If you‘re writing product reviews on a regular basis or if you should intend to do so in the future, you will be faced with the difficult decision of what it is that you really want to achieve with those reviews. Between deeply subjective writing and efforts to be relatively objective, all possible shades of grey are conceivable and all of them have a certain value to your readers. I am usually somewhere in the midfield, because of course as an individual I can only describe my own feelings, but on the other hand I don’t want to write articles that are utterly connected only to me as a person. (provided test product)*
So editorial work is as diverse as the media landscape itself. In a one-person blog, however, I consciously try to follow a comprehensible path. Especially when it comes to my tasting notes, I sometimes shy away from all too wacky associations (though not all the time). Today, however, I have a bottle in front of me that makes it difficult for me to keep a critical distance. The reason is simple: Until the present day, I absolutely loved every distillate from the Eimverk distillery that I tried. And – you guessed it – that’s where today’s bottle comes from.
I have not (yet) visited the Icelandic town of Garðabær in my life, but I have, like probably every Iceland tourist, visited the capital Reykjavik and the nearby Hafnarfjörður, which are also located in the Höfuðborgarsvæðið region. And of course – also here I hardly deviate from the majority of Iceland tourists – the country and the people simply took my breath away. The Icelanders are a very likeable, partly bizarre people in one of the unquestionably most beautiful natural landscapes of the world. That is where the Flóki Icelandic Single Malt Whisky comes from. Before it could legally be called a whisky, it was already available as “Young Malt” (about which I wrote an article some time ago).
Now I have the opportunity to try the official Flóki whisky in the form of a very special bottling, namely the Flóki Double Wood Reserve Stout Cask Finish. This brand new Flóki from 2019 was first allowed to mature in barrels formerly filled with Flóki Young Malt and then received a finish in former Imperial Stout barrels of the Icelandic Bryggjan brugghús brewery. Although I haven’t tasted any (Imperial) Stout from this brewery yet, I have also written about some Icelandic beers (here, here, here and here) from the up-and-coming Icelandic craft beer movement in the past. The Flóki Double Wood Reserve Stout Cask Finish is bottled at an ABV of 45% vol. and shows an age statement of 3 years (I can’t say if it already contains an older part).
Aroma: Wow, I just love this Eimverk character. Although we’re dealing with a completely different spirit here, it’s the same roasted, sweet barley grist note that can be found in the VOR Icelandic Gin (but of course also in the Young Malt). I really like the distillery’s unique character. I have to think of buttered honey bread, notes of older cognac and lots of malt. The Imperial Stout barrels bestow a powerful, heavy sweetness upon the aroma, condensing the bread nuances (almost towards a pumpernickel) and evoking associations of dark chocolate and some coffee. Behind this, light fruity notes are also revealed, as well as some moss and meadow herbs.
Taste: On the palate, the Flóki Double Wood Reserve Stout Cask Finish may not be quite as intense as a twelve-year-old Scotch Single Malt, but with its age of three years it comes surprisingly close. Here, too, the distillery’s character is unmistakable: dark bread, dark forest honey, malt, some oak and toasted notes. In addition some milk chocolate, caramel, herbs and after some time a hint of citrus. A balanced and full-bodied sweetness rounds off the taste experience. No traces of sharp alcohol, the 45% vol. are carrying the flavours very beautifully. Well, what can I say? This is a very unique and excellent whisky in this age group.
Finish: relatively dry with oak wood, spices, dark chocolate and honey.
The Flóki Double Wood Reserve Stout Cask Finish is of course a spirit that is primarily designed and intended as a sipping quality. However, that does not mean – as I will never get tired of pointing out – that you can’t use it in a cocktail with good reason. Of course, it should be a very simple drink, like some kind of Manhattan or a variant of the Old Fashioned, which leaves enough room for the Flóki to unfold. Finally, I opted for old fashiond-style drink. With old-fashioned-style cocktails, the differences between individual recipes are often marginal. Moreover, while some people will probably put it as simple as “That’s just some kind of Old Fashioned”, others give such drinks their own names to make them stand out a bit more. Although I do not want to be too gimmicky, I belong to the latter group here as well. On the one hand, because I love Old Fashioned-Style drinks, on the other hand, because that way I can simply keep a better overview of the subtleties.
The drink today is called Gamall Maður, which means “old man” in Icelandic and is a fitting name for an Icelandic inspired Old Fashioned, I think. For the Gamall Maður I wanted to underline the Stout character of the whisky a little bit and made an Imperial Stout syrup for it (similar to my Sweet Old Bakerman or The Auld Triangle). In addition, there is a nuance of dark forest honey and the wonderfully harmonizing The Bitter Truth Drops & Dashes Nut Bitters. Simple (like an Old Fashioned is), but a very nice experience of flavor.
Recipe “Gamall Maður”:
6.5 cl Flóki Double Wood Reserve Stout Cask Finish
2 bar spoons Imperial Stout syrup (see below)
1 barspoon dark forest honey syrup (1:1)
3 Dashes The Bitter Truth Drops & Dashes Nut Bitters
Imperial Stout Syrup: Mix the Imperial Stout with sugar in a 3:1 ratio, bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved and then simmer a little until the mixture reduces to a more syrup-like consistency. Allow to cool and use it straight away or put in an airtight container and store in a refrigerator (should be good for about 3-4 days).
Preparation: Pour all ingredients into a glass filled with fresh ice, stir briefly, done.
Garnish: Wooden honey dripper
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.