Nowadays high-quality whiskies are made all over the world, but especially Rye whiskies are traditionally seen as products from Canada and the United States. They always had some Dutch and German influence in them though, as it was usually settlers from those two countries who brought the Rye grains with them to farm on the other side of the pond. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that the Dutch turned out to be excellent producers of Rye whiskies as well. In fact currently the best Rye in the World (according to the World Whiskies Awards) is this Millstone 100 Rye, from Zuidam Distillers.
Zuidam has been making excellent Rye whiskies for years now and it’s good to see them rewarded with such a prestious award. What sets this whisky apart from the competion is that it’s made entirely from rye. Whereas it’s Canadian and American counterparts usually only contain a (high) percentage of rye. Aside from being 100% Rye the distillers at Zuidam took that magic number a bit further by also ageing it for 100 months and bottling it at a 100 proof (50% ABV). On the bottle you’ll find a couple more facts that they do at 100% for this bottling (such as being entirely pot distilled), but I think by now you get the idea why this offering is called the 100 Rye!
Tasting Notes: Millstone – 100 Rye
ABV: 50% (100 Proof)
Age: 100 Months
Cask: New American Oak
Category: Dutch Single Rye Whisky
Natural Colour: Yes
On the nose it’s immediately recognisable as a Rye whisky. With plenty of herbal notes waiting for you in the glass. There’s fennel, kardemom, nutmeg, liqourice root and cloves. But for those that are used to American Rye’s, what you’ll find missing is a sweeter counterpart. There’s a little bit of apple and vanilla in there as well. But it’s the herbal qualities that are the clear standout here.
That sweetness is immediately there on the palate though. A luscious layer of honey seems to cover this entire dram and rounds everything off beautifully. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of herbal spice in this dram. But because of the contrast between nose and palate your attention is immediately pulled towards that honey. There’s a little bit of red pepper as well and there’s an umami note that I can’t quite put my fingers on. It adds to the complexity of the dram though and thus far the palate proves a real standout for this dram!
The finish has a medium length. With some of the herbal qualities lingering together with that honey note I found earlier. The herbal note turns to star anise and laurel leaf, while the honey becomes quite delicate and floral. I would have happily had a bit more intensity to the finish of this dram. But the complexity is still there and it’s without a doubt a flavour profile to cherish for a while.
This is the best Rye in the World right now, at least according to the World Whiskies Awards. And I don’t fault them for that reasoning. This is a truly interesting and unique product and it’s amazing that Zuidam managed to make a 100% Rye whisky with as much complexity as this, without it becoming overwhelmingly “spicy”. Spicy in the sense of spices and not in the sense of “heat” to be clear. The backstory behind Rye and the story behind this particular bottling (producing everything at a 100) makes for a whisky with a story that is meant to be shared. And since whisky and sharing goes hand in hand I felt this Dutch Rye Whisky made for an excellent addition to my Explorers Pack!