The Pradlo Distillery located in the western part of Czechoslovakia decided they would take their kick at the can and create a single malt whisky. They purchased and installed a traditional cast iron hammer mill, used Czech barley and 100% Czeck oak barrels. In October of 1989 they laid down several barrels of the single malt whisky (coincidentally within weeks, the Berlin wall fell and the collapse of the Soviet Dominion over Eastern Europe began). The barrels lay sleeping while the world changed around us, for 20 years. Bottled in 2009 and named Hammer Head (after the mill), it was available to the European market but in small amounts. How Oliver got a bottle is beyond me but he snuck into our blind tasting. I rated it 3rd out of the 5 whiskies we had to guess. I was way off with what I thought it was: An Auchentoshan?!
HAMMER HEAD, CZECHOSLOVAKIAN SINGLE MALT, 20 YEARS OLD, 40.7% ABV
Color: Dark gold. Almost has a slight orange tint to it. Legs plentiful, but not very thin. Fairly a slow moving and viscous whisky.
Nose: Very aromatic, I noted rum raisin ice cream, vanilla, lemon mousse. Really light scents. With water (bad idea), it went to honey, but not much more.
Palate: Muted compared to nose. Although I did taste sweet toffee. Hints of spice but fairly noticeable - nutmeg, or a bit of dried cinnamon. With water, hints of a grapefruit pith. Became a bit sour in nature as far as flavors.
Finish: Short to medium, wicked aftertaste that stayed with me for quite some time (kinda like burnt plastic!?) A bit of spice, like a white pepper.
Empty glass: Lemon sour candies
Oddly enough this whisky really surprised me when I found out where it was from, for two reasons. A) I didn't even know whisky was made in that country and B) I could have swore this whisky was about 3-10 years old. Goes to show??? I doubt I'll ever have the opportunity to own this let alone try it again. BUT I have to say the one thing I really loved about this is that it inspired me to try whiskies no matter where they are from. It's a different type of whisky and I can't help but want to ask someone a million questions with regards to the chemistry, barley, oak, colder climate, etc..
So, if you have this whisky, good for you. If you get offered this whisky, accept it graciously. If you see it on a bar shelf, TRY it. Get my drift? Try it, at least once. And, if you think of me, even better.
Tonight, long flight to India. I'm going to be a pooped Lassie, but a happy one. Cheers all!
On trail, gallabading across Europe at break neck speeds!