Millstone 12 Years Review

“A Dutchman with a Scottish Accent”

Country: The Netherlands
Brand: Millstone Sherry Cask
Type: Single Pot Still Malt Whisky 
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 46 %

Colour: Mahogany

Nose: Sweet, Spicy and Waxy, not unlike one of those famous Scottish Whisky Cakes. I find Dried Fruit (Raisins, Plums), Nuts, Black Currants, Malt, Mixed Citrus Peel, Espresso Coffee, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Vanilla, Milk Chocolate, Banana Shake, Cinnamon, Cloves, slightly Sour Apple Vinegar, Relatively New Oak and Dusty Shelves. The Millstone 12 opens up slowly so give it sufficient time in the glass. The Alcohol is not fully integrated. The Millstone 12 Years Sherry Cask has won some medals and I can see why. The Nose is roughly similar to Sherried Speysiders and it's one of the best Non-Scottish Noses I have encountered so far.

Palate: Sweet and Spicy with lots of Orange, Red Grapes, Banana, Raisins, Nuts, light Honey, Caramel, Cinnamon, Pepper and hints of Espresso Coffee and Sherry. 

Finish: Middle-Long, Sweet and Spicy at first but a bit Sour and Bitter after a While. I find Orange, Oak, Wax, Vanilla, Nuts, Cinnamon, Pepper and Clove.

I added a bit of Water and on the Nose you will get Honey and more Malt, Buttered Cake, Black Currants and Berries. Palate and Finish do not benefit from added Water.

Rating: 85

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

New Pot stills at Zuidam (Picture: Zuidam Distillery)

General Remarks: The Zuidam Distillery was founded in 1974 by Fred van Zuidam and his wife Helene and is currently run by their sons Patrick and Gilbert. It is located in Baarle-Nassau on the Dutch-Belgian border and is the only Distillery in The Netherlands that ferments, distills, ages and bottles at its own premises. Next to Malt Whiskies, Zuidam also produces Rye Whisky, Gin, Rum, Genever and Liqueurs. The name Millstone derives from the Windmills that are used by Zuidam to mill the Malted Barley. The Millstone 12 Years I'm tasting today aged in Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks. It was distilled in 1999 and bottled in 2012. On average you will pay 90 US Dollars for this Dutch Single Malt and that's not cheap.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good 

Conclusion: When I compare this 12 Year Sherry Cask to the younger Millstone expressions it goes without saying that the 12 Years wins a lot of Depth and Complexity, especially on the Nose. On the other hand the Oak tends to take control over the Spirit. This is quite clear on the Palate where Orange and Spice are the dominant Flavours. I would like to see a bit more Balance here. The Finish is the slightly weaker part of this Millstone. I could do without the Bitter and Sour elements. But all in all this is a very good effort by Zuidam. In my view they are way ahead of most of the European Whisky Distillers, excluding the United Kingdom. I would not go that far to state that the Millstone 12 Years Sherry Cask is comparable to the likes of Aberlour and company. But I am sure that this Dutch distillery will get there some day!

Jan van den Ende                                                        September 6, 2014

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