The ABC’s of Spirits: D for Danish Whisky
D for Danish Whisky
On September 1st, the Spirikum in Copenhagen took place, the first festival of aquavit (distilled) and snaps (macerated) of its kind, a sign of the revival of traditional Danish craftsmanship. Even Mikkeller, the most trend-setting brewer in the Andersen region, offers a small range under his brand, which is extended to vodka and gin of course: without the latter, not enough volume to make a distillery profitable… Moreover, if you travel there via the airport of the Danish capital, don’t miss visiting the new site of the Copenhagen distillery, less than 10 minutes by car: from a small alchemist and gastronomic facility, it has just expanded to become a true multi-purpose distillery, certainly but increasingly oriented towards whisky with a Müller still. And that’s probably where a groundswell arises in Denmark.
Indeed, August 25, 2018 marked a turning point in the history of Danish spirits: Stauning, the first whisky distillery in the country founded in 2005, with its famous exclusive barrel for the restaurant Noma, inaugurated its new production site. Four large malting areas for barley and rye, two kilns for turning with the possible use of local peat, and no less than 24 2000-litre Iberian pot stills. Traditional and high-tech at the same time, the building has been designed to show each step of the production process in complete transparency, an exceptional experience in a most successful architecture. First installed in a former butcher’s shop, the nine founders were able to persevere, expand and seduce whisky lovers so much so that the world leader in the category, Diageo, invested nearly 15 million euros in 2015 and the support of all its teams; even their Abercrombie boilermaking had to build its first Iberian stills to replicate the original stills.
And this may be a symptomatic sign of the revival of whisky: beyond the industrial research for efficiency, the best processability and the best yield that has marked the minds of the technical teams of major groups in recent decades, in order to meet exponential demand, this project is proof that a synthesis with craftsmanship is feasible to produce very high quality spirits on a large scale. Other Danish producers are also becoming more and more noticed, such as Braunstein and Mosgaard. What if Danish whisky becomes the new Japanese whisky?
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.