Category Archives: German Whisky

G for German Whisky

World Whisky Day is fast approaching on Saturday the 19th May 2018.

As part of the build up I’m featuring a series of blogs – both old and new – over the next month focusing on a country from each letter of the alphabet – if possible – that makes whisky.

Today is G for German Whisky.

 

GERMAN WHISKY – DAS IST GUT

Germany is not a country usually associated with whisky manufacture. They do love their whiskies however – and it is one of the top export countries for both Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky companies.

Germany also has a long tradition of distilling – mainly schnapps – but is increasingly turning to whisky.

Germany – shockingly – according to my research – has more whisky distilleries at 250 than Scotland with 115!

Sometimes it comes down to numbers.

So when a friend invited us over to Berlin last weekend – I made it my goal to sample some of the expressions emanating from these German distilleries – I must say – I was very impressed!

Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut
Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut

My first port of call was to the very extensively stocked Wein Und Spirituosen Center at Tegel – a handy 5 minute walk from the marvelous public transport network Alt-Tegel U-bahn station.

Very friendly staff guided me through their German Whisky range which included tasting a few samples from bottles the shop already had opened for customers to try.

Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange
Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange

A glass of Glen Els Sherry Cask was tried. Now normally a sherry finish floats my boat – but I found this somewhat lacking – maybe not enough sherry for me?

Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs
Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs

Slyrs Single Malt provided a much more enjoyable experience. Aged in new American White Oak casks this 3 year old gave a lovely woody aroma with a pleasingly smooth taste for it’s youthfulness. No wonder it has gained awards!

Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de
Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de

An interesting bottle caught my eye so I requested another sample. The intriguingly named Sloupisti from Spreewalder proved to be an equally fine dram.

Loaded down with my booty I ambled down to Greenwich Parade where The Fisherman’s Restaurant have an outdoor picnic area. I indulged in Fish ‘n’ Chips delightfully overlooking the Tegeler See in the bright sunshine!

Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/0 Whiskey Nut
Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/o Whiskey Nut

After meeting up with friends and been shown round the German Foreign Office enjoying fabulous views of Alexander Platz from the balcony – it was off to Berlins only whisky distillery.

Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut

Eshenbrau in Wedding was a fantastic place where many beer and whisky enthusiasts congregate in the outdoor beer garden set in the middle of a housing scheme to enjoy the beverages made only a stone’s throw away. They also served lovely flammkuchen to soak up the alcohol!

A fine range of beers are available all year round with seasonal brews regularly alternating on the menu. They have also started whisky production which I was eager to sample.

Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut

The three styles on offer were all a youthful 3 years old;

Pete – aged in American oak,

Charlie – aged in chardonnay casks and

Amber – aged in Spessart German oak for a truly home grown product.

Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut

All of them were pleasantly quaffable with a hint of youthfulness but the Amber finally came out tops with rich woody notes and a slightly smoother finish. As the only venue to buy this whisky is at the distillery I duly bought a bottle – as well as the lovely tasting glass.

For whiskey fans Germany has much to offer. The sheer number of whiskey distilleries produce a vast array of styles, finishes and malts that match that of Scotland in terms of taste and quality – although volumes are small by comparison. Independently family owned or craft distilleries are the order of the day supplying local markets so expressions can be hard to track down – but from my experience well worth the effort.

Go on – try a German Whisky – 3 outta of 4 ain’t bad – to mangle a Meatloaf lyric!

Auf wiedersehen

Sláinte

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Eschenbrenner Whisky Distillery – Berlin

Whisky – An alcoholic spirit made by distilling grain.

Berlin – The German capital city.

Distillery – A factory that makes distilled alcoholic spirit.

Eschenbrenner Whisky Distillery – A whisky distillery in Berlin.

DSCF3811
Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut

I visited this distillery back in 2015.

Situated in the Wedding district to the North of the city this micro distillery & brewery is nestled in the central gardens of apartment blocks.

We found it difficult to get seated as there were many happy punters from far & wide who had come to sample the wonderful whisky , beer & tasty flammkuchen that are only available at the premises.

I tried 3 of the whiskies on offer.

