Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Gjoleid 2016 release

During Oslo whiskyfestival Ivan Abrahamsen, the master blender of Arcus, presented their new releases of their Norwegian whisky Gjoleid. 

Their first distillation of Gjoleid was back in 2010, and they bottled two 3½ year old September 5th 2013. One was matured in an oloroso American oak butt (cask 9305) and the other in a first fill American oak bourbon barrel (cask 9359).

Arcus uses a narrow cut to get a light whisky, the heart of the distillate is 74,3% for the 2011 batch. The mash is made of 85 % malt and 15 % wheat. 15 % of the malt is dried using alder smoke.

Now they are releasing three whiskies of which one is for the tax-free market.

The tax-free release Praksis 1.1 is a mix of two casks, one American oak first fill bourbon barrel (cask 10329) and one American new oak barrel (cask 10342). The whisky was bottled on June 22nd 2016 close to five years old. 

A similar release Praksis 1.2 for the general market has the same type of casks, one American oak first fill bourbon barrel (cask 10336) and one American new oak barrel (cask 10341). The whisky was bottled on June 22nd 2016 close to five years old. The difference between the 1.1 and 1.2 release is that the new oak is more heavily charred in the 1.2 than in the 1.1.

There are approximately 1000 bottles of Praksis 1.1, and the same of Praksis 1.2. The lable says 1400 bottles, but that is a misprint.

It is interesting how the extra charring gives a more intense whisky which appears sweeter and smokier. Both whiskies have the typical characteristics of American oak bourbon barrels with the alder smoke, wheat and new wood coming through. Both whiskies are coming on very well. Praksis 1.1 seems to have some aquavita influence, but Ivan Abrahamsen from Arcus has confirmed that there is no influence from aquavita casks in Praksis 1.1 and 1.2.

The last release Blindpassasjeren is originally matured in an old American oak sherry cask and finished in an oloroso sherry cask (465 litres) made of American oak (cask 5491) and used to mature Lysholm aquavita. Lysholm gives the whisky a light delicate flavour of caraway and star anise. Like the aquavita, the whisky has been out travelling on a ship across equator for four months. The effect of the ship travel is to move the whisky around, speeding up the maturation and taking more flavour out of the wood. The dried fruits typical for sherry cask matured whiskies is coming through together with the lighter flavours of American oak. The whisky is from the 2011 batch and was bottled June 23rd 2016. It’s the same new make as for the other whiskies.

All the whiskies are bottled at around 47 %. The whiskies are still young, but the bourbon matured whiskies are doing quite well. I think the bourbon matured whiskies for the moment are doing better than the sherry matured. But hopefully time will help.

Arcus has a new warehouse in Nittedal stacking 13 casks high. The whisky is matured at 18˚C in a dry climate. The result is an increase in alcohol of 0,4 % each year. The is watered down to 55 % during maturation to keep it under 60 %.

Arcus has a new batch made of 100000 litres of wort that was distilled in 2013. So it seems that we have more goodies to look forward to.

Updated 170723: Alder smoke not beech smoke.
Updated 170813: Number of bottles printed on Praksis 1.1 and 1.2 are wrong. Approxiamtely 1000, not 1400.
Updated 170813: No aquavita influence in Praksis 1.1 and 1.2.

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