Yesterday I visited with a large group of enthusiasts the small family distiller Zuidam. Zuidam is located at Baarle Nassau in the Netherlands. Zuidam started distillation in the 70’s with some liquors. Later on they expanded their range to Genever, Gin, Korenwijn and Whisky. The trip was organized by Elise en Wouter van Tol (DH17Slijterijen) en Jolanda Buhrs (Drinks&Gifts) and of course the family Zuidam. Due to the large group (more than 80 people attended this event) we were split in to two groups. The first group with me in it started tasting first followed by the tour around the distillery itself.
The tasting was very nice. You could tap your own drink and there was plenty of choice in the four lines of spirit. What where the spirits I tasted in this session? I intended to write some notes on the way, but I was busier talking to people then writing, (a lack of experience with this sort of events, but I hope you will forgive me for that. I won’t score them either) but I managed to get some short notes from my memory:
Millstone 8 year old (head to head American Oak and French Oak)
Both where nice whisky’s with quite a high level of tannins (probably caused by the use of new wood). The American Oak was lighter in taste with more vanilla; the French Oak gave some notes as you will get with a little sherried finished one to my opinion with a more robust and somewhat grapes like texture. Both where nice but I prefer in this tasting the French Oak.
Millstone Dutch Rye
Due to my tasting of a Rye of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection I was very curious about this one. After cleaning my glass I went for it. It has definitely the Rye taste, somewhat sweet but again there was that woodiness and tannins that arrived also (trademark of Millstone?) I definitely want to taste this one again in a more relaxed environment.
Millstone unknown from a small barrel
This one, I don’t know which whisky it is, stated (see picture) Single Malt whisky. After both of the 8 years old this one came as a surprise. Due to the small barrel the wood-contact of the liquid is very high. It resulted in a very different nose, more elegant, soft and seemingly more balanced. I forgot to ask which whisky was in this barrel. Maybe some other visitors might remember>
Zeer oude Genever 5 years old
My first contact with a Genever which matured on a barrel and to my surprise it was very good. It was sweet, soft and again the wood influences also arrived. Swallowing gave you some spices and herbs. While I am trying to stick to Whisk (e) y, I think I made an error by tasting this one. It delivered very well.
Korenwijn 5 years old
First time ever to taste a Korenwijn and it wasn’t bad but it didn’t form a great memory.
For more tasting notes of the tasting at Zuidam and particular the Genever/Korenwijn range go visit Sjoerds Blog.
The tour around the distillery was lead by Patrick Zuidam. It was again a first time for me and it was very interesting, but a lot of info for such a short time. There were no secrets; Patrick explains everything in a pleasant and entertaining way. But there was a surprise at the end. Patrick opened a barrel for some of us. It was a whisky distilled in 2000 at around 58% ABV and his personal favourite. It came straight from the barrel and he poured us just one glass. Due to the greediness of some people first in line the glass was almost empty when I had a change to nose it. Pouring a drop on my hand I smelled a rather delicious herb like dram, it tasted surprisingly soft to me and I would certainly have another go at this one, but……. Unfortunately bottling whisky at cask strength is not a part of their strategy, so I think I never will be able to taste this one again.
I had a great time meeting people from the internet and twitter in real life and it was very well organized but the time to leave arrived much too soon.