Discovery Road Courage Dutch Single Malt

There was a pleasant surprise this week with the arrival of a trio of samples from Dominic Roskrow's  newly launched independent bottling range; Discovery Road. This aims to take us around the world with small batch releases, highlighting and introducing whiskies from the new regions, focusing on areas outwith traditional strongholds such as Scotland and North America. 

Dominic for those new to whisky is a well established and experienced whisky writer with credits ranging from magazines to 6 books - of which I own a couple. If you possess a copy of '1001 Whiskies You Must Try Before You Die', then you may have already read about some of these new world distilleries. Now is the chance to actually experience some of their produce.

In 2013 Dominic put out a message on Twitter asking for anyone interested in whisky to get in touch for samples to review. I duly applied and this is what we have here, with this trio forming 75% of the initial releases for Discovery Road. If you want to check availability then online UK retailer Master of Malt are selling each of the releases right here. This link is just for convenience, but you can buy the range elsewhere and I don't make any commission from such links!

I'm not tackling these in any particular order, rather just what came to hand first. So here we have a Dutch single malt from the Zuidam distillery which started life producing Dutch genever before moving into whisky via gin. You may have seen a European whisky called Millstone which is the Zuidam malt. After the disappointment of my last European journey (Austria) and the rye Waldviertler dram, things can only get better and thankfully they do. First, the all important details:

Distillery: Zuidam
Distilled: 1999  
Bottled: 2013
Strength: 46%
Cask: 1st fill Oloroso sherry butt
Price: £72.70    

Colour: apricot. 
Nose: a sugary rush is the first impression, candied orange peel, raisins giving way to butterscotch. If you have experienced a can of Tizer then you'll know what I mean - in other words a real sweet, a refreshing nose that I find satisfying.
Taste: that sweet nose doesn't carry through to the actual palate thankfully. There is a touch of burnt caramel, those candied oranges are back, typical sherry cask influences with honey and cream rounded off by ground almonds.

My first Dutch whisky and I am impressed. The cask has done wonders here resulting in a sweetish dram but not one that overloads the glucose. A thumbs up for Discovery Road here and specifically for picking out this cask. A really enjoyable whisky.

The pricing is debateable for some out there however this is an imported whisky and a small batch release so these factors will duly increase the cost. A 5 year old official bottling of Millstone will set you back around £55, whereas the Millstone sherry cask (bottled also at 46%) is 12 years old and circa £75. So you're actually getting an older, more artisan release from Discovery Road for a comparable price. In this context the pricing makes perfect sense. 

So a great start to my trio of tastings. Expect the remaining 2 Discovery Road drams later this month. 

Click here to read my taste review of the Discovery Road Four Lions release.

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