For many a Swedish whisky nerd the last days have meant quite a deal, since the lucky ones owning shares in the distillery company Gotland Whisky now have recieved their ordering codes for some much longed for drops. Like Harry Potter’s first visit to Gringott’s bank they who have recived their bottles have held the bottle on an arms length and meticiusly eyed it (and hopefully opened it too!) before putting it on the shelf. In a at times somewhat confusing ping pong game the other Swedish distilleries have released one hyped bottling after another, been seen at numerous whisky fairs and held tastings and many whisky societies all over the country. Gotland Whisky has bided their time and is finally entering the game – big time. After getting the ball rolling in 2012 they’re now releasing their first bottling by the name of Shareholders Edition, and this is the whisky I have dug into!
Isle of Lime Shareholders Edition, 47%
General: This is a three-year-old peated whisky which has been matured on a few different cask types: “bourbon barrel”, “American oak heavy toast” and “American oak char”. We’re talking about quite some influence from bourbon- and virgin oak casks with different amount of charred insides as well as different volume capacities (96 + 200 liter), in order to influence the spirit in different ways. The whisky has neither been coloured nor chill-filtered and is made of ecological, local barley which also is locally malted. The water used is taken from a local source and the casks are stored locally under ground.
Colour: dark golden
Nose: The first thing that springs to mind is actually not smoke, but more delicate notes with a fair share of almond and flowers such as Lily of the Valley. The undefined spices and menthol sweps by, only to transform into a surprising “cognacs-like” note together with some peaty smoke. There is some honeyed sweetness here, but above all a pretty cocky first impression, rich but with some freshness. Sure, there is a “spirity” note here as well but it soon transforms into grapefruit en masse! After a few drops of water green apples, vanilla and a vague cinnamon note emerges.
Taste: Wow, quirky! A whole lot of saltiness and oiled wood, coffee, really dark ale (stout?), some berried notes (kind of like blueberries or cherries?) and a substantial bit of peat as a constant reminder in the background. Unbalanced, maybe a tad immature and just enough saucy like any other precocious puberty-ridden teenager – but it definitely makes you go for seconds. With water the whisky becomes more peaty and smoky, the saltiness is subdued and a certain leatheriness appears. The whisky also becomes less sprawly and keeps it together more.
Finish: Salty again for sure, some cloves, a little bit more honey but the saltiness dominates the whole experience. A puff of smoke at the end. With water there is a feeling of sweet licorice as well. Apart from that not only the body of the whisky but also the aftertaste is less salty but perhaps also less interesting.
Isle of Lime is for sure something exciting to keep an eye on and does without a doubt deserve its place on the Swedish whisky shelf. I prefered it untamed and unpolished, but the I’ve always had a soft spot for hearty, cocky flavours. Is it a finished product? So and so, I would say. A few more years would do the trick, in my humble opinion. Is it enjoyable? Very much so! While I continue sipping this Messy Marvin I dream away about ten years into the future, where a slightly older signature whisky from Gotland whisky is available in the Swedish monopoly stores – and in my own whisky cabinet.