DSCF3794
Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut

Pete – aged in American oak,

Charly – aged in chardonnay casks &

Amber – aged in German spessart oak

And enjoyed them all very much.

At only 3 years old they were delightfully youthful, fruity & light – but with a nice woody influence.

The distillery continues to release various expressions and now has 5 year old bottlings to enjoy.

Do yourself a favour & pay them a visit when in Berlin.

You have to go there to sample the produce.

I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Slàinte.

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Trans Europe Express – the long lingering finish.

Aachen – a city of 250,00 souls in the North Rhine Westphalia area of Germany founded by the Romans and famous for it’s Cathedral as well as  Charlemagne – and also my chosen spot to explore the Benelux countries.

Benelux Countries c/o wikipedia
Benelux Countries c/o wikipedia

My first day in town was spent exploring the lovely cobbled streets of the old historical centre snapping away like the proverbial tourist I’ve become. Very enjoyable it was too – especially when I gained some free time to wander round the whiskey shops whilst my better half did a tour of the Charlemagne Museum!

Neooro die liquidboutique shop is handily just near the museum on Markt. A fine display of assorted drinks from around the globe greets the customer and they had a small selection of German whiskies for sale including the alluring – if not highly priced Preussischer Whisky. Now I realise that German distilleries produce spirit on a small scale which is reflected in the cost – but it’s at the top end of my budget – so it has to be exceptionally good, have a great story, have been previously tasted and set my tastebuds alight  or have been offered a sample to try before I could commit to it. As these criteria were not met – and the other releases were mainly grain whiskies in lovely looking bottles but similarly priced – I simply window shopped and moved on.

Barrique – also on Markt and just around the corner – is a much more down to earth establishment selling a wide array of wines, spirits, oils and vinegars – all of good quality. It’s method of selling these wares was rather refreshing – and something I’d never come across before.

Barrique Whisky c/o thewhiskeynut
Barrique Whisky c/o thewhiskeynut

It’s how all whiskey used to be sold in times gone by. The distillery would sell the wine merchant (for example)  a large quantity – the consumer would then bring along a suitable container into which the wine merchant would decant the spirit. No fancy labelling – no artwork – no bottle – no ABV marking – no mission statement. Now this I had to try!

Sadly no German distillery had offered their spirit by this method – but with a fine array of Scottish, American, Canadian and a sole Spanish expression on offer – it took me a little while to choose.

Barrique purchases c/o thewhiskeynut
Barrique purchases c/o thewhiskeynut

In the end I went for a 12 year old Ledaig – as this expression from Tobermory was mentioned as a favourite during conversations back in London – and the Spanish DYC Single Malt – as I’ve previously tasted and enjoyed the DYC blend before whilst on a trip in France. Barrique supplied a printout with information on the spirit purchased – but as it was in German I didn’t understand it – as well as an assortment of bottles to put the spirit in. I went for a 100ml size with the intention of bringing them home on the plane – but as we arrived in late every night after a hard days sightseeing a tasty dram was in order and they were empty before we even got to the airport!

DYC printout c/o thewhiskeynut
DYC printout c/o thewhiskeynut

The Ledaig proved to be lovely and smooth with the peat giving it a bit of body to the malt. The DYC didn’t have the peaty kick – but was a more complex and flavoursome tipple than it’s sister DYC blend I enjoyed before.

Now the vatted Ledaig and the DYC in Barrique are probably not available in a bottled release from either distillery – but this method of selling whisky certainly gives the consumer an opportunity to sample an expression from a number of distilleries and gain a insight into the flavour profiles of those premises at a reasonable price – something I’m all for. I wonder if this method could catch on elsewhere – or is viable – as the shop keeper mentioned – not all distilleries are willing to sell their spirit this way. Pity.

There was another shop selling spirits this way in Aachen – Vom Fass – which is an international chain with premises around the world. Despite wanting to get some refills in an attempt to sample yet more fine drams – I never managed to visit whilst it was open.

Reunited with herself after our respective tours a spot of light refreshment was in order and we repaired to The Ergmont watering hole on Pontstrasse. A wonderfully decorated friendly place it turned out to be. Despite an extensive drinks menu there were no German whiskies so I tried out Cutty Sark – which is one of blends that is more popular abroad than it is at home.

