Stauning El Clasico Vermouth Cask Finish Rye Whisky 45.7% 70cl
Founded in 2005 in the western part of Jutland, Denmark, Stauning – name after the small village it is based in – was set up by nine friends who had little experience in whisky-making but a great passion for the subject as a whole. The friends included a doctor, teacher, helicopter pilot, four engineers and a butcher – the latter of which was able to procure a former abatoir to begin operations, adapting any equipment they found to start production. Malting took place in the butcher’s old cold room, and milling used a old meat mincer.
Initially the team attempted to emulate smoky whiskies from Islay, and a chance meeting with whisky writer Jim Murray let him to encourage them to escalate production after he compared their spirit with Ardbeg from the 1970s. As a result the distillery was moved from the abatoir to a small farm 1.5km away in 2007, before moving to a purpose built distillery complex in the farmland in 2018. From an initial 5 stills, Stauning now has 24 small ‘pod’ stills of 2000L, with direct fire supplied by gas. All the barley and rye used is sourced within 10km away, and the entire process, including floor malting, takes place on site.
Such is the ingenuity of innovation, a purpose built machine sprays cereal with water to encourage germination while a rotating arm on a track continually turns it, removing the need for traditional hand-turning. It’s an amazing invention which so far is completely unique.
Inspired by the Manhattan cocktail, three year old rye whisky spent around 6 months in barrels that had previously held Spanish sweet Vermouth. On the nose the influence of the apertif is already clear, with a distinct red berry fruitiness upfront along with a drying hint of bitter. That continues on the palate, with dried raspberries and black pepper working brilliantly with the dark rye bread background. It's so close to a Manhattan already that just a touch more Vermouth will give you a beefy, full-on cocktail, but it does drink beautifully on it's own!
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