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Connoisseurs’ Pick - BOX distillery

專家之選  BOX蒸餾廠

Thanks to the introduction by well-known whisky expert Mr. Yao Hecheng (Kingfisher), Swedish single malt whisky BOX has drew attention in Taiwan recently. But what is the point to introduce BOX single malt whisky?

 

The Distillery of BOX is located in the north of Sweden, somewhere in the Box Manor Estate next to the Angermann River. It comprises a pair of small steam coil heaters around the 3,800 litres wash still, but only 3,150 liters is loaded each time. The spirt still has a capacity of 2,500 liters, where 1,600 liters is loaded. It takes around 5.5 hours to complete one batch distillation, which is considered extremely slow.

 

The water source of the distillery relies on the mountainous streams that converge to the Angermann River. The water is fairly pure and abundant, with an average temperature between 3-5 degree Celsius. On the contrary, being one of the most northern distilleries (66°N) in the world, the huge temperature variation between summer (35°C) and winter (-30°C) provides an extreme ageing environment for their whisky.

 

From the above, we may conclude a few key elements that constitute to the characters of BOX - slow distillation, rapid condensation, and a huge range of ageing temperature. These lead to a purer new make spirit, and a vigorous interaction between the spirit and oak.

 

As proverb said, a good environment is half the success, but there is no promise to a good whisky. At the end of the day, it is our judgements to

 

At present, there are three expressions of BOX single malt whisky available in Taiwan, i.e. Virgin American Oak, The 2nd Step Collection 02 and PX Sherry Finish respectively. These three expressions illustrate the art of blending and finish, in which drinkers would feel and understand the excellent skill of the blenders through tasting.

 

Take the PX Sherry Finish as an example, the spirit is first aged in Bourbon for 4 years and then finished at a 55L American PX cask for 12 months. The tone of PX Sherry and Bourbon reach a wonderful balance in both aromas and flavors, without domination from either side. I would say it is a whisky that worth more attention.

 

From the environment, the distillation, ageing and finish, to the final product, I am sure you would understand Kingfisher’s affection in BOX whisky. Same as other boutique distilleries, it is still far from famous at present. But with its promising quality, it is just a matter of time to flourish in the whisky industry.

 

來自瑞典 BOX單一麥芽威士忌近期在臺灣相當備受矚目,而備受矚目的原因雖然有一部分是因為臺灣知名威士忌專家姚和成先生代理引進,但對於這一部分而言,我們倒不如去思考為什麼姚和成先生會選擇引進 BOX 單一麥芽威士忌。

 

BOX 威士忌蒸餾廠位於瑞典的北方,酒廠座落於鄰近阿哲門河 (Angermann River) 旁的盒子莊園 (Box Manor Estate),擁有一對小型蒸氣線圈加熱蒸餾器,初餾機容量為 3,800公升,每次裝填3,150公升,再餾機容量為2,500公升,每次裝填1,600公升,前後蒸餾分別須耗費5.5小時,可以說是採用極慢速蒸餾。

酒廠釀製的水源來自於阿哲門河的深山水源所匯集而成的河流,水溫長年保持於攝氏3-5度的低溫並且相當的純淨豐沛,而熟成威士忌的環境夏季溫度為攝氏35度,而冬季溫度則可以來到攝氏零下30度,自然環境的溫度變化可以超過氏攝60度之大同時,酒窖也正好被北緯 63度線穿越,可以說是世界上最北邊的蒸餾廠。

由上述的簡易介紹便可以略知幾個重點,分別為慢速蒸餾、快速的冷凝以及熟成環境溫度落差大,這樣的條件可以讓蒸餾出來的 New Make Spirit 有著較多的銅接觸讓酒更加純淨外,也因為自然的環境溫差變化大,橡木桶內的威士忌與橡木桶交互作用也較為劇烈。

雖然有著良好的環境條件對酒廠來說是成功的一半,但是有好的條件並不代表一定會有好的威士忌,最終還是要以成品酒款的表現去自我感受與判斷。

目前在臺灣已有三款 BOX 單一麥芽威士忌,分別為 Virgin American Oak、The 2nd Step Collection 02 以及 PX Sherry Finish,分別為調和的工藝與過桶的工藝呈現,我們可以由品飲這三款威士忌去大略了解調酒師的功力以及對於橡木桶的運用與過桶的拿捏功力。

經由細細的品飲之下,就由這一款 PX Sherry Finish 來說,一開始先於常規波本桶熟成4年後,再換桶至55公升的美國橡木 PX 雪莉桶熟成12個月,在香氣與口感的表現中而言,都讓波本的調性與 PX 雪莉桶的風味形成美妙的平衡,而不會有 PX 那種讓人甜到膩的感受或是把波本風味的調性掩蓋過去,不得不說 BOX 這一家酒廠是值得讓人期待的。

所以,從酒廠的環境、製程、用桶到最後的成品認真去了解,就可以知道為什麼姚和成先生會選擇這一家 BOX 蒸餾廠代理引進臺灣,雖然一些小酒廠在大家認知的品牌裡知名度還不大,但只要最終的酒款表現有著一定的水準,自然就可以在威士忌圈子裡快速打出閃亮的知名度。