The Festival

The Festival 2014

We felt that any whisky festival of note should have its own special edition bottling. A bottling that is a true limited edition and can only be acquired by actually visiting the Box Whisky Festival. And of course – it should be a unique bottling that stands out and represents the high quality standards.

When we at Box acquire newly produced casks we normally pre-fill them with spirits for 5–6 months in order to extract some of the strong aromas that come from virgin oak. This creates a whole lot of extra work and need for planning, but is of utmost importance in order to achieve a harmonious maturation during the first filling.

For The Festival 2014 we tried something new. 16 ‘Ankare’ of American Oak were pre-filled with 34 to 35-month-old spirits from 100-litre Bourbon casks during a period of five months. The American Oak had been air-dried for 24 months and was medium+ toasted before charring. All of this represented a quite unique combination that resulted in a deeper and sweeter spiciness than one normally gets from charred American Oak. The combination of the Bourbon casks and new American Oak resulted in both interesting and exciting aromas as well as a beautiful colouring suitable for our first festival bottling.

Like every bottling from Box, The Festival 2014 has been neither chill-filtered nor coloured.

Ingredients

Malt: Peated pilsner malt from Castle Maltings in Belgium, barley mix of Henley/Sebastian. Dried using Scottish peat.
Batch size: 1,200 kg of malt / 6,300 litres of wort.
Process water: From The Bålsjön Lake, filtered through sand and carbon filters.
Yeast: Fermentis Safwhisky M-1.
Cooling water: From The Ångerman River.

Batch 18–27:
Malt: 31ppm phenols.
Average yeasting time: 81 hours in stainless steel washbacks. Distilled between the 8th and the 23rd of February 2011. 18 distillations included.
Average low wine distillation: 6 hours 1 minute.
First cut: 30 minutes (foreshots)
Second cut: 59% ABV (20°C)

Batch 56–66:
Malt: 39ppm phenols.
Average yeasting time: 79 hours in stainless steel washbacks. Distilled between the 2nd and the 19th of May 2011. 22 distillations included.
Average low wine distillation: 5 hours 28 minutes.
First cut: 30 minutes (foreshots)
Second cut: 60% ABV (20°C)

Maturation

All casks were submitted to aroma controls before filling. No divergent aromas were found apart from the expected vanilla and butterscotch.

Four 100-litre first fill Bourbon casks were filled with 67.7% ABV peated spirits (31ppm) between the 20th and the 21st of April 2011.

Five 100-litre first fill Bourbon casks were filled with 62.9% ABV peated spirits (39ppm) between the 18th and the 22st of April 2011.

The casks were stored in a damp warehouse and alcohol levels decreased by about 4% in all casks.

On the 27th of March 2014, 16 40-litre casks of American Oak were filled with 61.1% ABV matured peated spirits (averaging at 35ppm).

On the 16th of September 2014 the whisky was blended and the strength reduced using water to 53.5% ABV.

700 numbered bottles were produced as the official festival bottling. The remaining whisky was reduced to 53.7% ABV and some was bottled as ‘non-official’ bottles and the rest transferred to Bourbon casks for future use.

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Facts

Alcohol: 53.5% ABV
Age: Three years, 116 days
Phenol: 35ppm (malt)
Casks: First fill Bourbon, finished in virgin American Oak
Number of bottles: 700
Bottle volume: 50 cl
Price: SEK 889

The Festival 2015

For the Box Whisky Festival in 2014, we presented the world with our first festival whisky. This year’s edition is similar to its predecessor, with a distinct peat flavour and evident character of charred oak. One huge difference, however, is that all the casks are sized between 100 and 130 litres and that the age is somewhat higher – on an average four years. Two out of five casks are made from Swedish oak.

Recipe

61% of the whisky is made from peated malt (31–45ppm).

The bottling consists of whisky from five casks made from new American and Swedish oak.

In 2014, four out of five casks were filled with 2.5 to 3-year old distillate from Bourbon casks (100 and 130 litres) whereas the fifth was filled, in 2011, with unpeated distillate.

The Festival 2015 is neither chill-filtered nor coloured.

Ingredients

Yeast: Fermentis Safwhisky M-1.
Unpeated malt: Pilsner malt from Vikingmalt in Halmstad, barley mix of Quench/Publican/Henley and Tipple/Quench/Publican.
Peated malt: Pilsner malt from Castle Maltings in Belgium, barley mix of Henley/Sebastian. Dried using Scottish peat, reaching a phenol level of 31, 39 and 45ppm.
Process water: From the Bålsjön Lake, filtered through sand and carbon filters.

Process

Cooling water: From the Ångerman River.
Batches included: 18–27, 56–66, 82–102, 115–121, 173–178.
Batch size: 1.2 tons of malt.
Average yeasting time: 79 hours in stainless steel washbacks.
Distilled: between the 8th of February and the 4th of December 2011.

First cut:
Unpeated Recipe: 13 minutes (foreshots)
Peated Recipe: 30 minutes (foreshots)

Middle cut:
Unpeated Recipe: 67% ABV (20°C)
Peated Recipe: 60% ABV (20°C)

Casks used

The Bourbon casks are produced in sizes of 100 and 130-litres from newly emptied barrels. Aromas from barrels included the expected vanilla and butterscotch together with other lesser aromas.

The American Oak casks are made from White Oak (Quercus alba) and have been seasoned outdoors for 24 months. One of the barrels has been medium toasted and two are charred.

The Swedish Oak casks are made from Swedish Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur) from Nävragöl, outside Karlskrona during October of 2013. They were cut to size in January 2009 and seasoned outdoors for 36 months. The casks then received a medium plus toasting before being charred.

On the 14th of August 2015, 397.6 kg of whisky with an alcohol level of 60.5% was added to a vatting tank. The whisky was then gently oxygenated over 19 hours in order to soften it.

During bottling, the alcohol levels were adjusted to the predetermined level of 54.5%. The Festival 2015 was bottled on the 17th of August 2015 in a series of 700 bottles. The remaining whisky was reduced to 53.3% ABV and was subsequently bottled with a ‘Non-official bottle’ label in a series of 271 bottles.

We recommend giving The Festival 2015 a few minutes of air before drinking. Feel free to add a few drops of water in order to bring the aromas in the glass to life.

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