This is something that does not walk onto your door every day. To be frank, I hadn’t event looked up before if they do make Swiss whisky or not – so this was a very bright flash from the dark blue sky.
What is known about the Rugen Distillery? On July 1st in the year of 1999 the laws in Switzerland changed so that it made possible to produce whisky in those mountain valleys. the first Swiss whisky came out 2003 under the name “Mountain Highland” – and it was a single cask. I suppose, it was JUST the cask that appeared on the first year. The production went on in small quantities, until 2008 they produced their first Swiss Highland Single Malt. Rugen Distillery was opened 2011, and they now do their magic in the shadow of one Rugen mountain (and under one roof). They do have a long history with brewing beer, since they’ve been doing it over 100 years already.
What about this dram then? The facts are that it is at least three years old (NAS), it is distilled gently in two steps and it is tamed down to drinkable percentage (43%). The interesting fact is also that the maturation happens in select oak barrels, that are resting in Rugen bedrock cellars which date back to year 1875.
The color is very similar to Scottish Highlanders and Belgian Own Whisky: amber.
The nose is my favorite part: sweet, honey, balanced, floral notes and some vanilla. Not bad, not bad at all.
The palate is also very sweet. But after the while you can pick up Swiss chocolate and not that Swiss coffee from it rather easily. As time passes, the fire begins to burn hotter but it still remains sweet. Just add a bits of oil and the result is a enjoyable one.
At my first tasting, I was drinking the freshly opened “neck” out of this bottle. It’s nose was good, but the palate had not that much taste in it. So I do recommend to try this again after a few days, in case you need to start a fresh bottle in a tasting. Or give it a lots of air before tasting it.
It is apparent, that the whisky is young – very young – but it is ok, especially if you are looking for something Highlandish and without any smoke. This is sweet, and would work nicely as a after dessert dram too. I hope they plan to mature their whisky a longer time in those casks, just to see how this one evolves.