A few Saturdays ago I drove a “Tour de A2” from Amsterdam all the way to Maastricht Airport, for a visit to the Mwórveld Distillery. When you have taken the exit to the airport, you will find a viaduct on your left, which leads to a wonder whiskey paradise in the heart of our Dutch “Highlands”. In the middle of a breathtaking natural landscape there is the Moorveldshof, a beautiful square farm from days of old. Home to the Mwórveld Distillery
Every year Dramtable chooses a distillery in the Netherlands to visit with a group of whiskey enthusiasts, for a tour accompanied by a tasting. This year the choice fell on Mwórveld, a distillery whose whiskey was still unknown to me. So when I got the offer from Dramtable to participate I didn’t have to think twice. A visit to the distillery was more than worth the trip over the A2.
A warm welcome
Once I arrived at the monumental Moorveldshof, I was welcomed by Dirk Jan, Larse and Ger. Dirk Jan on behalf of Dramtable, Larse on behalf of Whisky Beleven, and Ger on behalf of the Mwórveld Distillery. Ger is the owner, founder, master distiller and face of the distillery. By the way, I forget the warm welcome from Gizmo, the owl from BeeingNature who also made an appearance.
Soon the driveway of the Moorveldshof filled up with whiskey lovers and we moved to the tasting room, where Ger gave a short introduction about the origins of the Mwórveld Distillery, with special attention to the origin of the name.
Whiskey with an “e”
It was obvious that Mwórveld is the dialect as the Limburgers pronounce the nearby Moorveld, but why do you actually write Mwórveld Whiskey with an ‘e’. Would that also be dialect? Because normally we write whiskey in the Netherlands without ‘e’, don’t we? However, one of the great sources of inspiration for Ger’s whiskey was the Irish style and not only the whiskey style could appeal to him, the country itself also captured his heart. He still likes to go on holiday there and partly because of this preference he chose the Irish spelling: Whiskey!
From the moment Ger started his distillery he wanted to get people involved. From day one, the doors of the Mwórveld Distillery were open to visitors and there was the possibility to get a tour and attend a tasting. Because the first whiskey then needed at least 3 years to mature, he offered whiskeys from other distilleries at these tastings and to this day you can go to Ger for more than just his own whiskey. He provides tastings with whiskeys from all over the world.
Ger has been distilling for about six years now and besides whiskey he makes many other types of drink. For example, plenty of locals visit him to have their fruit distilled, for example. And there is even the possibility to have wine distilled into eau de vie de vin, so if you still have a large supply of wine that will not keep for too long, you can have Ger make a drink from it that will never be used again. perishes. He also makes Vodka, Gin and Jenever.
However, making whiskey remains Ger’s great passion and it is therefore his goal to eventually be able to release about 3000 bottles per year. For the time being, however, he sticks to batches, from about 600 to 800 bottles per release. The whiskeys are bottled at 49% and are not cold filtered and are not colored. Five releases have now been released, but the 6th is already on its way and just before it was bottled we were able to take a taste at the subsequent tasting and I can tell you that the 6th has really become a beautiful expression!
Before we started tasting, however, we naturally went to take a look at the distillery itself. To get there we walked through the old farm, where the barrels of whiskey are already maturing for the next editions. For example, we saw that Ger uses ex-bourbon barrels from the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Outside ex-bourbon barrels, however, there was much more to see, because Ger clearly has a penchant for experimenting with barrels. For example, you can find ex-sherry and ex-stout barrels, but also red wine and port barrels that come from winemakers in their own region!
Taste and Experience
Taste and experience are paramount in everything Ger makes. This is reflected in the production method, because Ger slowly distills his whiskeys so that he gets as much flavor as possible in the distillate. But also in terms of policy, whiskey is made to drink and that is why even Ger himself no longer has a stock of his previous releases. Whiskey has to be opened and it has to be finished, because it is made to be enjoyed.
Time to taste
Talk about enjoying! After the tour it was time for a tasting and, as Ger often does, it was combined with a few other whiskeys. Or should I say whiskeys! Because Dirk Jan had brought some beautiful Irish Whiskeys to taste. Given Ger’s love for Ireland and its national drink, this was of course a perfect fit.
Dirk Jan first donated the Maple Mayhem from Blacks Distillery for us and then the Dingle Single Malt. Two wonderful drams that I have described before on this blog (see this article). But what came next was also new to me. We got to taste two samples from Mwórveld Distillery, knowing The Fifth and therefore that exclusive taster of The Sixth.
All expressions from Mwórveld Distillery are uncoloured, not cold filtered and bottled at 49% with no Age Statement.
Mwórveld The Fifth
An exceptionally spicy nose with a focus on vanilla welcomes me as I approach my glass. There is plenty of fennel, as well as fern, cinnamon and a thin layer of moss. But behind those spicy and vegetal notes I also find the influence of the sherry. Hidden behind the initial notes of this whiskey I find dates, raisins and dried cranberries.
On the palette, this dram is much sweeter than I would have expected based on the nose. Strawberry jam and honey are very dominant. A light hint of powdered sugar is also present and all this is accompanied by a nice kick of white pepper. The raisins change from sultanas on the nose to white raisins here on the palette. And in terms of sweetness, it kind of reminds me of a sauternes dessert wine.
The finish lasts relatively long and the flavors linger with an undulating intensity. Every now and then the pepper rears its head again and then another layer of the strawberry jam emerges. Towards the end of the finish, the strawberry note changes more to a pear, which reminds me somewhat of a pear ice cream. Certainly not a bad note to end on.
A pleasant and accessible dram whiskey, with more than enough complexity to also appeal to the enthusiast. I sometimes missed some cohesion between the different flavors and certainly on the nose I sometimes found the contrast just a bit too great. That said, I am very impressed with the complexity of flavors in a (relatively) young whiskey. This is an expression that I would have liked to have tasted with a little more age and it certainly makes me very excited to try Ger whiskeys more often in the future.
Mwórveld The Sixth
The contrast with The Fifth is immense on the nose. The first note that strikes me is cheese! A combination of aged Gouda cheese and some brie to be precise. These are scents you don’t often find in whiskey and that’s something I really appreciate from a young distillery. The cheese is complimented by a layer of mango chutney and a healthy slice of fig bread. I also notice a small amount of sulfur, comparable to a freshly lit match. All in all a great nose, an experience in itself!
Again I find much more sweetness here than I expected. The strawberry jam returns and forms a nice link to the previous dram. But that’s where the comparison ends. The flavors here are much better balanced and compliment each other beautifully. There is homemade syrup, date, star anise, honey drop and a little bit of bay leaf in this dram. However, the way in which these flavors alternate is what impresses me the most. Mellow, that’s how I would like to describe it. As if you are on a babbling river that slowly takes you along the flavors. There is also a light pepper present, but that note remains very friendly and mild.
The aftertaste is less intense than with The Fifth and doesn’t linger as long. It forms a beautiful decrescendo of flavors present, without really continuing to evolve. The finish is the only point where I would rate The Fifth above The Sixth, but that said… the palette of The Sixth was so intensely good that I am only too happy to savor the flavors this finish has to offer.
I have rarely been so impressed by a young whiskey as I was here today. With the funky cheese notes on the nose as the absolute highlight, what an intensely cool experience to be able to get those kinds of scents out of the nose of this whiskey. The palette was complex and balanced and just plain good. The aftertaste is the only point that I might have liked a bit more intense, but that’s also just because I want to be able to enjoy this dram for as long as possible.