Sunday, 1 December 2013


Gjoleid is a Norwegian malt whisky from Arcus at GjellerÄsen. The malt is made from barley and wheat, which makes the whisky a malt whisky according to EU regulations, but not according to Scottish rules.

The malt consists of pale barley, pale wheat and beech wood smoked barley. The wart is fermented for ten days using Safwhisky M-1 dry yeast. The heart of the distillate is distilled to 73.5 % abv.

I tested two bottles – one matured in a first fill bourbon barrel, and the other matured in an Oloroso sherry butt. Both casks are made of American Oak. The casks were filled with identical distillate, and stored at 18°C for three and a half years. The bottles were bottle 280 of 448 from bourbon barrel (200 litres) number 9359, and bottle 1031 of 1221 from sherry butt (500 litres) number 9305. The whisky was bottled at 47 % abv. in 50 cl bottles.

The bourbon matured whisky has a golden colour. The whisky is fruity with a lot of vanilla and coco. The fruity flavour is dominated by apple cider, but some peach comes through. For a whisky of this young age the expected new make character is surprisingly absent. The active first fill bourbon barrel has done a good job removing the unpleasant flavours and reducing the influence of the smoky malt. The whisky is fairly light with a dry aftertaste.

The sherry matured whisky has an amber colour. The new make and smoky character is more pronounced than in the bourbon matured whisky. It’s a bit meaty and feinty. The whisky is spicy with cinnamon and ginger. The dried fruit comes through with raisins and prunes. The whisky is light with a less dry aftertaste than its twin.

A comparison of the two whiskies shows the different influence of the Oloroso cask and the bourbon cask. The small more heavily charred bourbon cask is more active removing the immature and smoky character of the new make. The Oloroso cask is masking the fruity flavour contributing with the spicy and dried fruit character. The bourbon cask is contributing vanilla and coco.

My favourite is definitely the bourbon matured whisky. It’s absolutely drinkable at this young age. The sherry matured whisky needs some more years in the cask.