“This feels like celebrating my birthday … only better!” – Tasting host and whisky expert Gearoid O’Callaghan had a big smile on his face, when he poured me a dram of Odds & Evens Batch 01 last night. For obvious reasons, this new small batch release is extra-close to cheerful Irishman’s heart. After all, its the first-ever whisky that Gearoid and his partner-in-crime, Nienke Oostra of Filosoof Jenever, produced all by themselves.
Around three to four years ago, they started planning and realizing this endeavor with utmost attention to detail: They conceived their own mash bill (50% malted barley, 10% smoked wheat, 40% unmalted rye). They obtained the grains and other ingredients from carefully selected sources. They brewed the barley beer in Hamburg, Germany. They double-distilled it at Wagging Finger Distillery in Deventer, The Netherlands. They put the new make into top-quality casks (bought, among others, from Kings County Distillery in the US). And then they let it rest, just briefly disturbing the spirit’s slumber now and then to take a wee sample. Recently, after a bit more than three years of maturation, Gearoid and Nienke considered their first fully matured whisky ready for bottling. The ex-Bourbon blood tub, in which it slept, gave birth to 75 bottles only. At yesterday’s launch party at Bar Oorlam in Hamburg, they presented Odds & Evens Batch 01 to the public, serving it neat or mixed and also selling full bottles at 69.69 Euro a piece. The event was a great success with lots of good-humored folks showing up and enjoying the lively, palatable, and complex whisky to the fullest!
To get a good impression of Odds & Evens Batch 01, I ordered two 3cl drams plus an Old Fashioned (cheekily called Odd Fashioned). Right from the very first sniff, this one-of-a-kind craft whisky totally won me over as its fan! It presented itself embracing and approachable, but also head-strong and distinct. During the degustation, the spirit showed an impressive amount of depth and variety, with each component in the recipe making a noticeable contribution of its own: I found Odds & Evens Batch 01 to have the elegance of a single malt, the sweetness of a grain, the spiciness of a rye, and the drinkability of a bourbon. Based on my neat sips only, of course, here are my tasting notes: The nose is creamy, chewy and crunchy with popcorn, muffin, fudge, hazelnut, and candy apple. Also brown banana and milk-soaked cereal. Probably coming from the Kings County cask, there are some bourbon-y smells, too. They take the form of modelling clay and honey pickle. On the tongue, Odds & Evens’ debut bottling appears fresh and bright. At this stage, the liquid becomes sweeter, fruitier, and spicier all together. The most prominent flavors I discovered were mirabelle jam, lemon pepper, spearmint gum, orange jelly, caramel sauce, and spring wood. Also, the palate has a good, tickling rye kick! The half-long aftertaste is grassy and peppery as well as nutty and chocolatey. Furthermore, it offers sweet notes of toffee, honey, and raisin.
If you ask me, Gearoid and Nienke did everything right here. They made a whisky that is fun to drink, that offers a lot, and shows how well-developed a dram can be after just three years – given the fact that it has been created with knowledge, skill, wit, and care. I am very happy that I took one of the rare bottles home; as did many others of the guests. Since the release party was still in full swing when I left around 9.30 p.m., I do not know if Odds & Evens Batch 01 is still available for purchase. So if my words made you curious, you are well advised to reach out to Gearoid and Nienke better soon than late. Maybe, you can still take a bottle off their hands. Otherwise, you might have to wait until next year or the year after, when the two whisky makers deem their second cask to be ready for bottling at a slightly higher age than the first.
Odds & Evens Batch 01 (Triple Grain Whisky / NL / Bourbon Blood Tub / 50.3% / EUR 70)
Odd Fashioned (Cocktail / O&E Whisky, Demerara, Bitters, Orange / EUR 10)
Flip Flop Don’t Stop (Cocktail / O&E Whisky, PX, All Spice, Demerara, Fl. Porter, Egg / EUR 10)
Odds & Evens @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Odds-Evens-100787708062746/ (Whisky)
Filosoof Jenever @Web: http://filosoofjenever.nl/ (Nienke)
The Whisky Jack @ Web: http://www.thewhiskyjack.com/ (Gearoid)
Bar Oorlam @ Web: https://www.oorlam.de/index.php (Location)
*** I visited the event as a regular guest. ***
Sounds like a great evening and interesting drinks!
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It absolutely was! Making Odds & Evens is a real matter of the heart for Gearoid and Nienke. And you can clearly see that in all they do! They were wonderful hosts and rightfully very proud of their first-ever whisky release!
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