I’ve been singing the praises of Thy Distillery, in part because of their beechwood-smoked single malt. All the while I’d been sitting on a sample of another alternatively smoked whisky, the Kyrö Wood Smoke Rye Whisky.
As someone who mostly drinks Scotch malt whisky, it probably took me too long to realise peat isn’t the be-all and end-all. Especially since I’m not even that big a fan of heavily-peated whiskies. Recently I’ve been exploring smoky whiskies of a different kind. I’ve written a long article for the latest issue of Whisky Magazine. And I’ve liked what I’ve tasted so far.
There are many distilleries around the world pioneering new fuel sources to dry their grains, including different types of wood, nettles, and even sheep dung. They’ve been doing so out of a desire to capture regional flavours, distinguishing themselves by adding a local character to their whiskies.
As the story goes, the Kyrö Wood Smoke Rye Whisky is inspired by the oldest type of Finnish sauna – the smoke sauna. The malted rye is smoked in a 100-year-old “riihi” barn using alder wood. Then the whisky matured in a combination of French oak, virgin American oak and ex-bourbon casks.
Kyrö Wood Smoke Rye Whisky (47.2%, OB, 2021)
Nose: It’s very earthy, dark, and mysterious almost. The rye is very prominent, while the alder smoke lingers in the background. Hints of resin, some spruce, milk chocolate, gentle floral notes, and damp oak. Touches of caramel too. Taste: Toasted rye bread with fennel seeds, meringue, and almonds, alongside a touch of mocha and nougat. There’s some Demerara sugar too, while the alder smoke is hard to detect, although there’s certainly a definitive campfire, damp wood type of influence. Finish: Medium length. A surprising appearance of blue cheese. Don’t ask me how. I like it, so no issues there. Somewhat herbacious too.
Kyrö Wood Smoke is the kind of adventurous whisky that delights me to no end. I'm not going to pretend it is super high-end whisky, but it is really good and different and daring. What more could I ask for?