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Millstone Whisky

Despite already running a very successful, family-owned spirit brand in the Netherlands, master distiller and whisky enthusiast Patrick van Zuidam would not be satisfied until he made his own whisky. His ambition was finally sated when he created the first Dutch whisky: Millstone. It’s a fitting name, and not just because it’s made in the Netherlands. Millstone genuinely uses windmills to process its malted barley, which is important for two reasons: firstly because it preserves Dutch heritage and secondly, the manner in which traditional millstones slowly grind the malted barley into flour is a key component to the Millstone style*. This method is able to ready the malted barley to be made into mash without increasing the temperature of the grain, which helps the barley retain much of its aromas. It takes approximately five hours per batch to transform the malted barley into mash, which is subsequently cooled and pumped to the fermentation tank. Fermentation at Millstone is typically carried out in small batches, and is another aspect of production that takes advantage of using very low temperature, to foster a fruity flavour in its whisky. It takes around five days which, while it is longer than is customary, is another deliberate step from Millstone to allow more delicate flavours to form. Once fermentation is complete, the whisky is double distilled in small handcrafted copper pot stills. The stills were designed to have an extraordinary large copper surface which mean the whisky has a lot of contact with the copper. Not only does this method refine imperfections and eliminate any unwanted substances, but again demonstrates Millstone’s commitment to production techniques that will stimulate the formation of the complex and fruity esters. Zuidam use either new barrels of American white oak or barrels that have previously held bourbon or oloroso sherry only once to age its whisky. Zuidam are very specific about using barrels that have had at most one use before they mature its whisky, in the belief that when these barrels are stored in a warm and dry warehouse, it will age the quickly. This preference however does tend to cost more, firstly because of the sheer volume of barrels Zuidam have to source, purchase and store, but also the evaporation losses are rather high. Typically, the ‘Angels’ Share’ could be as much as between 4% and 5% per year. It is this sort of sacrifice that Millstone are happy to take in order to ensure it creates a product of a singular profile and delicious taste. Millstone whisky is still handcrafted in the traditional Zuidam Distillery today, and continues to make the most of 50 years of family experience in distilling to produce stellar editions such as Millstone 5 Year Old Dutch Single Malt Whisky, Millstone 100 Rye Whisky and this rather exquisite Millstone 6 Year Old (That Boutique-y Whisky Company). *Thirdly - windmills are badass.

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