Review: Teerenpeli PyyGin and Kaski Single Malt Whisky
You’ll find Teerenpeli Brewery and Distillery in the south of Finland — making this our first foray into the spirits of the Finns. Established as a brewery in 2002, the operation has grown dramatically in recent years, with the distillery arm opening in 2015. Teerenpeli distills using copper pot stills and matures its whiskies in a variety of oak casks (sherry, bourbon, Port, and rum — all of different sizes) for a minimum of three years (which is the law in Finland). Products are currently being imported into the U.S. by Anthem Imports.
Today we’re looking at two spirits from Teerenpeli, including its new gin and one of the five whiskies it produces year-round. As they say in this country to the north, kippis!
Teerenpeli PyyGin – One word. Distilled from grain neutral spirits and made with 10 different botanicals, including juniper berries, birch leaves, lingonberry (a Scandi favorite), and hops. It’s a boldly juniper-forward gin, the nose big with evergreen notes along with notes of forest floor/wet earth, bay leaf, matchstick heads, and black pepper. On the palate, the juniper continues to dominate, though here it’s tempered by a strong licorice character (another beloved Scandinavian flavor), plus notes of orange peel, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. The finish feels muddy, a complex and slightly off-balanced blend of all of the above — and more difficult to pair with other ingredients than it needs to be. 90 proof. B / $48
Teerenpeli Kaski Single Malt Whisky – Single malt, aged in 100% sherry casks, with no age statement. A smoky character is immediately evident on the nose, with the woody-resiny-citrusy sherry influence clearly underneath that. The smoke is curious — not at all peaty, but more like a brush fire. I was reminded immediately of rauchbier, with all its malty underpinnings. The palate keeps things fairly close to the nose, though it’s immediately sweeter than expected, with a smoky barbecue sauce note dominating, plus an intense, nutty sherry character that primarily recalls the Pedro Ximenez style. All of this melds together surprisingly well, particularly with a bit of time in glass, culminating in a finish that is rich with hazelnuts, baking spice, and flamed citrus peel — with just a hint of smoke lingering on the conclusion. Entirely unique, and surprisingly enjoyable. 86 proof. A- / $90