Cutty Sark c/o thewhiskyexchange
Cutty Sark c/o thewhiskyexchange

This light delicate blend with a soft peaty punch together with a snack from the neighbouring cafe perked me up no end.

Further up the street we stumbled upon yet another drinks vendor.

Weinhaus Lesmeister is a lovely emporium of fine wine, whiskey, rum and other alcoholic beverages. The staff were very friendly when I enquired about German whisky of which they had a few. Sample tastings were offered and the familiar light yet woody flavour profile I associate with these releases were soon hitting my tastebuds. A bottle of Coillmor Bavarian single malt was duly purchased which completed my baggage allowance for the flight home.

Coillmor Single Malt c/o Liebl Distillery
Coillmor Single Malt c/o Liebl Distillery

As the transaction was going through – the shop keeper asked if I knew of a distillery only 10 minutes from Aachen?

Whiskey Tip No. 3  Always do your research! Despite checking for nearby distilleries on the excellent site deutsche-whisky.de – I’d failed to check out Belgium, Luxembourg or Dutch distilleries.

I had a big smile on my face with the thought of calling in on a distillery during our car trip tomorrow – but one look at herself told me that would definitely be verboten!

Radermacher – 1 of 7 whisky distilleries in Belgium I’ve come across – have been distilling since 1836 – mainly gins and liqueurs – but also a few whiskies. Lambertus single malt was the one I’d encountered but resisted and now I had to drive past the distillery in Raeren on the nearby E421 road as we made our way – as part of our sightseeing tour – to the highest point in Belgium!

Signal De Botrange at 693m – the height of Belgium. A welcome cafe awaits the traveller in this popular skiing area of the Hautes Fagnes Natural Park. There is actually a Signal De Botrange beer available – but as it’s brewed in Colorado – it wasn’t for sale in the cafe.

Luxembourg’s high point was even lower at 558m. There is no cafe but we called in at the nearby smatch supermarche on the N7 road where I glanced at the whisky shelves.

Whiskey Tip No. 4  If you’re going to buy whisky in Europe – check the tax rates first!

Tax on alcohols c/o spirits.eu
Tax on alcohols c/o spirits.eu

There was a bottle of Glenfiddich for 11 euro – and that Belgian Lambertus for 25 – it cost nearer 45 in Aachen! Oh dear -not enough homework done!

I also didn’t do my homework when I found a Luxembourg distillery after I returned home too! I think a European Whisky Distillery Tour could be in order!

The Dutch distilleries I did know about – but they were a little off our route the following day. I was hoping there would be some on the menu when we called in for a meal in Maastricht but alas no such luck.

As with all holidays – time flies – and so we began our return journey via train to Cologne for the evening. There were more whisky shops – but none open during my time in this picturesque city. I made do with a refreshing pint of wheat beer enjoyed whilst taking a lovely cruise along the majestic Rhine on what proved to be the warmest day of the trip.

Erdinger and wine on the Rhine c/o thewhiskeynut
Erdinger and wine on the Rhine c/o thewhiskeynut

The last whiskey purchase was courtesy of Heinemann Duty Free at the airport. Sadly there were no German expressions – but I did pick up a bottle of something which seems to be a private bottling for a German wine merchants.

Now this 10 year old single malt tastes as lovely and picturesque as the pretty little village it’s named after in Wester Ross, Scotland – but if you go looking for a distillery there you won’t find one.

Shieldaig Whisky c/o thewhiskeynut
Shieldaig Whisky c/o thewhiskeynut

William Maxwell are marked as the bottlers but an internet search leads you to the well respected and award winning independent bottlers Ian Macleod from whom this very drinkable dram may originate. There is no indication of the distillery it came from unless you narrow it down to Highland printed on the label.

So there you go – a European Whisky Odyssey – plenty discovered and a lot more to find.

What have been your European discoveries?  It’s a growing market with new releases all the time.

I’d love to know what else is out there.

Comments and suggestions please!

