It’s not often non-Scotch whisky is released as an independent bottling. Berry Bros & Rudd forayed into the Nordics last year, and there are some other examples as well. If you’re looking for an independently bottled Dutch whisky, you’re up for a challenge. There’s a good chance you’ll end up with something from Zuidam, such as vintage 1999 bottled at 19-years-old by Adelphi.
If you’re not familiar with Zuidam (pronounced Suydam), there’s a larger likelihood that you’ve come across Millstone. It is the brand name for all whiskies produced at this distillery in the south of the Netherlands. It’s actually so far south that it is only a couple of meters away from the Belgian border.
Actually, Zuidam is located in Baarle-Nassau, a very curious town because of its massively complicated borderline. This was only highlighted further during the pandemic, when different regulations applied to shops literally adjacent to each other, simply because one was in the Netherlands and the other in Belgium. Some shops had the impossible task of navigating both Belgian AND Dutch regulations, because their building was partly located in each country.
Nose: A sweet chocolate-y arrival, yet with a tart quality, followed by rose petals, more chocolate and cherry bonbons, as well as some cardamom and blackcurrants. There’s a touch of vanilla custard, walnuts and burlap too, accompanied by mushrooms, pralines and raisins. Excellent stuff. Taste: Thick, oily mouthfeel with a subtle spicy arrival, as well as some crushed mint leaves, but highlighted by sweet cherries, fermented grapes and walnuts, as well as figs, milk chocolate and honey. Finally some charred oak and savouriness. Finish: A pinch of salt, even more chocolate and crème de cassis.
Not your average whisky, but a really awesome one. I would say the cask does most of the heavy lifting for this Zuidam 1999 19 Years from Adelphi, but without any overt oak-y notes. The mouthfeel is almost liqueur-ish in a way, while there's enough savoury notes to offset any sweetness.