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Zuidam 3 Year Old Single Barrel Oude Genever is an oude genever that has been aged for 5 years in barrel. The term “oude” genever refers to the old, or traditional, style of genever rather than the age of the spirit. Oude Genever must contain at least 15% malt wine but less than 20 g/L sugar. Compare this with Jonge Genever which must contain no more than 15% malt wine and 10 grams per litre sugar.
Zuidam Distillers is a family owned distillery based in the town of Baarle-Nassau in southern Netherlands. They are well known for producing traditional genevers (and gin), Dutch whisky under the Millstone label and a range of liqueurs. The company was founded in 1975 by Fred van Zuidam in 1975 with one copper still. Today the company is run by Fred’s sons Patrick and Gilbert and has expanded to over three thousand square meters and there are four copper stills and over 1000 cask. Whisky production began later in 1998. Until recently all of their grain was milled in seven traditional windmills. Successful growth and an increase in production means this is no longer the case, although the grain milled by windmills is still a large component of their production. This way of milling causes almost no increase in the temperature of the grain and thus helps preserve the wonderful aromas. No artificial fragrances, colours and flavours are used.
After the milling, the mashing begins by adding hot water to an equal parts three way mash bill of corn, rye and malted barley. The corn gives a rich sweetness, the rye gives spicy notes and the malted barley provides the backbone. This is a small batch process which takes about 8 hours per batch. The resulting Mash is cooled to 20° Celsius and pumped to the fermentation tank. There fermentation takes place in small batches at a very low temperature which gives helps to give Zuidam Genevers their fruity flavours. Fermentation takes about 5 days. This is much longer than is customary but is essential to allow for the delicate flavours to form.
The resulting mash is distilled three times in handcrafted copper pot stills producing a clean and fruity distillate (the Korenwijn is distilled 4 times). Part of the distillate is then distilled again over a secret mixture of botanicals (including Juniper, Liquorice root, Aniseed and others). Then everything is blended together before it is put into small, American oak barrels for the final ageing process (apart from the Jonge). Zuidam Genever ages relatively quickly as only new or ex-Bourbon or Oloroso sherry casks are used and a warm and dry warehouse speeds up the process. The downside of this is quite a high rate of evaporation; the “Angel’s Share” is as high as 4 or 5% per annum.
For Zuidam Old Genever 5 year old Single Barrel only the best casks are selected after the genever has been aged for a minimum of 60 months. Bottled from one selected cask and it is not blended with other casks. Because new or very young casks are used this results in a very special genever with very rich vanilla and toffee notes and in a really silky smooth mouth feel.
Bottled at 38% ABV.