So this week we start in Austria after leaving Liechtenstein, with our first stop being the Old Raven distillery. The distillery was added to the Rabenbräu brewery in 2004 by Andreas Schmidt, where more than 250,000 liters per year of beer are produced. The wash from the brewery is used in the distillation if the single malt, around 2000 liters per year are produced. The spirit is triple distilled before being filled into ex PX sherry casks that have been used to mature Islay whisky first. They have a couple of expressions available at the moment, these are Old Raven, Old Raven Smokey, they also do special labels and cask strength fillings as individual bottlings. Each expression is available to purchase in 35cl, 50cl and 1.5l bottles.
From Old Raven we head to the Reisentbauer distillery near Linz, founded in 1994 and whisky since 1995. This family-owned farm distillery specialising in brandies and fruit schnapps, producers a small range of malt whisky. Being equipped with five 350 litre stills that are heated by hot water instead of steam, which according to owner Hans Reisentbauer allows for a more delicate and gentle new make spirit. They use local barley and have a 70 hour long fermentation that takes place in a stainless steel washback, producing around 20,000 litres of pure alcohol per year that is destined for whisky. The current range includes a 7 year old at 43% abv , a 12 year old 48 % abv matured entirely in Trockenbeerenauslese wine casks and a 15 year old at 48% abv.
We now leave Austria to head for the Czech Republic and one of the oldest whisky distilleries in Europe. Being founded in 1877 and producing whisky from day one, we head to the Gold Cock distillery. The only whisky distillery in the Czech Republic owned by Rudolf Jelinek who,is also the leading producer of Plum brandy in the Czech Republic. They have four expressions to choose from, a 3 year old blended whisky, a 12 year old single malt and two limited edition single malts a 1992 and a 1995. The spirit is double distilled before being matured in bohemian oak barrels. One of the most interesting parts of this distillery is the visitors centre, it’s not just a visitor centre is called distillery land. I suppose it’s a mini theme park based around the production of spirits back in the 1930’s. With sets built to show visitors how this was achived across all stages of production, there is also plans to build a hotel and restaurant and wine cellar at the site.
From leaving the Czech Republic I was going to go to Poland and on to Latvia, I’ve been told that they both have whisky distilleries but I can not find any information on them. So it’s on to Russia and the Praskoveisky winery, as you can tell from the name they mainly produce wine and cognac. In amongst there vast portfolio of drinks they do have two expressions of whisky, the first is a 3 year old and the second is a 6 year old. Both are bottled at 40% abv and from the promotional material they are distilled in the traditional way Irish whiskey is produced, both are made with barley and matured in oak barrels. They seem to be an after thought for the company to me, advertised on their website under the hard liquors section and also as a novelty as well. Hopefully this is just a start for the company and more will come from them.
That’s where I will leave this week, with the journey heading towards Scandinavia next.