Säntis Malt, Edition Dreifaltigkeit. 52% ABV.
I have been enjoying sampling some single malt whisky from places other than Scotland, the comparisons with Scotch are fun and highly varied. A while back, one of the blogs that I follow mentioned a single malt whisky from Switzerland that sounded very interesting. After doing a bit of looking around, I was able to find a reasonably priced bottle where my curiosity exceeded the concern with shipping costs.
The whisky? Säntis Malt, Edition Dreifaltigkeit. This is a single malt whisky produced by a family-run distillery that is known for brewing beer in Switzerland. The Edition Dreifaltigkeit is a cask-strength single malt whisky, 52% ABV.
This is a very smoky whisky and I have enjoyed reading about the process that brings it’s unique profile. The malt is smoked in three stages; beech, oak and peet smoked. The peat comes from a local moor and the water from Alpstein Mountains. It is aged in very old oak beer casks that have been smoked.
They have been distilling whisky since 1999, producing low volume due to limited availability of the aged beer casks used to age the whisky. It has gained some attention, particularly being named the “European whisky of the year” in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2010.
On the nose, the smoke is prominent. But it is not your peat phenol smoke. The smoke more roasted, charred oak, with a kind of BBQ-like sweetness. After it sets a while, I find minor elements of sweetness, scents of vanilla, and perhaps a bit of glazed ham.
On the palate, it is very smoky, but in a way that is unique from the smoke of a Talisker or an Islay scotch. My first flavor impression, is like slightly burnt BBQ chicken skin. Burnt flavors up front, with a bit of a BBQ sauce sweetness underlying. It has an oily coating mouth feel, perhaps why chicken skin came to mind as the foundation for the burnt flavors. The residual is a bit tarry, akin to the aftertaste of having smoked a cigarette. Adding a drop or two of water cuts a bit of the cask strength, and mellows out the smoke a little. With that, I get more of the smoked ham element now, which I find less aggressive on the palate.
The finish is short, smoky, with some subtle vanilla notes.
Am I happy that I tried this whisky? Yes. It is a very good, well balanced, whisky with a distinctive taste profile. I will enjoy sipping it and sharing with friends with my affinity for appreciating the enjoyable range of whisky available today.
Would I purchase another bottle? Probably not. The decision to not pursue another bottle would be conditioned cost, profile and my curiosity about other awaiting discoveries. While the base cost was reasonable, when you add the shipping costs, you are in the price range of some of the nice 12 year aged single malt scotches. So, I would likely either invest in the next Scotch whisky, or stroll on to the next world single malt whisky that I just have to sample at least once.