Price: $US85 (USA)
Reisetbauer is a distillery in Austria that produces brandy and whisky. In 1995 Reisetbauer started distilling malt whisky that was designed to be (and is) distinctly Austrian. The barley used to make the wash is grown on the distillery owner’s four hectares of land and once the wash is distilled the new make spirit is matured in Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks sourced exclusively from Austrian vineyards and used by Austrian winemakers Alois Kracher and Heinz Velich. Just in case you are wondering how on Earth to pronounce Trockenbeerenauslese, it is TROCK-en-BEHR-en-OWS-lay-zeh.
Reisetbauer’s use of Austrian Chardonnay and Trockenbeerenauslese casks to mature their whisky is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by whisky aged in the bourbon casks, sherry casks or port casks. Wine casks are certainly becoming increasingly popular for ageing or finishing whisky, but the use of Trockenbeerenauslese casks by Reisetbauer is something particularly special. This is because Trockenbeerenauslese is a notoriously expensive dessert wine that is made from grapes that, once affected by a form of fungus known as “noble rot”, are individually selected and handpicked one by one. Shriveled and raisin-like from the “noble rot”, the grapes produce a wine with an intensely sweet and rich flavour.
In this review Malt Mileage tastes the Reisetbauer 7 year old.
Immediately floral notes appear, with in particular potpourri and wilted rose petals, intermingling with chili dark hot chocolate and a foamy scented soap alongside a burning wax candle and undertones of vanilla. In typical Reisetbauer fashion, this whisky delivers such a unique bouquet that shifts its form as it rests in the glass. The floral and soapy notes soften as the whisky rests, and out comes fabric, gym socks and leather boxing mitts with sweet brandied orange segments dusted in cocoa and green peppercorns. Then a nuttiness develops, almost roasted chestnuts but not quite, as the chocolate theme continues but in the form of milk chocolate coated hazelnuts. The spritz of lime sits in the background, flickering gently but never really competing with the other aromas. With some more time, cherry ripe appears – coconut, dark chocolate and dried cherries – with notes of white wine that become more pronounced with each sniff.
Find chocolate, vanilla, honey, caramel, mars bar and mixed berries on the entry, and then coconut, hints of wood and a quick shimmer of floral scented soap at mid-palate, which quickly fades into the finish. Also mid way through the berries become darker and slightly sour for a moment, but then a sweetness takes over.
On the finish the whisky sweetens with syrupy and sappy sugars, cherry chocolate liqueur and ice cream sticks with a powdery note similar to vanilla and strawberry protein powder and nutmeg. That would make Arnie happy, no doubt!
Consider it! Reisetbauer 7 year old struck me as a whisky with a nice balance that took me on an interesting roller coaster ride of flavours. It is less herbal than the Reisetbauer 12 year old, but an enjoyable whisky that showcases the unique way whisky can develop in Austrian wine casks to produce some delicious flavours – especially honey, floral, caramel, powdery and berry notes. It may, as a result, have some flavours that whisky drinkers are not commonly used to… but that isn’t a reason to snub this excellent Austrian whisky. Give it a go.
This whisky matched nicely with a mild to medium cigar made with a Sumatran wrapper cigar, to bring out its floral notes. It also went particularly well with an ACID Blondie to draw out the honey and caramels. In terms of food, try it with a berry cheesecake to really accentuate the berry and sugary notes.