Slainte,

Whiskey Nut

German Whisky – Das Ist Gut

Germany is not a country usually associated with whisky manufacture. They do love their whiskies however – and it is one of the top export countries for both Irish whiskey and Scottish whisky companies.

Germany also has a long tradition of distilling – mainly schnapps – but is increasingly turning to whisky.

Germany – shockingly – according to my research – has more whisky distilleries at 250 than Scotland with 115!

So when a friend invited us over to Berlin last weekend – I made it my goal to sample some of the expressions emanating from these German distilleries – I must say – I was very impressed!

Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut
Wein und Spirituosen Center Tegel c/o Whiskey Nut

My first port of call was to the very extensively stocked Wein Und Spirituosen Center at Tegel – a handy 5 minute walk from the marvelous public transport network Alt-Tegel U-bahn station.

Very friendly staff guided me through their German Whisky range which included tasting a few samples from bottles the shop already had opened for customers to try.

Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange
Glen Els Sherry Cask c/o The Whisky Exchange

A glass of Glen Els Sherry Cask was tried. Now normally a sherry finish floats my boat – but I found this somewhat lacking – maybe not enough sherry for me?

Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs
Slyrs Single Malt c/o Slyrs

Slyrs Single Malt provided a much more enjoyable experience. Aged in new American White Oak casks this 3 year old gave a lovely woody aroma with a pleasingly smooth taste for it’s youthfulness. No wonder it has gained awards!

Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de
Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de

An interesting bottle caught my eye so I requested another sample. The intriguingly named Sloupisti from Spreewalder proved to be an equally fine dram.

Mackmyra First Edition c/o Mackmyra
Mackmyra First Edition c/o Mackmyra

Taking advantage of the european whiskies on offer I also sampled a Swedish Whisky – Mackmyra First Edition – another great find.

Loaded down with my booty I ambled down to Greenwich Parade where The Fisherman’s Restaurant have an outdoor picnic area. I indulged in Fish ‘n’ Chips delightfully overlooking the Tegeler See in the bright sunshine!

Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/0 Whiskey Nut
Art work and Alexanderplatz from Foreign Office Berlin c/0 Whiskey Nut

After meeting up with friends and been shown round the German Foreign Office enjoying fabulous views of Alexander Platz from the balcony – it was off to Berlins only whisky distillery.

Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrau beer garden and pizza hut c/o Whiskey Nut

Eshenbrau in Wedding was a fantastic place where many beer and whisky enthusiasts congregate in the outdoor beer garden set in the middle of a housing scheme to enjoy the beverages made only a stone’s throw away. They also served lovely flammkuchen to soak up the alcohol!

A fine range of beers are available all year round with seasonal brews regularly alternating on the menu. They have also started whisky production which I was eager to sample.

Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrenner Whisky c/o Whiskey Nut

The three styles on offer were all a youthful 3 years old;

Pete – aged in American oak,

Charlie – aged in chardonnay casks and

Amber – aged in Spessart German oak for a truly home grown product.

Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut
Eschenbrenner Amber Whisky and glass c/o Whiskey Nut

All of them were pleasantly quaffable with a hint of youthfulness but the Amber finally came out tops with rich woody notes and a slightly smoother finish. As the only venue to buy this whisky is at the distillery I duly bought a bottle – as well as the lovely tasting glass.

Bulleit Rye c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop
Bulleit Rye c/o Celtic Whiskey Shop

The rest of my time in Berlin was taken up by the more normal tourist spots – but I was impressed by the range of Irish, Scottish and American whiskeys available in nearly all the restaurants and bars we entered. I took the opportunity to try out a Bulleit Rye  whilst dining outside in the trendy Prenzlaur Berg area which despite being a little sweet in comparison to the German expressions – I enjoyed very much.

For whiskey fans Germany has much to offer. The sheer number of whiskey distilleries produce a vast array of styles, finishes and malts that match that of Scotland in terms of taste and quality – although volumes are small by comparison. Independently family owned or craft distilleries are the order of the day supplying local markets so expressions can be hard to track down – but from my experience well worth the effort.

Go on – try a German Whisky – 3 outta of 4 ain’t bad – to mangle a Meatloaf lyric!

Auf wiedersehen

Sláinte

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