So, time for number two of the three Swedes this week, and this blog post is dedicated to Gotland Whisky’s latest bottling, Isle of Lime Svaide, which was named after a location on this Swedish island. Just like previous bottling this too is a shareholder’s edition, and 2017’s dividend ended up in about 4700 bottles. If you’re curious about my thoughts on the predecessor you’ll find my review here. Gotland whisky has, in addition to, some good news for everyone who isn’t a shareholder: the distillery aims at releasing an edition for the public later during the end of the summer this year, and then around 12 000 bottles. More info about the what/when/how (and how much…) will hopefully be shared later this year!
General facts: The whisky is made from organic barley and has been matured in both ex-bourbon casks and American virgin oak casks, 96 litres and 200 litres. Two of the cask were filled already in 2012, have previously held peated Laphroaig whisky and are therefore second fill casks. The American virgin oak casks are charred in various degrees and if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details and numbers you’ll find them here. Age-wise the youngest cask is just over three years old and the oldest slightly more than four years old, so even if the whisky isn’t exactly anywhere near retirement it’s still fairly quickly bottled by Gotland Whisky, considering they distilled their first drops of liquor in 2012. The whisky is neither chill-filtered nor colour enhanced, and has an ABV of 47%. If you want to read up on the details, including the whisky’s favourite colour and hobbies, just click here.
Colour: Dark golden
Nose: Tangy peat, kind of like peat smoke together with Turkish yoghurt in a sense. Then a slight rubbery note arrives, followed by preserved plums and some cherry marmalade. It’s sort of fresh on the nose but a bit more rowdy than I had expected. There is something here that reminds me of plum wine perhaps, or rather dessert wine? Well, something sweet-and-sour and vinous, in any case. Something about the nose is a bit… odd, in lack of a better word, but I hope that the taste is something else. With water unripe gooseberries appears, which is pleasant, and perhaps some pear-flavoured popsicles.
Taste: A powerful first impression with a lot of sweet peat smoke. Kind of like smoked rum raisins. The dessert wine note is also noticeable in the taste, together with a fair amount of spicy bread flavoured with wort (a Swedish thing) and some milk chocolate. This is really interesting, and by far better than the nose! The taste is also a bit odd but in a way that appeals to me. I added some water and whisky just died, however, and I didn’t even add that much water. It just goes kind of flat. After adding some more whisky again it comes back alive again, but not all the way, and what is left is best described as peated wort bread. The vinous note and fruitiness disappears and instead some leather comes forward.
Finish: The aftertaste actually sticks around for a while, with some wet leather, cigar smoke and dark chocolate. With water the finish dies pretty quickly, and becomes a bit stale.
I usually don’t say this but do not add water to this whisky, there’s nothing to gain from that at all. It’s rowdy, all over the place and slightly in your face, and in addition to this best enjoyed straight. Balanced? Nope. Completely ready? Well, not really but it is tasty already. This is a whisky I want to discuss and figure out, but probably not close to Isle of Lime’s future core range, if I’m allowed to speculate. Or I’m wrong and they’ll aim for “rowdy but well-made”, what do I know? I can imagine people disagreeing over this whisky, but I find it promising and exciting.