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Issue 106 - A Flirtatious Spirit

Whisky Magazine Issue 106
September 2012


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A Flirtatious Spirit

Ian Buxton heads north to find a Distillery in a basement

Inspired by Highland Park, built by Forsyths and commissioned with the help of William Meikle (formerly manager at Glen Ord) you might expect to find Teerenpeli in a Scottish glen somewhere.

But no, it's in the basement of a restaurant on the main street of Lahti, a quiet city of around 100,000 some 60 miles north-east of Helsinki. A pleasant train ride of about an hour will get you there from Finland's capital – and it's well worth making the trip.

Excluding the all-but-unavailable Panimoravintola Beer Hunter (as we must because you can't get it), Teerenpeli is Finland's only whisky distiller, a status that only became possible after 1995 following changes in Finnish law that removed the state monopoly on the production of alcohol. Owner Anssi Pyysing began by brewing beer in a microbrewery in 1995 and opened his distillery in 2002.

The brewery has gone from strength to strength and now occupies its own site on the outskirts of the city. As it outgrew the restaurant basement Pyysing began toying with the idea of distilling.

At first he imported casks from Scotland which were finished in Finland and then bottled. Demand and interest grew and in 2002 he took the first steps to creating the distillery, one of the first micro plants constructed by Forsyths of Rothes. On a trip to Scotland he had met William Meikle, the manager at Glen Ord, who encouraged him to believe that distilling on this scale was not only possible but could be done well. By 2003 Teerenpeli was in pro...

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