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The Whisky Trek: Hiking The Swiss Alps with Säntis Malt

in 1999 switch legs band on grain-based
spirit production is lifted and the
country’s first single malt was created
by internationally award-winning Santas
malt which ages it’s whiskey in Old Oak
beer barrels most over a century old a
couple of years ago Santa small started
distributing different whiskey barrels
to all 26 guest houses of the helps them
Swiss Alps to age at various altitudes
I’m Jeff
I just retired from the military soul
everything I own and now I’m a travel
around the world to learn from reviews
winemakers distillers and tell their
story this is my journey a beer wine and
hi my name is Kuno
welcome to home distillery Santa’s mold
started producing whiskey in 1999 was
one of the first whiskey produces in
Switzerland one of the first three
because before 1999 it was in not
allowed in in Switzerland to produce
alcohol or spirits from basic food
resources such as potatoes grain corn
right there is no Swiss vodka or whiskey
officially produced before 1999 so in
the beginning it was more like Bobby Orr
or trying not to produce a single malt
whiskey as they do in Scotland intention
of the current owner Carlos was to
somehow produce a spirit and take the
flavors of beer cask that is his anchor
sirs were already using because before
we were producing whiskey the main
business of our company is producing
beer so we’re a brewery that was founded
in 1886 still family-owned so yeah the
idea of of Carlotta was that he wanted
not a single malt whiskey he wanted
those ancient flavors coming from those
fifty to a hundred year old beer barrels
that had been in use in his family it’s
their beer barrel maturation that makes
our whiskey different than every other
whiskey what the beer barrel does it
gives like a basic ground sweetness to
the whiskey which is because of the malt
sugar that’s been in the wood for
decades for all of our whisky have like
a basic ground sweetness they’re very
malty they smell and taste like as if
you walk through a brewery they’re
mostly very light very fruity lots of
basic beer maturation has a lots of
apple pear that sweetness from the malt
sugar brings like a like a slight
vanilla and a caramel note to the whisky
and therefore in Switzerland it it
attracts many people not specifically
that the Scotch enthusiast but just the
open-minded spirits drinker if you like
whisk is just very very interesting to
see what the barrel does we will walk
through the mountains you will taste 26
completely different whiskeys
but they’re all made from the
same ground spirit we have some matured
in ROM barrels in cognac in the apron
sherry port different red wines French
red wines with red wine different wood
types for a whisky enthusiast it’s just
interesting to see what what the wood
actually makes some say that the barrel
makes a third after of the taste I would
say it’s about at least half when we
started in 2015 that there were two
major efforts that had to be done one
was getting 26 different types of barrel
to produce 26 different types of whiskey
that are actually like day and night
both good but but completely different
that was hard and then getting those
arrows up at the hill was sometimes a
task itself like it was like 50 years
ago some still bring up their material
like drinks whisky barrels for example
by horse by manpower if there just is no
path they people have to bring it up
there and it was also nice to see that
many of the restaurant owners like build
their own style of how to to present and
how to lay down the barrel someone’s
hanging to parallel up in a tree
something like a little whiskey hut in
or outside the restaurant one barrel is
talking in an earth hole so there’s also
interesting to see how the whiskey
we just started the whisky Trek here
first stop at Evan up am i saying
exactly exactly and what it is is we got
26 26 total stops through the whiskey
Trek and we’re only gonna get to
probably about eight or nine of them
we’re gonna try to shoot for nine and
what you get is this little book here
and every one we stopped at we give this
coupon and they take it and rip it off
and get this little bottle bottle that
you can either drink bring home collect
put it in the frame yeah or drink it and
come again to get a second one to put it
in your frame okay so and you can start
a whiskey track like pretty much in
every restaurant you want like you can
buy the the the coupon booklet in our
visitor center but at the same time in
every restaurant today you start yeah
again there’s no order you can you could
start here you can start at the top at
st. is you can start pretty much
anywhere just the magic number is 26
like an individual tour you go hiking as
you would go it’s not not a specific
route that is recommended or again this
just to recap what’s going on this
morning we started about 6:30 we already
collected two bottles of whiskey and we
are actually on our third mountain to
collect our third bottle and kuno tell
us where the mountain we’re heading to
well next up will be a gust outside plus
we still have a lot of paths and
whiskey’s ahead of us
oh yeah you guys two things I love
whiskey and hiking
producing so many different whiskeys
and for almost 20 years now soon after a
couple of years this guy said Monza from
Mountain restaurant niggas up he was a
whisky fan from the first minute on and
after a couple of years he asked if he
could buy his own peril he want his own
barrel matured up in the mountain in his
restaurant so they did that and after
three or four years a maturation was
sold quite well and he asked for a
barrel again but since they’re all all
26 restaurants in the Alps land area and
open-cell are organized as a
organisation the other restaurant owners
came out so and said well we saw quite a
good idea we want the same thing so they
teamed up and talked to Carlos and then
I came up with that idea of each
restaurant Henry having his own
individual whisky all combined in
something that we then called whisky
Trek what’s significant about this year
is this is this is the co-creator of the
whisky Trek he didn’t want one bottle
either one two bottles he came to you
guys an app actually asked for a barrel
so we gonna measure now yeah the whisky
Trek we do check all 26 barrels on the
whisky track each year once or twice not
because of the taste because the taste
changes every day I guess as long as
it’s in the cast
the main thing that we have to check is
the amount of alcohol we measure it and
tell the the cask owner how much it is
so he writes the right ABV on the bottle
which is mainly because of a Swiss
Federal alcohol regulations should be
4858 because it has been a hot summer
well it didn’t affected in this fool
building that put you off the hot
summers the alcohol content can also
increase okay talk to me about this this
nice little gadget this is just this
just mississippi pocket handy air yeah
alcohol a meter that up you every every
every house should have yeah I was gonna
say why was it like everyday okay so I
got here about forty nine percent of
maybe I just check what I measured last
time yeah but plus minus 0.5 it’s yeah
yeah perfect condition to lay for a
couple more years
no big deal just walking through the out
raising whiskey track since 2015 we used
so far about 60,000 of those one
deciliter bottles some of the hikers
they collect all 26 of seven some only
get one or two or some that like a small
frame with eight or nine bottles
the nice thing to see on the whiskey
track is that it’s not only like whiskey
enthusiasts or hikers it’s like people
from all age who like to combine like
hiking nature enjoyment it’s not about
the spirit itself it’s just like all
together most people don’t do the
whiskey track in a day or in a week they
just come a weekend in spring a few days
in the summer maybe a day or two in
winter and the whole whiskey track
project itself was never the intention
to sell as much whiskey as possible it
was to do something like for the area
so guys we just finished up with the
whiskey Trek and I want to thank my man
Kuno for taking us on the day and a half
track we finished nine of 26 and of
course you guys know my tradition I am
giving my man Kuno from Saint this malt
Springbank 18-year for taking us around
and showing us a great time man I really
appreciate I would like to thank you
first for I make that whole trip like
safe time it took us 12 hours today we
did I didn’t know what to expect from an
American I get quite a good job thanks a
lot for this marvelous whiskey probably
the second-best brand on state no it was
a pleasure having you here and can’t
wait for you to come back to do the rest
of it to be continued you guys see you next time thanks again Kudo
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