Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No 2 Merak

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:
Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No 2 Merak
Single malt 

Near perfect  
Best served:
American, French and Spanish oak 
Youthful and vibrant yet oak rich, oily barley, peat, vanillas, dried fruit, maritime salt, caramels, citrus, sweet winy notes, fresh ginger, spice, cigar smoke, tobacco, leather
Tasting notes:
The Swedes are not known for their culinary skills. From Surströmming (which is basically rotted herring) to blodsoppa (blood soup, which says it all), the Swedes have a traditional palate of peculiar taste and this began to erode my faith in anything delicious, apart from Rekorderlig cider of course (and according to my girlfriend, Alexander Skarsgard), coming out of Sweden. Spirit of Hven’s Seven Stars (No 1) Dubhe provided some shimmers of hope, because it was a very enjoyable whisky with spice and peat carried by a slightly young spirit. Then a sample of Seven Stars (No 2), the sequel to this story, arrived at my door. Wow! Odin himself could not have crafted a better whisky, and as for the rest of the world, well, take note, the Vikings are back… but this time the skirmishes will involve some finely crafted whisky and perhaps a smattering of aquavit to help us with the boredom from vodka (sorry vodka makers, but you know it’s true).
The Spirit of Hven Seven Stars Merak (No 2) is the second release in the “Seven Stars” series. It is named after the star Merak in the asterism Ursa Major and people in the northern hemisphere will know it as one of the pointer stars in the Big Dipper (or “The Plough” in England) which is an asterism of seven stars. The whisky itself is matured in American, French and Spanish oak and blended from only 25 casks.
The balance and complexity of the Merak (No 2) is delightful – oily barley is interlaced with wisps of peat that underpin a harmonious fusion of American, French and Spanish Oak. The bouquet offers sweet vanillas, toasted oak and caramels from the American oak that merge nicely with the more silky tannins, roasted almond, licorice, musty cloves and floral jasmine from the French oak as the Spanish oak adds a mysterious twist that melds all the flavours to make them work together, emitting herbaceous notes (hints of rosemary, oregano) that shift and change as sure as Loki changed his shape. On the palate that barley is beautiful, creamy and oily, and it gently shines beneath notes of peat, dried fruit, orange citrus peel, sweet winy notes, peppercorns, fresh ginger, salted caramel and coastal rock salt that all emerge almost instantaneously with hints of cigar smoke, tobacco and leather developing at mid-palate, but in a fascinating turn the pepper and peat intensify as the salt takes on more maritime character and then fades into an ashy finish with overtones of vanilla fudge and almond cake with a tiny bit of red fruit jam. This is a superstar world whisky that showcases supreme balance, complexity, freshness, youth, oak influence and the creative twist of a small artisan distillery from Sweden – the barley is oily, the distillation cuts are clean, the oak types work together beautifully, the blending is superb and, in my opinion, the strategic use of the casks, peat or both has infused the whisky with salt and coastal character. This is how you make great whisky and it is unquestionably one of the finest world whiskies to be tasted on Malt Mileage.
Complex, creative, balanced, enjoyable, interesting 

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