The 2nd release of Whisky from Swedish Distillery Agitator – Argument: Chestnut 46% ABV!

2021-11-22 måndag 18:43
Friends! As you probably remember I reviewed the first release from Swedish Distillery Agitator two weeks ago (if you haven't read it please do so by clicking here), and today I bring you my review of... you guessed it, their 2nd release! 

This release has been named "Argument: Chestnut". This should of course not be interpreted as arguing or fighting about chestnut wood. It should be interpreted and understood as stating ones case for the use of casks crafted from chestnut wood in whisky making. The general info in the press release states that the whisky in question had its initial maturation on regular bourbon casks and was then finished for a little more than a year on chestnut casks. As usual, when able to, I love sharing some more specific info with you my dear readers and so, just a few hours ago, I once again had a wee chat with Oskar Bruno (Distillery Manager) and our conversation resulted in the following info regarding recipe etcetera:

This whisky has been crafted from a mix of unpeated and peated new make. The peated component holds 30ppm and consists of three styles equally large in parts; one part distilled in the Low Reflux Stills, one part distilled in the High Reflux Stills, and one part that is a mix of the two. The liquid first spent more than two years in 200 litre 1st-fill bourbon casks, and was then transferred to 150 litre virgin chestnut casks for a finish. All in all we are talking about 28 chestnut casks. While 22 of them contained the peated component and enjoyed a finish of more than one year, 6 of them contained the unpeated component and enjoyed a finish of four months. The oldest component was filled into (bourbon) casks in the end of March 2018, and the youngest component into (bourbon) casks in the beginning of October. The casks were emptied at several different points in time; around the end of September and the beginning of October this year. The 28 casks gave 6000 70cl bottles at an ABV of 46%. Here in Sweden this whisky will be released at the state monopoly this Friday and you can view the product by clicking here.

Now, this is a release that I've really been longing to taste and review ever since I heard about it. Why? Well firstly because I find chestnut to be a really exciting kind of wood for maturing whisky, and secondly for this reason: as you know by now I am involved in a cask collaboration project together with the folks at Agitator and two of the casks in our collab is made from Chestnut, and so I find it very interesting to find out what style and profile this official distillery bottling of chestnut matured whisky from Agitator will have. Ok folks, it's time to analyze!

Nose:
A wonderful and enticing nose that’s full of both light and heavy scents. On the light side we have blossoming flowers, mainly white roses but also something that makes me think of pink flowers… to specify flowers is not my strong side so maybe it’s best to describe it as scents in a flower shop. On the light side we also have sweet lemon and squeezed/smashed redcurrants. There is a roughness in the berries that makes me think of red currant leaves but it doesn’t really come through quite that heavy. Speaking of heavy, on the heavy side of things we have dark raisins (as in a medium heavy sherried whisky) and a light hint of fragrant milk chocolate. There is actually also something reminding me of ”soft gingerbread”-cookie bordering on a truly mouthwatering vanilla! Digging deeper there is some kind of leather in the distant. In the base of the heavy side is a very light peatyness that interestingly has a clear element of firewood/fireplace/embers to it. A whiff of salt soft liquorice flies by. 


Taste:
A lot more peat than I had expected there to be judging from the nose, very, very nice! The peatyness is broad and at the same time light in style. Immediately after the peat leather-y almond paste makes its entrance and along comes medium heavy and rich tannins. The tannins never quite fade out but quickly morphs into fried/caramelized slices of lemon, orange flavoured milk chocolate, and slightly burnt vanilla. In the aftertaste something red from the nose appears very briefly (redcurrants or flowers?), and the light firewood peat echoes back and forth in a wonderful way.

Some reflections to sum up:
Once again, it is simply remarkable that a whisky this young can taste so old and mature! Nothing youngish to be found whatsoever, not on the nose, not on the taste. The nose is soft and has a medium complexity, and even though it’s not super complex I still find myself nosing, nosing, and nosing it over and over for a long time... I really like the taste and I’ve said before that chestnut maturation, to me, comes through as a kind of mix of bourbon maturation and european oak sherry maturation, the best from two worlds! The chestnut finish has made the perfect amount of imprint on the whisky. If included in a blind tasting for semi-whiskynerds I am convinced that a majority would categorize this whisky as sherry matured. On the taste I especially enjoy the fruity elements and the evident but light firewood peatyness that in no way is in the background. Both for the nose and the taste the chosen ABV is perfect and provides great balance. I believe that while this whisky is probably targeted more to the whiskynerds than to ”the great” whisky drinking ”masses” the taste profile will definitely appeal to both groups. The latter group may, in the beginning, be a tad scared off when reading chestnut on the label, but in time, with information and explanation, they will also build up the guts to buy and try a bottle. And, the cost of 599 swedish crowns for a 70 cl bottle of top notch swedish whisky definitely makes the decision a whole lot easier! Finally, thinking about the fact that this is just the 2nd release of whisky from Agitator, and that it tastes so good, makes me both smile in my heart and long for the future releases to come. 

Finally, a big thanks to the nice people at Agitator for the great opportunity to review this whisky before it's release! For further and future updates please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures and videos likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or is associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail [dot] com and when permission is granted by stating the source.

Pic borrowed from systembolaget.se

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