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Water of Life - Teerenpeli and Bladnoch Vinaya

While I harbour a fondness for Finland and have visited quite a few times, the land of the thousand lakes is arguably more known for vodka rather than being fertile ground for the production of premium quality Single Malt whiskies.

Needless to say, I was intrigued when I learned about a Finnish family owned distillery that was not only using traditional pot still distilling equipment from Scotland, but is being lauded the world over for the quality of its expressions based on how they channel their alchemy through access to excellent ground water and premium grade local barley.

My first exposure to Teerenpeli Distillery was via their 10 year old bottling, which has been matured in a combination of bourbon and sherry casks and was originally launched six years ago.

What tickles the nostrils upon approach is a melange of butterscotch, dark chocolatey toffee and vanilla aromas, accentuated by nectarines, apples and liquorice highlights, which sit comfortably on a backbone of malt.

Things get interesting on the palate with a slightly oily mouthfeel with an initial peppery, spicy kick, which then meanders into fruit candy territory, rounded out by an earthy and savoury oakiness.

The medium-length finish is dominated by an interestingly astringent salty taste, ultimately returning to the aforementioned spicy kick.

Kaski, a reference to preparing a field for a new cycle of farming by burning it, is Teerenpeli’s dedicated sherry cask expression and what initially was only meant to be one off single batch release proved to be so popular that the distillery opted to incorporate it into its portfolio with batches being produced on an on-going basis - a wise move, given the fact that its similarity to cognac resonates very well with the preferences of Finish fine spirits aficionados.

Exclusively matured for six years in sherry casks, Kaski entices the nose with a brown sugary, red fruity and raisiny bouquet, which is counterpointed by earthy, orangey, black peppery nuances.

On the top of the mouth, what the nose promised transitions seamlessly into woody oakiness, interesting bitter notes, a bit of a spicy kick, all of which is sealed with a rich grain-like crescendo.


Being a peat aficionado, I was looking forward to sampling Teerenpeli’s Savu expression, the name of which translates poignantly to the equivalent of “smoke”.

Clocking in at 43%, this little number had been napping in Bourbon and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks and is based on peat from the United Kingdom that has been refined in Belgium.

On the nose, delicate nuances of soot and cold smoke sit against a fruity backdrop.

Flavour-wise there is peat resting on a blanket of delicate smokiness but not of the tested and tried Islay kind: The way spicy undertones are weaved in to play the claviature between sweet and savoury adds layers of complexity with the influence of the sherry casks omnipresent, which continues to reverberate through the elongated finish.

A fantastic and more-ish drop. I’d love to see where smoking their own peat locally would take it flavourwise.

Summa summarum, Teerenpeli is a distillery that has created its own idiosyncratic Nordic DNA, which honours the traditions of Scotland yet imbues each expression with their very own je ne sais quoi.

Bladnoch Vinaya

I have covered the Lowland distillery Bladnoch and their excellent core range previously as part of this series and have shed light on the fact that after having been acquired by Australian entrepreneur David Prior six years ago and a revamp of epic proportions, it has further blossomed and bloomed through a well-calibrated approach that both honours the legacy of the distillery as well as steering it forward with new and limited editions.

With Vinaya, Bladnoch’s newest expression, the former is being executed par excellence as it is essentially a liquid pale-golden bow to the distillery’ founders with the name denoting “respect” and “gratitude” in Sankrit.

Upon approach, light brown-sugary, grassy and honeyed aromas place the nose on the floral and sweeter side of the spectrum, with sultanas, cinnamon, almonds and a dominant oaty note blending in.

What the nose promised, comes to full fruition on the palate:

The journey starts on the fruity side of things with juicy nuances of apples blending in with the aforementioned grassy, hay notes, flanked by hints of honey, butterscotch and milk chocolate, before it culminates in a warming cinnamon-spicy climax, which are backed by hazelnutty flavours.

What is interesting is that the range of flavours do not cancel each other out but elevate on another, resulting in a delightfully complex and layered flavour profile, with all components artfully and harmoniously coming together.

The medium-length has the sweeter notes still reverberate yet leaves the limelight on the oaky maltiness and a spicy, powerful clove-sque punch with comes with slightly citrussy flavours in its wake, evoking emotions of purity and indulgence.

Summa summarum, clocking in at 46.7% ABV, Bladnoch’s Vinaya expression is a rich and indulgent addition to the distillery’s ever expanding portfolio with the maturation in first fill Bourbon and first fill Sherry casks giving it a brilliantly complex flavour profile.


images from company websites

October 4, 2021

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