Initially, I discovered Mosgaard Whisky at an open tasting in Hamburg in October 2019. Since the virtuosically crafted spirit left me deeply impressed, my event wrap-up here on BarleyMania turned out correspondingly enthusiastic; as did the review of Mosgaard Oloroso Cask that I did at a later point. This seems to have delighted the creator of the stunning drop, Jes, quite a bit. Cause in the correspondence we had afterwards, he told me that I would “be welcome at the distillery whenever I had the chance”. About two-and-a-half years later, in July 2022, I finally followed up on that offer. I asked Jes if my wife Dini and I could come over to see the place from up close. Luckily, his reply came swift and was affirmative. And thus the destinatation of our next whisky trip was fixed: We would drive up north and pay Mosgaard Distillery on the Danish island of Funen a visit …
Having spent the night before at Dini’s parents’ place in Heide/Holstein, we only had about 300 kilometers ahead of us. The trip was easy and relaxed with no drawbacks or slowdowns except for a bit of stop and go at the border checkpoint – it was holiday season after all. When we arrived on site in the early afternoon, Jes was still busy serving some guests that had made themselves cozy on the sun-lit terrace before the distillery’s spacious shop and cafe. A few minutes later, he greeted us heartily and took us straight into the next room, where the production equipment was placed. There, he showed us in detail how his beautiful Danish single malt whisky comes to be.
One of Mosgaard’s most striking characteristics is the fact that it is made from organic ingredients only. Naturally, this has a strong impact on the way Jes runs his distillery and creates his product. In the past, for example, it meant that he could only buy his malted barley from one major supplier in Denmark. As of this year, however, he gets it from a local source closeby. The variety is a new one that is similar to the tradition-rich Oddyssey strain. For the mashing, Jes uses the top-quality water available on the isle; and for the fermentation, he adds a secret sort of yeast. The barley beer – which in Mosgaard’s case is citrusy and cider-like – is given at least one full week to develop; this is more than twice as long as the majority of Scottish distilleries let their yeasts work. According to Jes, this is an essential step in the production process. Among others, an unhurried fermentation promotes a phenomenon called esterification, which instills especially bright and flavorsome fruit notes in the liquid. And the beautiful fruitiness is something that Mosgaard’s whisky is especially known and loved for!
Following up on the fermentation, the next step is the distillation. Jes double-distills his spirit on hand-made copper stills from Portugal, whose shape and design he conceived himself. In doing so, he drew on his 25-year experience as an acoustics engineer. “In many regards,” Jes explained, “alcohol vapors act the same way as sound waves. So I could base my simulations for the stills on the knowledge I had gained in my former profession.” What already looked promising in theory, performed even better in practise. “When I finally put the stills to work, I was really impressed by the results,” Jes told us not without pride.
From the still room, we moved through the on-site bottling room into the first of two warehouses that currently stand on the distillery premises (a third might be under construction soon). Like all other phases of the whisky making process, cask maturation is a pretty elaborate subject at Mosgaard, too. “The fruit notes in our whisky are very fragile,” Jes pointed out. “A long maturation would break them apart. To prevent this, we put most of our spirit into custom-made 50 litre casks for the initial three to four years. Afterwards, we marry several of these small quarter casks in bigger vessels.” The result is a lean, elegant, and sophisticated Danish single malt whisky that is very fruity, very smooth, and very complex – a super spirit in every aspect; and one that can hold its ground in the face of any international competition!
Of course, we did not only hear about Mosgaard Whisky that day. We also got to try it for ourselves. In the storage rooms, Jes poured us two generously measured drams straight from the cask. The first was a one-year-old sample of peated spirit matured in a virgin Hungarian oak quarter cask; the second was a four-year-old sample of unpeated whisky matured in a Madeira barrel. They were both absolute stunners! The same goes out to the three expressions that Jes had selected for us in the culminating tasting: Mosgaard Madeira Single Cask, Mosgaard Cask Experiment Series No 2, and Mosgaard Black Peat. For brevity reasons, I will not describe them all in detail here. However, what I will tell you is this: Dini and I enjoyed the drams so much that we bought full bottles of the Madeira and Cask Experiment ones right after we tried them. We would have chosen Black Peat, too, but that one was already sold out. Thankfully, Jes slipped the started tasting bottle into the box with our purchases as well. So there is a good chance you will be reading more about this penomenal offering from Mosgaard Distillery on BarleyMania soon. Till then: Thanks for reading and “Skal”!
Name: Mosgaard Distillery
Type: Whisky distillery
Address: Tanghavevej 43 ; 5883 Oure ; Denmark
Opening hours: Monday to Friday: 10.00-16.00 ; Saturday and Sunday: 10.00-14.00
More info: https://mosgaardwhisky.dk/ (Website)
*** Jes kindly took the time to give me
a private tour of the distillery. ***