Box 2012 Quercus II – Alba (High Coast)
Back when Box was stilled called Box and hadn’t yet changed it name to High Coast Distillery, they released the Box 2012 Quercus II – Alba. Thank god this Swedish craft distillery still upholds the same philosophy. Not many producers provide their level of transparancy. Here’s a little summary of some the information regarding this release published on their website.
- 100 % unpeated whisky which is first matured in 130 liter bourbon barrels for 5,1 years and 200 liter bourbon barrels for 3 and 4,1 years, then finished for 0,83 to 2,7 years in 40 and 96 liter casks of new American oak, Quercus alba.
- Yeast: Fermentis Safwhisky M-1
- Unpeated malt: Pilsner malt from Vikingmalt in Halmstad.
- Barely types: Rosalina, Scarlett, Quench, Tipple
- Process water: From Bålsjön, filtered through sand and carbon filters
- 200 liter Bourbon barrels (Quercus Alba), delivered empty direct from Kentucky and 130 liter (1st fill quarter casks) crafted at Speyside Cooperage.
- The 40 liter (Ankare) casks of Quercus Alba are crafted by Thorslundkagge in Sweden. 96 liters casks of Quercus alba are crafted by Kelvin Cooperage and have a toasting grade level #3.
And there’s much, much more information. In an ideal world, all distilleries would be this thorough. However, the proof of the pudding… So, let’s taste, shall we?
Box 2012 Quercus II – Alba (50.8%, High Coast, 2018)
Nose: Extremely sweet with notes of marzipan, coconut water and cinnamon. A slim amount of rye bread, but also pine needles, resin and honey. Finally some jammy fruits and rose water.
Taste: The cask influence is prominent again, but it doesn’t derail the overall organoleptic experience. Lots of honey and jammy red fruits, but also vanilla, marzipan, marshmallow and tinned pineapple. Pretty rich overall.
Finish: Short to medium. Lingering sweetness.
A (partial) new oak maturation that (in my opinion) works. Most of these lack balance, and while this sometimes ventures on the edge, I think it works for the most part and offers a good, balanced flavours.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.