Tasting Notes: Swhisky Challenge

Though I tasted the Whisky on August 1st, Swiss National Day, it took me a little while to get these notes up. You can read more about my time in Switzerland in my post about my Grandma’s 100th birthday here, and overall though it was a wonderful trip, apparently Switzerland still needs some time to get its whisky right. I think the Säntis Malt (the Oak Beer Cask aged single malt) is the best out of the three, but overall they’re all not great — especially for the price point (~$80 for 700 ml of the Swhisky, and ~$65 for 500ml of the Säntis Malt). What slightly annoyed me as well is that two out of the three whiskeys came with a rubber stopper/cork. The only whisky that came with a real cork was the Swhisky Skipper. The Santis Malt rubber cork was more of an imitation cork than anything, but the Swhisky Challenge cork came apart when I popped the bottle. You can see it in a picture below, and it may not be a huge deal, but it did not make me excited for what I was about to drink.

Other opinions are somewhat non existent at this point, but I am sending samples to my cowriters at WhiskyParty as well as Dr. Whisky and John Hansell as they requested, so hopefully they’ll all weigh in. And for good measure, Hop Schweiz!


Säntis Malt Swiss Highlander Appenzeller Single Malt

Santis Malt: Swiss Whisky Aged in Beer Casks from Appenzeller

ABV: 40%

Maturation: Oak Beer Casks

Color: Light goldish brown, Burnt Sienna

Nose: paint thinner and varnish (though not unappealing) and plastics. roasted barley, overripe apples, blood oranges, still wet sweet bread, some wood and vanilla underneath

Palate: lots of alcohol burn, lots of wood, some delicious sweetness. a fair amount of pepper. you taste the malt, but it’s more sweet than cereal.

Finish: sweet wood — just not very sweet. it develops nicely, almost starts out drying but gets it going with a slightly sour slightly sweet finish of cinnamon sugar

Overall: delicious. at first, this is a little rough, but it does open up like wine and reveal a really nice dichotomy of sweet and sour, of drying and lasting. i believe this is the first time i have ever had a whisky aged in beer casks, and I wish I could say that I taste the beer — i don’t think i can. the closest I can get is that this dram is really sweet, but not in a toffee, vanilla way, but more in a malty way. which, I know is ridiculous, but whatever. that’s what i’m going with. it’s not a great whisky, but it’s a good whisky. And a delicious one to have, especially because it’s all Swiss made.

Swhisky Challenge (Blue)

ABV: 40%

Maturation: Oak Casks and Finished in “Wine” Casks (Burgundy)

Color: brownish gold, shimmery

Nose: very little alcohol, some christmas spices, maybe even bananas, peppermint candies and an oaky wine barrel warehouse crossed with fresh rotting grape vine stems (the distinct smell you get if you tour a winery and go to the barrel room — it’s a slightly damp wooden fresh scent with vegetation behind it

Palate: pretty harsh. surprising considering the lack of alcohol burn above. it’s really hard to get anything out of it. there’s some pepper and fruit, but nothing very discernible.

Finish: building dark fruit that turns to cloying. it’s not syrupy, but pretty much all cloying, one note, and disappointing

Overall: though the nose held some promise, this whisky stinks. the palate just kind of disappointed and the finish was cloying. Really disappointed with my first entry into Swhisky. Even more disappointed with the crappy artificial cap. I know that the wine world has all sorts of disagreements about artificial corks and screw tops versus real corks, but this thing stinks. It fell apart, has no scent, and just makes me really question what the heck they were thinking. Especially at the price point that this bottle was — fricking $80. I guess overall Challenge fails to live up to the Challenge. By a lot.

Swhisky Skipper (Green Box)

Swhisky Skipper — Matured in Burgundy Cask without color or filtration

ABV: 40%

Maturation: Oak Casks and Finished in “Wine” Casks (Burgundy)

Nose: brine and honey, green leafy vegetables, brown sugar malt, burnt sugar, and reeds

Palate: brown sugar explosion! brown bread, and then nothing

Finish: seriously, there’s an explosion of flavor and then it disappears. there’s some sweetness and heat that tries to build up, but doesn’t ever really get there

Overall: well, it’s interesting. it’s good, but that’s probably just because it’s whisky. it’s not very complex, but very easy and fun to drink. I’d reach for it, but not all the time, or really often for that matter. Just more often than Swhisky Challenge.