!|
Some reflections to sum up:
A very complex nose for being this young! In terms of scent-evolvement and maturity on the nose I definitely think of an age around 10 years old. As you can see my notes on the nose is a bit longer than my notes on the taste. From this you understand that the taste is not as complex and diverse as the nose is. I do however think that the taste is very, very mature and I definitely think of an age of say 7-8 years old. Adding to my reflections on the taste it’s absolutely worth to mention that there is great balance in this whisky, both between the main flavours and in relation to the choosen ABV. 43% ABV works really good. There is also great balance in terms of peatyness; it is there, it is obvious, but it doesn’t take over. All in all this is a really good whisky on its own. Furthermore, this is a very, very good first release, and definitely the best first whisky from a swedish distillery that I’ve tasted so far. It is remarkeable that a whisky this young can taste so old and mature. There are no typical signs of young (swedish) whisky; no yeast, no sulfur. Taking the general style of this whisky into account I believe that it will appeal both to the nerds and to ”the great” whisky drinking ”masses”. The latter especially so because of its perfect balance between ABV and peatyness. Both these tow groups of people will of course be thrilled to hear that the whisky has been bottled in 70 cl bottles and that a bottle only costs 479 swedish crowns. A job well done to the team at Agitator. Skål!
Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Agitator for the great opportunity to review this whisky before it's release! For kind of weekly updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here
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|Pic borrowed from systembolaget.se|