Zuidam

 

Zuidam Distillery takes its name from its owner and founder Fred van Zuidam. He began operation in 1975 within a small area of 300 sq metres and one copper still. Today the distillery has expanded to 3600 sq. metres and has four stills. Whisky is just one of a very many products they offer including liqueurs, Geneva and rum.

                   

 
 

Photos supplied by and with kind permission from Patrick van Zuidam.

 

 

  Original Distillery Bottlings (OB)

The Zuidam range of whiskies includes Millstone Dutch single malt, French Oak, American Oak and a Dutch Rye whisky.

   

 

 

Millstone, American Oak, 19y, 50.5% ABV

Distilled 25.10.1996, bottled 3.8.2016

Cask No.1375, bottle No.144 of 265

Exclusive bottling for Taiwan

Original cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich dark teak

Nose: Very aromatic and fresh with lots of herbal notes and something akin to oriental spices.

Palate: Initially a very smooth mouth-feel before becoming slightly spicy (tingly) across the palate. I also detect a mellow tropical fruitiness like mango or papaya. There's also a hint of ginger flavour but without the usual 'burn' associated with ginger.

Finish: Very long with that fruitiness.

Overall Impression: This is a different or even unusual whisky with a flavour profile that I don't think I've come across before. It's quite hard for me to describe in words but I do know I really like it.

 

 

 

Millstone, Oloroso Sherry, 17y, 55.5% ABV

Distilled Sept 1998, bottled 5.8.2016

Cask No.2530, bottle No.44 of 203

Exclusive bottling for Taiwan

Original cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Lots of penetrating aromas including furniture polish, aged wood, nuts (hazelnut & almond), marzipan and a faint hint of coffee.

Palate: Lots of peppery tingle as it spreads across the palate with flavours of chocolate, coffee and ginger. Perhaps also toasted chocolate macaroon?

Finish: Extremely long

Overall Impression: A really enjoyable sherry cask whisky but again it has its own unique character which is totally different to a Scottish whisky. I'm even tempted to say it 'feels' to be older than 17y. Delightful.

 

 

 

Millstone, Oloroso Sherry, 19y, 50.1% ABV

Distilled 26.10.1996, bottled 3.8.2016

Cask No.4090, bottle No.144 of 322

Exclusive bottling for Taiwan

Original cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Treacle toffee

Nose: Suggestions of sherry, very rich red wine, cardamom seed or something otherwise asian / oriental.

Palate: This has a very creamy & smooth mouth-feel, it's sweet, has a hint of toasted oak and exotic herbs.

Finish: Long as the sweet palate turns into a dry finish right at the end.

Overall Impression: Another delightful whisky but also hard for me to describe with its unique aromas and flavours.

 

 

 

Millstone, PX Sherry Peated, 3y, 52.56% ABV

Distilled 03.2013, bottled 3.8.2016

Cask No.2627, bottle No.244 of 334

Exclusive bottling for Taiwan

Original cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: Strange, unusual, hard to describe but definitely very young and spirity with suggestions of sherry and something else, but what?

Palate: Definitely better than the nose, it's tingly and penetrating, hint of wine (not sherry), also herbs and spices and semi-sweet.

Finish: Extremely long, too long?

Overall Impression: Once again this is very unusual but different again from the previous three whiskies in that it's young and spirity and for me quite unbalanced.

 

 
 

Summary and Conclusions for the 4-way OB Head-to-Head above:

For the six years from 2011 to 2016 I organised the annual Malt Maniacs' Awards which was constant hard work for 2-3 months each year but great fun. I received whiskies from all over the world and had to share them between our judges who tasted each one blind. Fortunately there was always a little left-over from each bottle which I poured into my own sample bottles to try at some later point. This is a brief explanation of how I came by these four Millstone samples (above) which were entered into MMA 2016.

As you have seen the four whiskies are a 19y US Oak, a 17y Oloroso cask, a 19y Oloroso cask and a 3y PX Peated cask

Firstly I'll clarify that we all have different palates with different tastes and likes, so what I say, whether positive or not so positive is purely my subjective viewpoint.

Let me start with the last one I tried, the 3y PX Peated; I described this as young, spirity and strange or unusual. This wjisky is still very young at just 3 years old and for my taste I believe it could benefit from some more years in the cask. Combine this with the fact that I personally sometimes struggle with the combination of peat and sherry then I think you realise this is not my preferred whisky profile or style.

Now for the good news...

The 19y US Oak is an extremely good whisky offering some delightful notes of herbs, spices, fruit and ginger which I thoroughly enjoyed tasting over a couple of evenings. The two Oloroso bottlings at 17y & 19y were also superb whiskies with similar profiles but including some lovely sherry notes in there too. I detected toasted oak, nuts, coffee, chocolate, wine, herbs, spices and even what I can only ever describe as furniture polish. All notes I love in a good sherry cask whisky. It's also fair to say I struggled a little with these bottlings, that is I struggled to find the right descriptors for what I was experiencing. Millstone whiskies have a profile which I consider unique in my whisky experience so far and totally different to Scottish whiskies or those from any other country I've tried. I really like them and although I don't publish my scores here on my website, I've scored them for what they are and not what they aren't, if you can understand that. Let's just say that I scored the US Oak and the two Oloroso in the high 80's.

In my reviews I've described them as being unique, strange or unusual with spicy or herbal notes sometimes suggesting an Asian or Oriental character but as I retried the whiskies I began to change my mind a little. The more I tried these, especially the Oloroso casks, my thoughts were turned more towards the flavours and aromas of the Caribbean, especially with ginger and other spicy notes. I even began to compare these to good single cask rums which have almost similar profiles.

My thanks and congratulations to the Zuidam family for creating these lovely whiskies and long may you continue to do so.

 

 

 

  Independent Bottlings (IB)

 

   

 

Milroy's Zuidam, Jan 2007 - 14th Sept 2011, 46% ABV

100% Pure Pot Still Rye Whisky

Cask No.448, virgin American Oak, one of 298 bottles

Original cost of this bottle;

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Golden amber

Nose: Is this really a whisky? Yes it is indeed but a very different one as the first notes to hit the nose are those of quite herbal aniseed. This is amazingly different with lots of floral and herbal nuances, yes almost aniseed, maybe candy floss? Then something almost fruity.

Palate: No aniseed here on the palate but everything else herbal and floral transport nicely from the nose in a slightly dry way. That suggested fruitiness now develops into something akin to dates or maybe figs.

Finish: Very long with hints of dates and figs.

Overall Impression: Very different and certainly a good whisky which could be best suited as an alternative Christmas dram or certainly a winter warmer.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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