Whisky Advocate

Guest Review: World Whisky – The Netherlands

November 9th, 2010

Whisky making is no longer restricted to the old countries of Scotland, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, and Japan. These days, it seems as if every country in the world has a whisky distillery or two hidden away. Dave Broom’s new book, The World Atlas of Whisky, takes a look at this phenomenon examining the question of how the new distillers create a flavor which is authentically their own. Here are some of his top picks from the ‘New World’ of whisky.

(I’ll be traveling all week on business. While I am away, I thought we could focus on various countries each day for the rest of the week. Dave’s reviews will also appear in the next issue of Malt Advocate.)

To quote Dave: “The scores reflect all these whiskies in their own context — as young spirits from different countries with their own individual personalities.”

Millstone 8 year old, 43%, £59
Based in the village of Baarle-Nassau in the Netherlands, the Zuidam distillery was built by genever distiller Fred Van Zuidam in 2002 and is now run by his son Patrick, who started distilling at the age of 14. His single malt is made from windmill-ground barley, given temperature-controlled fermentation, distilled in Holstein stills, and aged in new oak for a period before being racked into older casks. A rich amber color, this expression is ripe and fruity with plenty of red cherry, a little hint of fig, and a little sweet spice. Balanced and rich with a fresh citric farewell this is a classy arrival on the world scene. (Dave Broom)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 87

Zuidam Dutch Rye 5 year old, 40%, £46
Patrick van Zuidam uses rye as part of his genever, but when a farmer phoned up saying he had a surplus, he figured he might as well try a 100% rye whisky. Of similarly deep hue to the 8 year old, but a little more ruddy, this has a more waxy aroma, but with fresh rye sourdough penetrating. The spiciness which typifies rye here has a North African edge: cumin, cinnamon, coriander seed. The palate is less explosive and dusty than American examples; this is more of a slow-burning fuse that passes through orange and smooth, sweet oak before the spices return. (Dave Broom)

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 86

7 Responses to “Guest Review: World Whisky – The Netherlands”

  1. I might have to try that Zuidam 8yo again… I was never too fond of the 5yo, which was the first release. The rye, I can only agree whole heartedly with this review. The finish is a tad short, but the nose and taste are fantastic!

    Too bad the price is incredibly high outside of NL, I think this could be a hit!

  2. bgulien says:

    There are more whisky distillers in the Netherlands. Frysk Hynder: A beer brewer who tried his hand at whisky making, and successfully. And in The Hague there is a museum distillery Van Kleef, which occasionally distills a small batch of whisky.
    I have one on the shelves. A 5 yo which is pretty good.
    Later this year they will release 1 (yes 1) cask of 8 yo.
    I will be waiting.

  3. Marco Nijholt says:

    I live in Friesland where they distill the Frysk Hynder whisky, I have tried it a couple of weeks ago.
    It is quite good for such a young malt, only there is to much tannin. It almost soured my throat.

    But the idea is great, only – just like Sjoerd pointed out – the whisky from the Netherlands is equally priced as the Scotch whisky. This withholds me from buying the – to young – stuff.

  4. George Jetson says:

    There is also now the peated variety of Millstone 5yo. I like the little edge it gives to the somewhat uninspiring regular whisky. It is not an over the top smoky bite, but just a little wisp on the tail end of the drink. It reminds me a little of the Glenfiddich Caoran, just not as intense. The Millstone distillery is no hobby operation or Johan-come-lately and this is a quality product.

  5. Red_Arremer says:

    Is this the same Zuidam Distillery that makes Zuidam Gin– because that’s possibly the best basic gin I’ve ever had.

    • bgulien says:

      Red, They make a lot of drinks. Gin and the Dutch equivalent Genever, all sorts of fruit brandies and liqueur’s for mixing cocktails.
      It is a big independent distiller in the Netherlands

    • bgulien says:

      Out of curiosity I bought a bottle of Zuidam Gin and you are very right.
      This is a very good Gin.
      The circle is round now: The Dutch introduced Genever to the British, when a Dutch king ascended the throne in the England and brought Genever to the isles.
      The Brits expanded the Genever into the drink known as Gin nowadays.
      Now a Dutch distillery produces a very good Gin, with a hint of Genever, and is on par with the best of the UK gins.
      Thanks for pointing it out to me.
      Thus ended the history lesson ;-)

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