SMWS 153.1 (Thy Whisky)


We were lucky enough to try 153.1 in Denmark. So today we thought we’d share some thoughts on the bottle as well as taking a look at the distillery behind the bottling, Thy.

For those of you who are unaware, the distillery is a family-owned, Danish organic distillery located on the Gyrup Estate, near the National Park Thy and the North Sea coast. The distillery is owned and operated by 8th generation family members Ellen Stærk Nicolajsen, Andreas Stærk Poulsen, Marie Stjernholm, and Jakob Stjernholm.

Thy Whisky Distillery's story began in 2010 when the owners, curious about whether the local terroir and grain varieties would create a unique flavour in a spirit, filled their first barrel of whisky. The distillery use only organic grains grown on their own fields in their whiskies, which are malted, mashed, distilled, matured, and bottled at the distillery, making their whisky 100% single estate and of single farm origin.

Thy Whisky Distillery has built its own drum malting system which it uses in conjunction with It’s single-run pot still. The distillery experiments with numerous organic grain types, including heritage barley varieties, spelt, rye, oats, emmer, and ølands wheat. They also supply an increasing number of Danish whisky distilleries and breweries with specialty malts for their production.

Thy Whisky Distillery uses beechwood for its smoked whiskies, following Danish tradition. They have also recently found a source of peat on their land, which they plan to experimenting with for future vintages of their Single Estate Whiskies.

The distillery still bottles its whisky from small vintages, and all the whiskies so far have been limited edition bottling of single casks or multiple casks up to around 2,000 bottles. In 2020, Thy Whisky Distillery's four-year-old beechwood smoked single malt "Bøg" was named Best European Whisky in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible. This award came just 10 years after they filled their first barrel.

The current production capacity of Thy is around 50,000 litres of spirit per year. However, it will still be some years before they can bottle that volume of finished whisky.

SMWS 153.1

Region: Denmark

ABV: 59.3%

Price: £160.00 (approx)

Release 153.1 was originally matured in "Bøg" Sherry octaves before being marred together in a 1st fill bourbon barrel. At 5 years old it was bottled in an outturn of 219 bottles.

The artwork on the label was created by prominent Danish artist Jacob Rantzau who was given a sample of 153.1 with no other details than it was a small Danish Distillery. That sample inspired the artwork that adorns the label.

Nose

Freshly ground coffee beans, dark chocolate, ginger spice, slightly meaty - like grilled beef steak with that ground coffee rubbed over it. There's also some richer notes of molasses, cherry syrup, dark caramel and a mixture of fresh strawberries and raspberries right at the end, after you get past those richer notes. There's also a little bit of pepper spice showing the higher ABV, but the dram manages to fool you into thinking it's older than it is.

Palate

The palate comes through with a lot of sherry flavours up front, chocolate, cherries, cinnamon, ginger, cloves moving into fresher flavours of raspberry jam and lime zest. The mouthfeel has a syrupy texture, thick and viscous, moving into quite a long finish showcasing slightly drier flavours of high percentage cocoa chocolate and toasted walnuts.

Nose (with water)

We're getting a bit more nuttiness appearing, a real drier style of oloroso starts to come through, balsamic, truffles, a hint of leather too. It does feel like these new aromas overpower the ones from the undiluted nose, and it's perhaps a little less complex than before.

Palate (with water)

We're getting a zestier palate to begin with, lemon and limes, moving quickly into apple crumble with a good helping of cinnamon. The finish feels a fair bit drier now, leathery, and seems to be shorter than before. The mouthfeel has also taken a bit of a hit. We'd avoid adding any water to this one.

Conclusion

A very pleasant dram that has big bold sherry flavours and aromas, without being too bitter or astringent. It's got good balance, although it's a touch spicy with the alcohol making itself known on the nose and palate. For a 5 year old whisky, it's very impressive and has taken well to the sherry maturation. We're interested in how the spirit would work with other cask types such as wine or port or to try older releases.

Score: 8/10

As far as we’re aware, all of the bottles from this release went to members of the Danish society chapter, but if you’re interested in trying some whisky from the distillery there is a small amount is stocked by The Whisky Exchange. Berry Bros & Rudd have also released a cask bottling that is still available for around £150.

    • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
    • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
    • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
    • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
    • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
    • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
    • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
    • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
    • 2 - Pour it out
    • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

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