Zuidam: Millstone 8 Year American Oak (Dutch Single Malt Whisky: 8 Years: 43% ABV)

Visual: A dark toffee gold. Very dark for its youthful age.

Viscosity: Very fast thick streaks.

Nose: Light toffee and oak. Cheese. Water lightens to planed wood and a touch of peanuts.  Some oddities at the edges like gelatin and a tar touch.

Body: Initially very smooth with sweet syrup, it quickly takes a big hit from charring and oak influence.  Touch of caramel. Water smoothes the charring out, leaving still evident oak and barley, but lets toffee run wild. Some Shredded Wheat touches maybe.

Finish: light charring and milk chocolate, or maybe bourbon biscuits.   Smoke and charring grows over time. Becomes mouth filling fresh with water. The oak remains however and some slight nuts.

Conclusion: Whew, this favours the oak just slightly. Reminds me a lot of bourbon in the way.  From the name and flavour I am wondering if virgin oak was used for this, at least in part.  It has that massive influence which either screams fresh oak of massive years, and I’m damn sure this doesn’t have massive years.

It feels touch rough and ready, all oak and smoke. However considering its youth it does have a smooth texture at the front, it’s near the back where the charring kicks in.  Besides that it has a nice play of sweetness, mainly caramel and toffee. It really is half whisky half bourbon and really shows a nice bit of innovation to the style.

Now I wouldn’t put it down as a favourite. It is kind of raw, though that is offset by water which makes it much more toffee sweet with each drop.  With a chunk of water id does gain a toffee pavlova kind of feel.

So nice, not showy, but experimental and interesting to try.  From vague memory I would describe this as a toffee influenced Makers Mark with not quite the grace, but it’s been a while since I had that so I may be a tad off.

Background: Drunk at “The Star Inn”, a small pub but very friendly and with a great whisky selection.  The bartender mentioned that this was a Dutch single malt and as sucker for something new, I had to try.  The bottle says American oak, and their website says that as well as Bourbon casks they do use virgin oak casks and I have a feeling they were used for at least part of this whisky.  This is my first sampling of Dutch whisky. The night in general was entertaining with my tasting noting bringing a lot of conversation from a few other drinkers.  There were other amusing oddities which will be the subject of a future post. Due to the chatting this had plenty of time to air and the aroma was very evident by the time the tasting started.