Whisky a Day interviews the winner of Germany’s Best Whisky 2014 for Stuttgart’s Die Neue 107.7 radio station? How the hell did this come about??!
After leaving the shores of Scotland behind a few days prior, I thought I would have a chance for my liver to dry out as I visited my very good friends Steve and Julia who live in Germany. I thought that surely there won’t be much whisky in Germany, and given I tasted so many drams in Scotland and got a little ahead of schedule I’ll be able to take my foot off the gas a little bit. Steve however had other plans…
Steve is one of my closest mates, we met when we were both university exchange students in Sweden back in our early 20s. Originally hailing from England, he now lives in Germany with his lovely wife Julia who is German. Surprisingly, he has picked up German so well that he now hosts his own radio show on one of Stuttgart’s biggest radio stations, Die Neue 107.7.
In the week leading up to my visit, Steve asked his listeners to suggest where he could take his Australian friend who is a “whisky expert” (his words, not mine) to try some German whisky. Firstly, I’m no expert – I just happen to consume a lot of whisky! And secondly, I had almost zero knowledge of the German whisky scene, so it was a surprise to me when he’d organised for us to visit Finch Whisky Distillery.
But this wasn’t just an ordinary tour – Whisky a Day would be coming to interview Hans-Gerhard Fink, head distiller and owner of Finch Whiskies, to record a segment for Steve’s radio show. Not just any distillery, but winner of Germany’s Best Whisky 2014 at the Whisky Guide Deutchland Whisky Award the previous weekend.
Audio below: Whisky a Day and Stuttgart’s DIE NEUE 107.7 radio station visit Finch Whisky Distillery in Nellingen, winners of 2014 Best German Whisky.
Single grain whisky, aged in white wine barriques and ex bourbon casks. Has some creamy, citrusy aromas – a bit of lemon. On the palate there’s honey flavours, a little biscuity with a touch of passionfruit. Very nice – a great opening whisky.
Audio below: Whisky a Day tasting Finch Whisky.
Whisky #333: Finch Schwäbischer Highland Whisky Single Malt. Nellingen, Germany. ABV: 42%. Tasted at Finch Whisky Distillery.
This is the one that took out the award for Germany’s Best Whisky 2014 at the Whisky Guide Deutchland Whisky Awards. Extra matured in an ex sherry cask, giving it a brassy gold colour. It’s delicious, really full-flavoured and rich; the fruity sherry influence shines through and lingers for a long time on the palate. I like this one a lot better than the Distiller’s Edition I tried to begin, it’s a real step up.
Whisky #334: Finch Schwäbischer Highland Whisky Barrel Proof Single Malt. Nellingen, Germany. ABV: 54%. Tasted at Finch Whisky Distillery.
I actually think that this Barrel Proof expression is the pick of the bunch – in my opinion it surpasses the Black Label Single Malt that was awarded Germany’s Best Whisky. Rich and chewy, it’s absolute magic, wow! There’s some Christmas pudding flavours, lots of mixed spice. As a barrel proof release, there is a bit of heat initially when you first taste it, but that slowly fades…it’s then a long gentle fade that makes you warm inside. It reminds me quite a lot of Limeburners whisky from Western Australia, there are similarities to some of their cask strength whiskies that have been aged in ex Australian fortified casks. Quite similar flavours to the Limeburners M138 or Limeburners M90. Golden syrup on hot buttered toast, with a long, luscious finish – absolutely magic.
Overall comments: It shouldn’t really surprise that the Germans make good whisky, afterall they make some of the world’s best beer and the initial stages of producing both beverages share similarities. I was impressed by the quality of the Barrel Proof malt in particular. On the basis of this visit, I will have to seek out some more German whisky to try. Congratulations to Herr Fink and the guys at Finch Whisky, many thanks for showing me around your impressive little distillery.