If Swiss Whisky sounds about as plausible as Indian beef soup, you’re in for a surprise: there are around twenty distilleries scattered around Switzerland.
Säntis Whisky from the small village of Apenzell was even named European Whisky of the year in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2010. The signature flavor profile of Säntis comes from ageing it in their brewery's Beer barrels that are between 70 and 140 years old.
The connection between Beer and Whisky seems to be particularly strong in Switzerland; another Swiss Whisky distillery worth knowing is Langatun that has also doubled as a brewery since its 19th century beginnings.
Other notable Swiss Whisky names include: Holle, Switzerland's first Whisky, first distilled in 1999, Rugenbräu that even has a Whisky expression that's aged on top of the Jungfrau, Johnett, and Lakeland.
Last but not least, the Swiss do their Whisky the Scotch way; they spell it Whisky and it must be aged for at least three years.
Ageing refers to the process of a Whisky getting older. Maturation is the length of time Whisky spends in the barrel, interacting with the wood and taking on its flavors.
Whisky vs. Barrel
When Whisky first comes off the still is completely colourless. The drink gets 100% of its colour and about 60-70% of its flavor from the barrel it is aged in.
Whisky vs. Wood
Oak is the preferred wood for aging Whisky. A lighter coloured Whisky will generally have spent time in an American oak barrel while a darker Whisky generally means it’s been aged in a European oak barrel.
Until 1999, Swiss law prohibited the use of staple foods such as grains and potatoes to be used for the purpose of distilling.Luckily, they gave the silly law up.
Jim Murray named Säntis Cask Strength Peated Whisky the European Whisky of the Year in The Whisky Bible 2010!
The Swiss love of Whisky can be attested to the import numbers of some 1.9 million liters per year.
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Visit Swiss Whisky Distilleries
We pulled some strings and made it possible for you to see the backstage of certain distilleries, getting the VIP treatment & that is about enough of text.