Leidsche Singel Malt
It al started with a bang...
Many years ago, in 1807 to be exact, there was a big bang. An explosion.
On the 12th of January, 216 years ago, a ship was docked in one of the canals in Leiden. On board it had 17.760 kilograms of gunpowder to be shipped to Haarlem. The load never arrived because the gunpowder exploded, killing many and leaving a crater in the center of Leiden.
Now, this is where the whisky enters.
According to the very fresh and new independent bottler Singel Malt, a cask of whisky was also aboard the boat and landed on the embankment where Peeter Ghaenszoon found it and quickly rolled it into his cellar. After his passing, his heirs decided to bottle the whisky and store it. And that is how this whisky came to market. A great and fun origin story of the brand, which has a marketing purpose and is of no true origin. But the explosion happened and still leaves it marks in the city of Leiden.
Now, the name Singel Malt is no typo but adds to the brand story of this independent bottler. A "singel" in Dutch is a word for a canal in cities where the canal used to have a defensive purpose. Such as the canal the powder ship was docked at.
I stumbled upon this bottle by accident. Or rather: I know one of the guys that decided to buy a cask and bottle it. We came to discuss whisky and he mentioned this bottling and I practically begged him to be able to buy one.
And, I was allowed to, under one condition: I could not write or talk about it until he let me know. And basically, a few weeks ago, I got the green light.
The whisky was distilled in 2016 at the BenRiach distillery and bottled in July 2022.
Extra fun fact, it was finished on an ex-Laphroaig cask. It is a non-chill filtered single malt whisky and bottled at 43% Vol. The color is very light golden hued yellow. But very clear. Waltzing it around in your glass leaves a thin line with some hazy legs.
On the nose: At first very light. I found it hard to find some outspoken notes. I was expecting some peat or that typical Laphraoig seaweed hints. But it was a soft vanilla with hints of minerals like slate and chalk. I got some camphor and light creosote as smokey notes. as well as some grassy notes like green tea and wormwood.
Taste: It feels a bit oily on the tongue. In the front sweet notes like cane sugar, walnut liqueur and a sweet floral note of honeysuckle. Immediately after the sweet notes I got some oak, some iodine, some hints of leather and warm apple. It has a small spicy note like the hotness of cinnamon and cloves.
Finish: A sharp and long finish. I got some spirity notes, some white pepper and cinnamon. Some oily notes like linseed oil and seaweed. I also got some roasted nuts and some strong coffee. Especially the white pepper lingers, but in a very pleasant way.
All in all a great dram that i think you should try. That is, if you can get a bottle.
If I've understood correctly, this bottle will only be available with some local liquor stores in Leiden. I do not know where and when, but keep an eye out if you are whisky shopping in Leiden!
A special thanks goes out to Tom, who let me buy a bottle when his shop was not even open and gave me this whisky scoop! I hope to see more Singel Malts in the future because it is a great dram!