Here is a whisky you have probably not heard of before, from a distillery you’ve probably not heard of before. At least I had not heard of either before my friend Mike offered me a sample from his bottle. Mike spends a lot of time in Montana—in his cabin, working on his manifesto—and the distillery, Glacier Distilling, is a Montana micro-distillery. You can read more about them and find out more about their products on their website. What you won’t find there is any mention of this particular release, Swiftcurrent. I certainly didn’t. Only 742 375 ml bottles were made and I believe they were only available at the distillery. The whisky is said to be 3+ years old, which I think we can take to mean that most of it is just about 3 years old. And as per the back of the bottle it was matured in quarter casks. Young whisky from a micro-distillery, matured in small casks? Sounds like a recipe for disaster. But you know me, I always assume the best. Let’s hope this doesn’t let me down.
Swiftcurrent Single Malt (43%; matured in quarter casks; from a sample from a friend)
Nose: Hey, not bad at all! There isn’t raw oak all over the place. Instead, some lemon mixed with mild vegetal and herbal notes (dill) and some caraway. With more time some sweeter notes emerge (cream, a touch of vanilla). Water pushes the vegetal note back a bit and brings out more of the cream and some menthol; there’s some sweeter fruit in there too now (some kind of berry).
Palate: The lemon isn’t here but otherwise as promised by the palate. A very rich, almost waxy texture despite the low strength. More vegetal bitterness on the second sip (artichoke). Not much change as it sits. Okay, let’s add a drop of water. Less bitter here too with water and the menthol shows earlier here too now.
Finish: Medium-long. The bitter notes hang out a while and is that a hint of smoke at the end? With time a mentholated coolness shows up as well. As on the nose with water and that’s definitely some wood smoke at the end now.
Comments: This handily surpassed my low expectations. It’s nothing I want a full bottle of but it does make me very curious about their other whiskies and their general trajectory as they get more experience under their belt. A distillery to keep an eye on.
Rating: 78 points.
Thanks to Mike for the sample!