On Wednesday, 8 March 2023, the good folks of Weinquelle Lühmann held an exclusive Stauning Whisky masterclass with co-founder Hans Martin Hansgaard and brand ambassador Henning Grubb at their headquarters in Siek. While I could not make it to this very awesome event, I still got a good dose o’ Stauning that week. Cause even though I missed the main event, I was lucky to catch the “encore” two days later. On Friday, 10 March 2023, Henning returned to the North of Germany to host an open tasting at the Weinquelle store in Hamburg. For more than four hours, he treated the shop’s visitors to free sips from no less than eight different Stauning bottles! The selection included core range expressions, limited editions, and single casks alike. Enthusiastically induldiging in some first-class day drinking, I tried all offerings but two – skipping only Kaos (which I know quite well from several dramming sessions in the past) and Smoke (of which I have a full bottle at home).
Though I wanted to focus primarily on drams little known or unknown to me, I still chose an old acquaintance for the kick-off: Stauning’s classic Rye, which is made from 70 per cent rye and 30 per cent barley. With its bright and creamy character, I figured this super-savory drop to be an ideal tongue greaser. Following right up on it, I had the new Rye Sweet Wine. It is essentially the same liquid as the standard Rye, albeit with an extra maturation in three different types of sweet wine casks (Marsala, Gewürztraminer, and Ramandolo). The special treatment, which the spirit got from these vessels, clearly shows in the final product. The pour has a delicately spiced nose, a dry and grain-forward palate, and a peppery and zesty finish. Across all stages of the degustation it is rich with spice mix and orange jelly as well as cookie crumbles, wood shavings, raisins, and brittle. I really enjoyed sipping this limited edition. To me, it constitutes an exciting offering for all drammers, who would like to experience Stauning’s traditional Rye with an all-new twist.
One thing that Stauning’s fans love about the distillery is its readiness to use unusual casks and barrels. There is barely a kind of wood in which Stauning’s top-class Danish whisky has not yet been laid to rest. This eagerness to experiment also brought forth the next two bottlings I tried: Bastard with a mezcal finish and El Classico with a vermouth finish. The former (Bastard) is chocolatey and nutty with lots of green fruits and wet minerals as well as a thin whiff of earthy smoke. Towards the end, this beguiling mix gets freshened up by a splash of lime juice, too. The latter (El Classico) is juicy and fruity with cocoa powder, blackberry jelly, cocktail cherry, and cooked fruit all leading towards a long, weighty finish. Henning called El Classico, which was inspired by and named after the legendary Manhattan cocktail, one of his personal faves, explaining that the whisky’s heavy complexion and unique mouthfeel somehow remind him of a port wine. As the thick liquid swirled and billowed in my mouth, I totally understood what he meant …
I ended my one-hour day drinking session at Weinquelle Lühmann with Stauning’s two new single casks for Germany, released in cooperation with the distillery’s local distributor Kirsch Import. The first (Single Cask #5739) is a 4-year-old single malt whisky with a finish in an orange liquor cask. It got made with a proportion of smoked barley and bottled with an elevated strength of 50 per cent. The second (Single Cask #8400) is a 5-year-old single malt whisky with a finish in a maple cask. It is unpeated and undiluted, clocking in at no less than 57.6 per cent ABV. While I really liked the Orange Liquor Cask’s oily, fiery, and ashy “smoke-forward” style, too, it was the Maple Cask that completely blew me away: Brimming with creamy chocolate, runny caramel, and caramelized nuts, it feels like a liquid Snickers bar to me (on top of which someone has spread a spoonful of golden honey, and besides of which someone has laid out an assortment of yellow fruits)! Before I had to leave to meet a follow-up appointment, I grabbed a bottle of Stauning Single Cask #8400 from the shelf and took it home. Eager to revisit it better soon than late, I popped its cork on the same evening. Stay tuned for a full review of this one-of-a-kind Stauning whisky appearing on these pages soon!
Stauning Rye (Rye / Denmark / NAS / 48% / New American oak / ~60 Euro)
Stauning Rye Sweet Wine (Rye / Denmark / NAS / 46% / Diff. sweet wine casks / ~85 Euro)
Stauning Kaos (Whisky / Denmark / NAS / 46% / Oak casks / ~65 Euro)
Stauning Smoke (Single malt / Denmark / NAS / 47% / Oak casks / ~85 Euro)
Stauning Bastard (Rye / Denmark / NAS / 46.3% / Mezcal finish / ~67 Euro)
Stauning El Classico (Rye / Denmark / NAS / 45.7% / Vermouth finish / ~75 Euro)
Stauning Single Cask #5739 (Single m. / Denmark / 4yo / 50% / Orange liquor finish / ~80 Euro)
Stauning Single Cask #8400 (Single m. / Denmark / 5yo / 57.6% / Maple cask finish / ~96 Euro)
Stauning @ Web: https://stauningwhisky.com/ (Distillery)
Kirsch Whisky @ Web: https://kirschwhisky.de/ (German Importer)
Weinquelle @ Web: https://www.weinquelle.com/ (Host)
I’ve been meaning to try a Stauning for a long time. These all sound great in their own right. As someone who hasn’t tried one, which should I start with?
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From the permanently available releases, I would probably recommend the classic Rye and the Kaos the most as they give a great impression of what Stauning’s alike! El Classico is also utterly amazing – though the vermouth finish makes it quite the peculiarity! If you find any, you can also grab a distillery single cask! Those usually rock, too! I have two open at the moment: a smoky one with a calvados finish and an unsmoky one with a maple syrup finish. They’re both really unique and absolutely awesome!
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