Whisky Magazine Issue 128
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Hans takes a whisky tour of the Netherlands
The Netherlands is considered a mature whisky market by a large number of whisky producers and importers. Picture a country of about 13,000 square miles, densely populated with 17 million inhabitants. By comparison, Scotland is more than twice as large with only 5.3 million people. Last year's figures from The Scotch Whisky Assocation (SWA) showed The Netherlands at fourth place in the top 20 whisky importing countries in Europe and its annual consumption of whisky rose by 8 per cent. Fourth is a bit flattering. Much whisky destined for Europe arrives in the port of Rotterdam and and is then transported to many other countries.
The Netherlands has a lot to offer for the whisky lover with a series of excellent whisky shops, such as De Koning, Verhaar Van Wees and WhiskyBase, which are stocked to the ceiling with wonderful single malts and blends from Scotland, Ireland and Japan, flanked by Bourbon, rye and other varieties of the cratur. Let's start with a distillery tour.
From Schiphol Airport it is a good two hour drive to the south where Zuidam Distillers proudly produces a fine series of whiskies in Baarle-Nassau. The company was founded in 1975 and firmly grounded in the distillation of jenever (Dutch gin) but decided to branch out in other spirits, producing delicious fruit distillates, vodka and, since 1999, genuine single malt whisky and even a 100 per cent rye. CEO Patrick Zuidam is a respected judge at various international spirits competition. The company bott...