Fary Lochan is a distillery located in Denmark, a beautiful country that first caught my attention many years ago when Peter Schmeichel guarded the goals of Manchester United and the Danish national team. Then came the fairy-tale wedding that captured the hearts and minds of all Australians – the marriage of a Prince of Denmark to an Australian we now affectionately call Princess Mary. Denmark is therefore known for producing magic, so let’s see whether Fary Lochan can live up to (my) expectations.
Fary Lochan is delightfully a small batch operation. The expression tasted by Malt Mileage is from batch #1, bottle number 361/555 and cask 2010-02 which was filled on 16 April 2010 and bottled on 14 September 2013. This tells me a few things about the whisky. Firstly, it is a single cask and therefore its character is quite unique, because no cask is exactly the same as the oak in each cask is different and imparts different flavours into the whisky. Second, it is a whisky that has matured for just over 3 years. This seems to follow a trend in European whisky to release whisky after it has been in oak for three years, because only after three years maturation can a whisky legally be called “whisky”. There are some obvious problems with this strategy. While whisky in warmer climates (Australia, Taiwan etc) may mature more quickly because oak pores expand when warm and thereby allow more interaction with whisky within oak barrels, countries such as Denmark (or Sweden, Norway, Germany etc) have quite cool climates. This means that whisky from European countries with cooler climates cannot be expected to mature as quickly as whisky from warmer climates. There is a risk, therefore, that such whisky can taste raw and underdone and I have tasted numerous European whiskies that simply taste immature. Fary Lochan appears to represent the evolution of European whisky into something that tastes “ready”, young, bright and yet very different to Scotch, Irish, Australian or even Taiwanese whisky. It tastes like European whisky.
Fary Lochan smells and tastes distinctly Danish, and it projects a flavour profile that can only be described as lollyshop with red and black jelly beans, resinous honeyed wood, lemon peel sponge, oily barley and hints of maple with floral hues of rose, lavender and a slightly peppery, zesty, finish with anise seed, walnut loaf, raisin, mocha and intensifying wood notes that morph into lingering bittersweet mandarin peel. It is perhaps one of the best European single malts we have tasted on Malt Mileage, keeping company with Spirit of Hven No 2 (a Swedish whisky). It is youthful, but the distiller appears to have carefully selected the cuts to make sure the whisky is clean, sweet, pure and light enough to mature the way it has in three years.