Age: No age statement
Tucked deep into the Bavarian hills on the shores of the Schliersee, we find Slyrs distillery, home to what is probably Germany’s best known whisky. Although founder Florian Stettler produced the first batches of Slyrs as early as 1999 at Lantenhammer distillery, it was not until 2007 that Slyrs opened its very own facilities, allowing them to upscale production significantly. As a result, Slyrs has garnered some more international exposure, racking up a series of awards and accolades along the way. Over the past years, Slyrs has not shied away from using European oak for maturing their whiskies, with Port, PX and Oloroso sherry finishes all gracing the shelves. But why choose, when you can simply bottle a combination of these casks? Or at least this is what Slyrs must’ve had in mind when releasing Fifty One, which is a vatting of whiskies matured in Port, Sherry and Sauternes casks. Fifty One refers to the bottling strength of this whisky, which, unsurprisingly, is 51% abv. Using that famed Bavarian malt, ageing in different casks, and bottling at a high abv… it sounds like Slyrs Fifty One ticks all the right boxes. Let’s see if that actually translates into a great whisky.
Colour: Old gold
Nose: Zesty, with a honeyed sweetness to it. Aromas of plums and apricot give this dram a winey character, with plenty of tannins. There is not much malt to be discovered, but scents of cloves and gingerbread do peak through. Certainly an interesting nose, but I’m not quite sure what to make of this whisky yet.
Palate: Medium bodied, with quite some pungency from the elevated alcohol level. Much spicier than on the nose, there are notes of nutmeg and white pepper. Then a herbal, oaky profile comes to the fore, ending with flavours of raisins and dried hops.
Finish: Long and lasting, with more wood spice and a dry, somewhat bitter aftertaste of dark chocolate.
Verdict: Slyrs Fifty One is certainly not a bad dram, but I also can’t say I am very taken with it. While there are plenty of zesty, spicy flavours on offer, the multitude of casks used have achieved an overpowering effect. That beautiful Bavarian barley has gone missing almost completely, and this Slyrs lacks some balance, some depth. That’s unfortunate, because I have the feeling this could otherwise be a fine dram. If you’re looking to buy a Slyrs, I would personally steer away from this one.