The main idea behind the first official Box whisky was to be able to present a relatively traditional bottling from Bourbon casks. And frankly, three years is quite a short time when it comes to storing whisky, so we knew we had to use quite large quantities of peated whisky for the first bottling in order to take the edge of the finished product’s youthful qualities. We now know that The Box Unpeated Recipe stands up more than well in the competition, however youthful it may be, and that there wasn’t really any need to hide or masque the youthfulness.
50% unpeated and 35% peated whisky (31ppm) matured for three years in Bourbon ‘Ankare’ (40 litres) and 15% unpeated whisky matured for two years in 200-litre Bourbon casks and that’s been finished in 100-litre casks of charred, new Swedish oak. The light smoky whisky has a clear but moderate peat flavour. The elements of Swedish charred oak contribute with spices and notes of caramel and butterscotch as well as some deeper colour. The Pioneer has been neither chill filtered nor coloured.
Yeast: Fermentis Safwhisky M-1
Unpeated malt: Pilsner malt from Vikingmalt in Halmstad, barley mix of Tipple/Quench/Astorian as well as Tipple/Quench/Publican.
Peated malt: Pilsner malt from Castle Maltings in Belgium, barley mix of Henley (70%) and Sebastian (30%). Dried with Scottish peat achieving a phenol level of 31ppm.
Process water: From the Bålsjön Lake, some five kilometres from the distillery, filtered through sand and carbon filters.
Cooling water: From the Ångerman River (between 3.0 and 5.5 degrees)
Batches: 18–37, 40–47
Batch size: 1.2 tons of malt.
Average yeasting time: 79 hours in stainless steel washbacks.
Distilled: between the 8th of February and the 30th of March 2011. A total of 53 distillations.
Average low wine distillation: 5 hours 47 minutes.
Unpeated recipe: 10 minutes (foreshots)
Peated recipe: 30 minutes (foreshots)
Unpeated recipe: 67% ABV (20°C)
Peated recipe: 59% ABV (20°C)
All casks were submitted to aroma controls before filling. Any divergent aromas in the Bourbon casks, apart from the expected vanilla and butterscotch, were noted in the cask log. In these casks, elements of somewhat unusual flavours such as strawberries, mandarins, pralines, rose hip, oranges, liquorice, grass, rum raisin and candy were found.
On the 5th of April 2011, 35 Bourbon ‘Ankare’ were filled with unpeated spirits with an alcohol level of 71.6% ABV. On the 16th and 17th of April the same year, 21 Bourbon ‘Ankare’ were filled with peated (31ppm) spirits with an alcohol level of 67.7% ABV. And on the 21st of March and the 15th of May 2011, 4 100-litre casks of Swedish charred oak casks were filled with 2-year-old unpeated spirits matured in 200-litre Jack Daniels casks since the 16th of March. The original alcohol level was 72.8 ABV.
The Swedish oak comes from Ljungby and Mönsterås and has been seasoned outdoors for 36 months.
The whisky was subsequently matured in a damp warehouse and alcohol levels dropped by about 6% in all casks. In total 2,175 kg of whisky, with an alcohol level of 64.27% was emptied. Alcohol level was adjusted to the predetermined level of 48.1% during bottling.
The Pioneer was bottled in a batch of 6,508 bottles of which 5,000 were released to the public on the 5th of June 2014. The remaining bottles were reserved for our stockholders.
We recommend that you allow The Pioneer at least half an hour for aerating before sampling.