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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Denmark Stauning Whiskey

Stauning Single Malt Danish  Whisky

The story of Stauning Whiskey started during a weekend in May 2005 a group of nine friends were enjoying a glass or two of Scotch single malt whisky, and  wondering why no whiskey was made in Denmark.


All the conditions are present. The climate, malting and well water. This discussion  was replaced by curiosity. They decided that they simply had to try to create a Danish single malt whiskey.


At a  former butchers the group had some rooms available. However they needed some time to get them restored and approved by the Danish Food Agency to produce whiskey.


TAX ( Danish Agency) was contacted to have the various applications approved, as there was a wide range of authorities to be contacted before whiskey production could commence


When the permits were in place, they could finally buy the essential equipment - copper pot stills are not exactly a standard item, so they ended up getting two custom-hand-made pot stills from Spain and shipping them to Denmark. One wash still 400 litres and a spirit still 200 litres.


Whilst waiting for the sills to be delivered they  resolved the other production problems of, malting the barley, drying oven, mashing, fermentation, etc.


The first distillation

In August 2006 - on a Friday night -Saturday morning - They distilled for  the first time. After a normal working day they met to start the very first distillation.


The stills were lit and around 2.00am the first drops started to run from the twisted copper tubing of the condenser.  A great moment. Finally, they could see all the hours that had gone into the project were coming to fruition.


The next hour flew away and they could follow the route in the flavour development from the head's first drops, until the far more balanced heart, and eventually terminate in a flattened tail. .


In subsequent months they continued  test production. There were many things that could be optimized and improved, as production became more efficient.


In autumn 2006 they were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet with Jim Murray and let him taste the spirit from their first test production. This meeting changed all their plans.


Although they felt that their new spirit tasted good and believed it could become a good whiskey, they were nervous as to how one of the world's leading experts would respond.


Fortunately, his reaction was very positive. He told them that they should have bigger plans than the 2400 litre per annum.  Jim Murray had tasted a version that was made with smoked barley. He compared the result favourably with an Ardbeg from the'70s. A better comparison,  they could not have dreamed of.


Following the meeting with Jim Murray The next year and a half went to find out how they  could realize the dream of making a  viable full time whiskey distillery they eventually  came up with a plan to produce 68.000 litres of whiskey a year.


In November 2007 they purchased a farm a few kilometres outside the city of Vestjyske Stauning. Many hours, evenings and weekends went into planning applications and conversion of the former farm into a proper Scottish style whisky distillery.


In March 2009 the premises were ready for production and now only had to be approved by the Danish Food Agency. thankfully without problems, they were ready to begin to malt the first barley and started production of a Danish single malt whiskey!


During March and April 2009 they started to malt both a plain and smoked barley, and in late April they begin to distil.


So approximately 4 years after their initial  discussion they finally started  production of a true Danish single malt whiskey. A whiskey of the highest quality, which they  themselves are responsible for, all elements of production, from the barley they receive from farmers, to the labels on the  bottles.


They look forward to sharing their experiences and interests. Both when you enjoy a glass of  Stauning whiskey, and when you visit the distillery for a talk and tour.


Stauning Distillery Founders

Consist of a group of friends from such diverse backgrounds as engineering, teacher, chef, butcher, pilot and doctor, and an age range from early 30s to late 50s. From the  1st  May 2009 one of the nine founders became a  full-time employee at the distillery The remaining eight are increasingly spending more segments of free time at the distillery.



They have chosen to take an active part in all details of production, from receiving  the barley from farmers to the golden liquid in the bottle. So that they can ensure that at no point they will compromise on quality. It is very important to them that the final result is a whiskey of the highest quality.


Also it allows guests to see all parts of a whiskey production when they visit the distillery in Stauning.



On site malting of  Danish grown barley either hot air dried or for a smoked barley dried over peat sourced  from the Klosterlund Museum in Herning the only place in the country where peat can be obtained.


Two Stage Distillation

The primary stills are a 1000 litre wash still and a  600 litres spirit still.The second set consists of a 400 litre wash still and one spirit still of 200 litres.


After distilling the new spirit is diluted down to 63.5% alcohol then put into first fill ex-bourbon casks from Makers Mark .


Stauning Single Malt Whiskey 1st Editions 


The first releases of the Stauning Whiskey will be in two expressions. A Standard malt whiskey (Traditional Reserve) and a Smoky Malt Whisky (Peated Reserve) approximately 750 bottles of each whisky will be released initially .


Stauning Peated Reserve 1st Edition 

Will be a smoky whiskey that will appeal to Islay fans.


Stauning Traditional Reserve 1st Edition

Will be a sweet, round and balanced whiskey that will attract most.

Traditional Reserve will not use peat smoke dried malted barley .


Both whiskies will be bottled on exactly the same day during the summer of 2012.


Special Editions


There are also plans for experimentation, so that other cask types will be used. Notably sherry and port barrels.


Images and notes supplied by the Stauning Distillery.