As I have previously mentioned, I very rarely get excited about anything booze-related these days. It is, more than likely, because I am a veteran whisky drinker, albeit sans beard, which means I am by default suspicious of anything new and think I know it all, and hate young people, and especially young people with optimism. But when I get a box marked ‘In rye we trust’, the tagline of Kyrö Distillery, landing on my doormat, even this sour-faced lump can’t help but smile.
That’s because my favourite Finnish nudists (yes, it’s those bare-arsed Finns again) have deposited on my doormat another very intriguing set of artefacts, which included not only a rye whisky (I will get to this); but a worryingly drinkable Dairy Cream drink made with some of their small batch rye whisky. It’s basically like Baileys, but actually good. And by god, it didn’t last long in my household. We should, however, pause to post the brand photo of bare-arsed frolicking Finnish folk, which we have done in every Kyrö review thus far.
But(t) I should return to the point of real excitement. I’m not really someone concerned about collectability, though I appreciate there are many who get their kicks from lining up all the bottles they can possibly get of a particular type of whisky. I’m not really obsessive about one distillery, so new whiskies from a favourite distillery do not really thrill me like it may for some. And yes, I get samples all the time at Malt, so even an unexpected box arriving in the post doesn’t really get the blood pumping.
I’ve passed the point of jadedness with the industry, which is to say I’ve gone in it and have come out through the other side. I get hundreds of press release in my inbox written by agencies, to which ideas are outsourced, trying to spin a yarn and this no longer even offends me; indeed I find some of it hilarious, incredulous for all the wrong reasons. I can look past it quite easily, so I am not a jaded drinker. I’m also a drinks industry insider, as many long-term Malt readers will have noted, and have access to some brilliant young whiskies, which you would consider super rare as they’re not even on sale. I am not short of special stuff. So what I’m saying is my journey as a whisky fan has taken an unusual route, so it is difficult to get excited.
But not today. Because I am excited about another new whisky – and it’s from Kyrö. Why excited? I have no specific answer to this. But I would guess that it is down to a couple of things. One is quality: they make good whisky, as we have commented on twice before. Both myself and Adam were hugely impressed by their offerings. Another is, uh, quality again: they are interested in grain quality, selecting a variety for flavour, and they have super-long fermentation times – again, preferring flavour over profits. So it tastes good, which is because they make it well. Simple as that.
I suppose a non-quality-related thing about these Finnish folk is that they don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s a certain swagger, a joie de vivre about the brand, which is to be admired; they can be confident in what they do, because it’s good, which means they don’t give us hundreds of lines of bullshit in a press release to make up for shortfalls (there are none). So yeah, Kyrö is one of those rare examples of a modern distillery that is authentic, makes great whisky, and has a bit of fun at the same time, naked bums n’all.
Now, will I have to eat my words when it comes to tasting their latest whisky? (Spoiler alert: I am not.)
Kyrö Malt – Small Batch 006 – Rye Whisky
On the nose: It’s rye, yes, but not quite as we know it: toasted Marcona almonds, a lovely nutty sweetness. Very bready, like sticking your face in a loaf of rye bread. Hints of raisins. Pine needles. With a bit of time comes hints of raisins, cherries, and dried cranberries; heather honey. Cinnamon.
In the mouth: here’s where Kyrö elevates things above most rye whiskies: there’s virtually zero spicinesses, but instead there’s a silky finesse. Elegance, which you almost never feel when drinking rye (sorry, Adam). Oily, viscous. And it echoes the nose: walnuts return, praline, with cherries. Digestive biscuits, maple syrup, almonds. Strawberry jam. There’s a touch of warming ginger towards the finish. But it’s so well balanced, a lovely harmony between those flavours.
I expected a great whisky, and guess what? I got one. It’s not quite the perfect whisky; I do prefer the Suomi 100 Ruisviski by a point, but this is still, yet again, hugely impressive.
Oh, and buy the Dairy Cream too. You’ll thank me later.
Note: as you can see, samples were sent to Malty Towers.