To make sure they are well-prepared for their next big online tasting on 26 May 2023, the Danish craft distillers from Thy Whisky held an awesome full rehearsal on 13 March 2023: a virtual warehouse tasting with six exclusive cask samples! As one of twenty lucky guests, I took part in the 2.5-hour event, which was smoothly and accessibly conducted via Google Meet. The hosts to guide us through the evening were the distillery’s smart and knowledgeable co-founders Jakob Stjernholm and Andreas Poulsen; and the drams to stimulate, please, and challenge our tastebuds were half a dozen cask samples from 2019 and 2020. As Jakob and Andreas pointed out, these years marked a turning point in the history of Thy Whisky, which had the first drop of spirit trickle out of its stills in 2010. Ultimately, all of the distillery team’s previous activities lead up to this “new dawn”, as one might call it: they defined their goals and set their course, they refined their skills, they cultivated their formulas and operations, they grew their network, they built their new production facilities. And in 2019 they finally started making the organic, single estate Danish whisky that many of us ever-curious drammers value and love so much!
In accordance with its DNA as a farm distillery, Thy Whisky works with lots of different varieties of home-grown barley and other grains. From these, the distillery team produces not one but several types of new makes (some of which are unsmoked and some of which are beechwood-smoked). To grant the crops the spot in the limelight, Thy Whisky does deliberately not use exotic casks all too often. Instead, most of the distillery’s output is laid to rest in classic wood types like ex-Bourbon, ex-PX or Oloroso, or New Oak. While the wealth of differing styles and orientations, which Thy Whisky produces under one roof, makes it difficult to identify a clear distillery character, Jakob and Andreas named the following as the common denominator of (most of) their bottlings: “Our distillation process aims to bring the grainy and malty flavors to the front. We make organic whiskies that have sturdy bodies and raw, earthy grain notes.”
The six-piece line-up of the virtual warehouse tasting showcased the diversity of Thy Whisky’s work very well. Our kick-off dram, Cask 269+279, was comparatively soft and easy-going with delicate fruit notes and some kind of a coastal feel. Many guests considered it to be a great starter. Yet, they also agreed that this vatting from an ex-Bourbon barrel and an ex-Bourbon quarter cask would still need to spend some more time in the warehouse before it had reached its peak.
Next up were two unsoked PX maturations that felt completely different from each other: Cask 410 had a classic profile that I would best describe as “fun fair meets grandma’s kitchen”. In the gooey, syrupy liquid I found lots of caramelized almonds and cotton candy on the one hand, and heaps of strawberry marmalade and plum jam on the other. In the final poll, I picked this one as my personal fave of the evening. As opposed to its predecessor, Cask 292 came across a lot more experimental and off-beat. According to Jakob and Andreas, this is mostly due to the Kara malt used in the dram’s recipe. When I sniffed and sipped Cask 292 – which ended up taking home the “Audience’s Choice” award, by the way – I felt like I was on a high-speed rollercoaster ride through a spice factory … and beyond! The dry and dusty dram was filled to the brim with spices, herbs, cereals, and grasses. Furthermore, I sensed orange peel, cold brew, juniper, wood shavings, and even some goat cheese with cowberry compote. A crazy mix, for sure. But a really good one, too!
The fourth whisky in the line-up was even more funky! Made from barley, oat, rye, spelt, wheat, and emmer, this all-over-the-place drop could best be nicknamed a “full harvest grain”. After all, it contained a proportion of pretty much every crop grown on the Thy Whisky estate! In regard to its smell and taste, Cask 376+408 was sweet, fresh, crisp, full, and wild all together. Among others, its was rich with honey, toffee, bourbon, cough candy, lime juice, herbs, and – quite peculiar – damp cellar walls. As a fan of grain whiskies on the one hand and unusual flavor profiles on the other, I could not help but enjoy Thy Whisky’s uncomparable “full harvest grain” a lot!
Towards the end, the smoke came out! Both dram number five (Cask 294+295) and dram number six (Cask 43+44) were beechwood-smoked and sherry-matured. The former came of age in a vessel that previously held PX, the latter in one that was filled with Oloroso. Cask 294+295 surprised me with an immense fuminess. At times, it almost felt as if I was not holding a nosing glass filled with whisky, but a marmalade jar that someone had used as an ashtray! Besides thick, meaty fruits and heavy, billowing smoke, this powerful smokebomb was also rich with all sorts of sweet, fresh, and mineral notes. Plus a woody, drying finish. Cask 43+44 emphasized on bright fruits (apples and gooseberries), aromatic zest (lemon peel), crumbly pastry (shortbread), sweet spread (apricot jelly), and BBQ puff (grilled artichoke). As with the very first dram we had that night (Cask 269+279), I sensed some kind of a maritime feel here, too (chalk, shell, plank). One particular note in the very long aftertaste even reminded me of squid rings drenched in lots of lemon juice. That was, no doubt, a pretty awesome sensation to end one helluva tasting on!
Thy Cask 269+279 (Single Malt / Denmark / 59.3% / Unsmokeed / ex-Bourbon)
Thy Cask 410 (Single Malt / Denmark /60.5% / Unsmoked / PX cask)
Thy Cask 292 (Single Malt / Denmark / 61.3% / Unsmoked / PX cask)
Thy Cask 376+408 (Grain Whisky / Denmark / 59.3% / Unsmoked / New oak casks)
Thy Cask 394+395 (Single Malt / Denmark / 60.4% / Smoked / PX cask)
Thy Cask 43+44 (Single Malt / Denmark / 58.7% / Smoked / Oloroso cask)
Thy @ Web: https://thy-whisky.dk/ (Distillery)
Thy Whisky Society Deutschland @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1586712081782521 (Community)
Alle Vögel Fliegen Hoch @ Web: https://allevoegelfliegenhoch.de/ (PR Agency)