It would be remiss of me not to visit a Systembolaget shop whilst in Sweden.
Systembolaget are the chain of state owned off licences set up in 1955 to control the sale & consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol is strictly governed in Sweden.
There is no advertising.
There is no sponsorship.
There is no ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free!’.
What there is are high taxes and I must say – a very pleasing & clean shopping experience.
The stores are bright & airy.
There is a cheerful atmosphere.
All brands get equal exposure. There are no promotional ads from the big brands dominating the aisles.
Each category is clearly labelled – equally – so it’s not difficult to find what you’re looking for.
I already knew what I was after.
Systembolaget do an online guide here detailing all that is available – by how many bottles – in each shop. So I already knew before entering the store my choice was on the shelves.
Well what did I go for?
Hven had already impressed me on first encountering their distinctively shaped & super tasty whiskies at the Whisky Birmingham show a few years ago.
Learning they had produced a rye – my other love – there was no contest.
Now Hven don’t do chill filtering nor added caramel.
They give extensive detail regarding the grains, process & method of the products they release – and this rye is no exception.
But open information doesn’t gaurantee great taste – so how was it?
A gorgeously wholesome white peppery signature rye spiciness greeted me with a spirity kick.
The delivery was smooth on the palate. The spices gently grew along with some herbaceous floral notes giving a savoury balance to the sweet.
The drying spices rolled around on the finish leaving a warm cosiness to counter the snow outside.
A lovely well balanced rye from the Spirit Of Hven Distillery.
A gorgeously warm whisky to welcome me to Göteborg.