Age: 3 years old
When Eimverk introduced Iceland’s first ever single malt in 2017, it was a young, intrepid dram full of bourbon-like flavours. Although I enjoyed it, I immediately wondered how Flóki would fare with some time spent in European oak. Well, the wait is over, because Eimverk has since released a whole new range of whiskies. And what interesting expressions they are! There’s the next iteration of Flóki’s Sheep Dung Smoked whisky, a Beer Cask Finish, and even a whisky that matured in birch wood. Of these new bottlings, this Sherry Cask Finish is perhaps the most traditional. While the other expressions add an extra Icelandic dimension to an already uniquely local product, a finish in sherry casks is a more conventional next step for most distillers. This cask type tends to help in showcasing a gentler, sweeter side of a whisky, complementing the distillery character with fruity, nutty flavours. But not only the whisky is different, the packaging also received an overhaul. Gone are the shiny Viking inspired patterns, now replaced by beautiful earthy colours. As always, the bottles are numbered and signed by hand, a nice personal touch.
Nose: Invitingly sweet, with plenty of wood spice drifting from the glass. Those exuberant Flóki aromas are still there, but in more mellow form. The usual citrus fruits have turned a shade darker, with blackcurrant and cooking pears now reigning supreme. The longer you let this Flóki breathe, the fruitier it becomes, with raspberries providing a backdrop to the sweet, spicy perfume of allspice and brown sugar. Lovely stuff.
Palate: Medium-bodied, with a reasonably oily mouthfeel. This Flóki exhibits a sort of subdued elegance that belies the fact it’s just 3 years old. There are definite clues that this is yet a young whisky, but these flaws are not immediately obvious and never obtrusive. Notes of ripe apricots give way to a spicy, gingery Christmas cake. Flavours of balsamic and molasses lend this whisky a sweet, autumnal character, before peppercorn provides a spicy bite.
Finish: Ah there’s that youthful energy again! The finish is decently long and pleasantly earthy, with notes of dried moss and sultanas.
Verdict: This Flóki has taken very well to the time spent in an Oloroso sherry cask. There’s less vanilla in this dram, and more forest fruit. And that’s all for the best, because although vanilla is the world’s most sold ice cream flavour, to me it’s also one of the most boring. The sherry finish provides an additional layer of sweetness and sophistication to what is otherwise still quite a raw whisky. At just 3 years old, this Flóki has some way to go yet, but I very much look forward to seeing how it develops over time. With an extra few years in oak, I think Eimverk could have a superb whisky on their hands.
Value for money: 🤩🤩🤩