Being crazy about whisky is a super-fun hobby that won’t get boring anytime soon. No matter how many drams you have sipped or how many distilleries you have seen, there will always be a ton of new stuff for you to unearth and explore. My latest whisky discovery is Trolden Distillery from Kolding in Denmark. If you had mentioned that name to me a few weeks ago, I would have shrugged my shoulders unknowningly. If you would mention it to me know, my eyes would light up and I would say: “These guys rock! And they make some great malts, too!”
Originally, Trolden started out as a micro-brewery making craft beer. Later – in 2011 to be precise – the team began to produce whisky and other spirits (gin, rum, etc.) as well. Over the years, they gradually increased their volume: Whereas they only filled two barrels of whisky in their first year of operation, they are now able to add a bigger number of casks to their on-site warehouse year after year. Compared to the industry’s “big boys”, however, their outturn remains miniscule; and thus they proudly refer to themselves as “One of the smallest distilleries in the world” on the tubes and labels of their whiskies. At Trolden, where every work step is still done the old-school way by hand, quantity is insignificant; quality is what counts!
My wife Dini and I got these and other insights into Trolden’s history and philosophy from founder Michael Svendsen. When we visited the distillery on a bright and warm afternoon in September, he was happy to give us a spontaneous mini-tour around the premises. This was especially awesome because we had not arranged anything in advance. We just stopped by there and rang the bell on chance. After Michael had unlocked the door, I asked him “Excuse me, are you guys open?”, to which he replied “Well, now we are. Would you like to take a look around?” I guess, I do not have to spell out my answer to this kind offer …
Even though Trolden’s beers and spirits have always been made in Kolding, the distillery has only recently moved to its current whereabouts. For most of its existence, it resided in an old industry complex in the city center. According to Michael, everything was pretty narrow and crowded inside the old facilities, leaving not much space for further development. So at one point, the decision was made that Trolden had to move! The new destination: A spacious, custom-build production complex a few kilometers north of town. In October 2019, the first spadeful of earth was turned. About half a year later, the construction work was finished. And the result is nothing short of terrific!
Trolden’s new distillery and brewery are both located in one large-sized building that harbors the following sections: a grand tasting room with its own bar, a small gift shop, a storage and packaging area, a back office including a wee meeting room, and – most importantly – an open production space where both the beer and the whisky come to be. Behind the main building, there is also a warehouse granting rest to the differing casks that Michael and his team have filled over the years. And then there is one more thing that we unfortunately missed during our 45-minute visit: the beehive, where Trolden’s busiest employees produce some really tasty honey. “We’re a small craft distillery,” Michael said jokingly, “Yet, we have over 120,000 staff working for us.”
After we had seen almost all parts of Trolden Distillery, Dini and I were super-curious to taste the whisky produced there. And I think Michael was pretty eager to show us his creations, too. So he took us to the bar and poured us four different drams: Trolden New Make (unpeated), Trolden Nimbus No. 6, Trolden Nimbus No. 7, and Trolden Nimbus Cumulus II (drawn from an ex-mead cask). Since I still had to drive a few kilometers to our next destination, I could only take a small sip of each. While this was not enough to produce in-depth tasting notes, it certainly sufficed to convince me of Trolden’s craft and quality. The company’s whisky is very well made, matured, and composed. It offers a good amount of complexity as well as lots of really nice aromas and flavors (most noticeably nuts, cereals, garden fruits, and baked goods)! I am really looking forward to grow more familiar with Trolden’s spirit. So I think I will soon open my newly bought bottle of Trolden Nimbus No. 7 and enjoy a generously filled glass at home. Skål!
Name: Trolden Destillery
Type: Whisky distillery & micro brewery
Address: Trolden Bryghus ApS ; Nordager 15 ; 6000 Kolding ; Denmark
Opening hours: By arrangement
More info: https://www.trolden.com/ (Website)
*** When I stopped by at the distillery, I was spontaneous shown around by the owner. ***