Millstone 1996 19 Years Old (Special No. 9)
This being a whisky blog from The Netherlands, it is an absolute disgrace I’ve never reviewed a whisky from Zuidam Distillery. So I thought I’d try to make up for that by reviewing what I believe to be the best Dutch whisky ever made.
Zuidam Distillery is a family run company, based in the south of The Netherlands, near the Belgian border. It was founded in 1975 by Fred van Zuidam and his wife Hélène. They focused on distilling liqueurs and genever. Nowadays the company is run by brothers Patrick and Gilbert, with the former being the head distiller, while the latter is responsible for the commercial side of the operation.
Millstone is the brandname of their whisky. It wasn’t until 1996 that Zuidam distilled its first whisky, an effort led by Patrick van Zuidam, who is a true whisky enthusiast. The casks filled in 1996 are basically part of an experiment, so it’ll be especially interesting to taste this Millstone 1996 19 Years Old, since there aren’t too many of these old casks of Millstone lying around.
While this particular Millstone has matured in an oloroso sherry butt, Zuidam has lots of different expressions, including an awesome Rye Whisky. Since I have an open bottle of that at home, I’ll be sure to review it soon. But for now, let’s focus on one of the oldest ever Millstone whiskies in existence.
Millstone 1996 19 Years Old (49,4%, OB ‘Special No. 9’)
Nose: We’ve got an abundance of leather here, but also some aniseed, licorice and chalk. Plenty of dried fruits as well, with sultanas, figs and dates, as well as some oranges and cardamom. Finally some gently smoked paprika powder, followed by salty soy sauce. Very meaty and savory now. I kinda love this!
Taste: Classic, creamy sherry influence. Cherry syrup, fermented grapes. Fairly sweet, but interestingly salty as well, like a beef stock. This is quite different and unique. There’s leather, menthol and tobacco leaves, as well as some mild spices (cloves, cracked black pepper).
Finish: Soy, sweet sherry and spices. Long.
I know some other casks of Millstone 1996 have been bottled for Taiwan, so one of those might be of similar or even better quality. Otherwise, I’m confident to proclaim this as the best ever Dutch whisky.
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.