The global expansion in whisky production due to the boom in demand has brought us some real gems, such as Kavalan out of Taiwan, Amrut Fusion from India, and even the weirdness that is Santis from Switzerland. Part of the joy I get from writing about whisky is the opportunity to try new and different whiskies frequently. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t go as well.
As part of a Flaviar sample pack (Ryevolution), I tasted a sample of Verso rye whisky from the Kyrö Distillery Company in Finland that was collected from bottle in April of 2015. This is a 100% malted rye whisky aged for only four months in very small new American white oak casks and bottled at 46.5% ABV. The distillery, which makes several products all from rye grain, began distilling in 2014 in a refurbished cheese factory.
That makes it kind of a speed-aged rye white dog. A new gem on the world whisky scene? Note that this is bottled in 500ml (0.5L) bottles, and does not appear to be available in the US. The best pricing info I can find puts it at around $56 for 500ml, which makes it a whopping $75+ if sold in the US in standard 750ml bottles. Yikes.
Nose: Very gin-y. Strong, unappealing genever notes of heavily malted rye, juniper, Pine-Sol cleaner, and moonshine. It seems the heart cut on this was very wide, and picked up a lot of soapy, piney, medicinal notes. Reminds me a lot of Anchor Spirits Genevieve, a malty gin in the genever style.
Palate: Thin body. Bright and tart, with gingersnap cookies, lemon peel, a malty sweetness, and an unfortunate reprise of the gin notes from the aroma. Still, the palate is much better balanced and much tastier than the aroma promised.
Finish: Medium-long. Candied ginger, cinnamon taffy, black pepper. Not bitter, and thankfully not reminiscent of gin.
With Water: Water, if anything, accentuates the gin notes. Skip it.
Overall: Not my cup of tea. The aroma grabs me by the nose and screams “GIN”, and not nice, clean, crisp London dry gin either, but the soapy bathtub-style malty gin sold today as genever. Luckily, the palate and especially the finish redeem it, with a tasty balance of sweet spiced baked goods and a nice ginger note. A rollercoaster, but not one I’d pay to ride again. Especially not at those prices.