Seven at a stroke

On the way to single malt whisky: our "The Spirit of St. Kilian" series

Good things come to those who wait: Our first whisky Signature Edition "One" has now left the barrels after three years of maturation. Three years in which we have experimented, creatively blended and tasted our way to mature the best barrels and ingredients to our single malt whisky. A waiting period that applies to all whiskies. Is it possible to shorten it in terms of taste? Of course! For this we created our series "The Spirit of St. Kilian": not yet three years old, but all the more exciting for it.

"The Spirit of St. Kilian

For this, we took the spirit out of the casks after 8 to 27 months. The result is a cask-aged spirit that perfectly demonstrates the future flavour diversity of our whisky. For this reason, our distillate was matured in different casks from the very beginning. And we? We were able to see how the spirit behaves in very different casks, what effects the woods have on later cask combinations and, most importantly, how the taste is received by our fans. We have created a complex and surprising path to our first single malt whisky. And you can follow and experience it again here in an overview.

Batch 1 - matured in Garrison Brothers American Quarter Cask

For 18 months we let our Batch 1 mature, for which we combined the best from all whisky cultures: Pilsener brewing malt from Weyermann in Germany and special yeast from Scotland. We distilled in our two 6,000-litre copper stills from the traditional Scottish manufacturer Forsyths. As far as the choice of barrels is concerned, we were looking for a very special bourbon for the first in the series "The Spirit of St. Kilian". We found it in the USA, more precisely in a Texas craft distillery. Dan Garrison, senior boss of Garrison Brothers Distillers, gave us some of his American Quarter Casks. The first edition of our "Spirit of St. Kilian" matured in these 50 to 55 litre former bourbon whisky casks. The special feature: The malt spirit matures two to three times faster in these small casks than in standard barrels with a capacity of 200 litres. Thus, our first bottling of the "Spirit of St. Kilian" was already comparable to a three to five year old NAS whisky. We selected only six barrels for our first Spirit, so that there was still enough left for our very first whisky. The result: an intensely fruity-sweet and complex spirit that we distilled in April 2016. It was sold out within a very short time. And we? Highly motivated to continue.

Batch 2 - matured in three different oak barrels

Our Master Distiller Mario Rudolf selected new, unoccupied 190-liter casks for the second batch. Made from American white oak and European oak, they gave Batch 2 a powerful sweetness and spicy notes. From three of our casks, we bottled an amber-colored spirit with a mild, sweet flavor of honey, herbs and fruit after 15 months of aging in 2016. Our original Scottish equipment was put to full use: our pot stills are complemented by a so-called "reflux condenser". Built by Forsyths only extremely rarely, this is a cooling coil in the Lyne Arm. In other words, the pipe at the top of the still. All vapors that condense at the end of the lyne arm before reaching the condenser flow back into the still and are redistilled. This reflux, also called "reflux," has a critical impact on our spirits. For example, a strong reflux made for a smoother New Make - as we used for "The Spirit of St. Kilian".

Batch 3 - our fruitiest spirit

We travelled to the Caribbean for our third bottling: Batch 3 matured in former rum casks from Jamaica. Originally, these barrels made of American white oak had a capacity of 190 litres. We made small 30-litre barrels out of them in elaborate manual work. In them, our distillate matured about three times as fast and, after just eight months, was able to compete in complexity with spirits from large barrels that had been stored for years. The reason for this is the small volume in relation to the surface area in the barrel. This means that the contact of the spirit with the wood intensifies in small barrels. We filled three such ex-rum casks for the third edition of the Spirit of St. Kilian. The result? A summery-fresh spirit that smells of sweet Caribbean fruits and exudes light-mild oak notes on the palate - and was sold out in no time.

Batch 4 - now peat comes into play

With "The Peat Marriage" - our fourth batch - the name said it all: We produced a smoky barrel-aged malt spirit for the first time. This matured for at least 16 months in seven different oak casks. Does that remind you of whiskies from the island of Islay? That's intentional. However, we have of course given the drop our own signature. To do so, we filled two former whisky casks from an Islay distillery with our non-smoky, mildly fruity, award-winning White Dog. To create Batch 4 - a smoky and at the same time fruity-malty spirit - we relied on two different "flavor sources" and blended them into our "The Peat Marriage": For this, we distilled non-smoky malt into our White Dog on the one hand. Second, we distilled malt dried over a peat fire to create our Turf Dog. The smoky Turf Dog was then aged in a Virgin Oak cask - a 190-liter barrel made of American white oak. This type of cask infused the spirit with strong wood and spice notes. Secondly, Turf Dog was aged in four former small bourbon casks from the Texas-based Garrison Brothers Distillery. Since the spirit matured faster in the 55-liter quarter casks than in the large ones, we obtained harmonious whiskey flavors of vanilla, honey, and marzipan - coupled with concentrated peat notes - in a comparatively short time.

Batch 5 - Late summer in a glass

Stored for more than 27 months in former Italian Amarone wine barrels, our Batch 5 tastes of fruity plums, fresh country apples and a hint of marzipan. We distilled our spirit in April 2016. The Amarone barrels in which Batch 5 was stored came from Claudio Lenotti in the northern Italian wine region of Valpolicella. We share the same philosophy of quality with him. And what is special about the Amarone? Because the grapes are dried for several months after harvesting, they lose up to half their weight and thus develop an incredible concentration of sugar and flavor. What we were able to bottle in the spring three years ago was therefore a delicious blend of fruit, red wine notes and marzipan in the glass, reminiscent of balmy late summer evenings.

Batch 6 - strong smoke meets fine sweetness

Under the motto "Bourbon meets Sauternes", we bottled Batch 6 of our "Spirit of St. Kilian". It was stored for at least 21 months in three different oak barrels. As the name of the bottling suggests, the underlying cask combination is ex-bourbon casks from the USA and French Sauternes white wine casks. The foundation of the malt spirit is our award-winning Turf Dog. But for this creation, we added another (peat) notch: For our second bottling with a strong peat note, we used our "Turf Beast" for the first time - a spirit made from heavily peated Highland malt with a smoke content of 92 ppm. To create a broader spectrum of aromas, the peaty portions were matured in different American bourbon casks: three classic ex-bourbon barrels from Kentucky with 195-liter capacities and a 55-liter quarter cask from Garrison Brothers. The latter tickle even stronger vanilla and honey notes out of the spirit. The 225-liter Sauternes white wine casks, in turn, lent Batch 6 fruity-sweet aromas that perfectly complement the peaty basic character of our spirit.

Batch 7 - by fans for fans

Batch 7 we have christened "Lucky Seven". Because: The bottling is a joint creation with lucky fans who were once allowed to be Master Distiller. In collaboration with five St. Kilian friends, Master Distiller Mario Rudolf and Patrick "Pat" Hock selected a combination of bourbon, sherry and virgin oak casks. The result was a rather complex malt spirit with fruity, full-bodied aromas of ripe apples and sweet vanilla, butterscotch and spicy oak. The selected American bourbon barrels provided the flavorful basis. They gave the spirit typical notes of vanilla and butterscotch. The sherry casks from Spain provided ripe fruit aromas with impressions of raisins and cocoa. The spicy wood notes came from the Virgin Oak Casks made from fresh American white oak. In a nutshell, our Batch 7 is a pleasantly fruity-spicy spirit with a lot of character.

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