Not too long ago, my friend Aaron, who runs the very recommendable Drams United blog, visited the first Festival of German Whisky at Burg Scharfenstein in Thuringia. One of his most talked-about discoveries was a dram I did not know about before, namely Fading Hill Whisky made at Birkenhof Distillery. Given the fact that the brand celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, it is a bit surprising that I had never heard of it. Well, better late than never. And thanks to Aaron, I could even go one step further: During our last meeting, he handed me his almost finished bottle of Fading Hill German Single Malt Whisky with about 4 to 5cl left. This gave me the chance to try the much-lauded spirit myself and form an own opinion. My verdict without further ado: This is a great malt with a classy character, a pleasant mouth feel, and a high degree of complexity. For the latter, I think, we can thank (at least in part) the elaborate cask formula. Besides classic ex-Bourbon barrels it also includes virgin oak vessels and ex-Madeira casks. Another strong plus: The bottle looks really stylish and cool! This makes Fading Hill German Single Malt Whisky a stunner not only regarding its scent and taste, but also concerning its looks. At 55 Euro, the 0.7 liter bottle is pretty decently priced, too. So go and get it – you’ll be amazed!
Eye: Red-golden apple juice.
Nose: A light and easy mix of fruits goes first (red apple, sweet raspberry, soft peach). It is underpinned by a potpourri of grasses and flowers dried by the high summer sun. Also, there’s maple syrup, vanilla pudding and – somewhat contrasting – very dark chocolate sauce.
Palate: In the mouth, the 5 years old whisky presents itself lean, elegant, and leveled. Yet it is also creamy and full-bodied. Fruit-wise, I now get lots of pear and grape. The afore-mentioned dry notes are no longer as present here as they were before. Their place is taken by pistachio mousse, walnut crumble, nougat creme, and salted bar mix – brightened up by citrus spritz and pomelo peel.
Finish: The voluminous aftertaste centers around darker flavors such as brandied cherry, raisin cake, blood orange juice, and dark choc topping. The brighter fruits from the previous stages of the degustation still pierce through from time to time, too. Liquid caramel adds another layer; as does fresh mint leaf.
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 5 years old
Alc. volume: 46 per cent
Cask: ex-Bourbon, Virgin oak, Moscatel
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price: 55.00 Euro
More info: https://www.birkenhof-brennerei.de/ (Distillery)
*** I got the started bottle for free from Aaron from the Drams United blog. Thank you. ***