View Full Version : What should I bring?
I've got a trip to Sweden coming up in a few weeks - and on my last visit I promised a friend I'd bring him some good bourbon when I returned. He has a decent whisky collection - shy on those of North American origin (with an "e" in them). So I'm looking for suggestions. What bourbon should I bring to someone who appreciates good whisky, but whose tastes are calibrated to the whiskies available in that part of Europe?
I am sure that the people on this board who are native to those parts will chime in and offer some very helpful advice. I think that I would take some of the better examples of what a good bourbon is: George T. Stagg, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit, Evan Williams Single Barrel, Elmer T. Lee, probably a Van Winkle or two as well.
I think that I would have a harder time deciding what NOT to bring... :grin:
I think a William LaRue Weller would be special and probably pretty hard to get over there.
I, of course, have no idea about your friend´s taste in whiskey. A good starting point, however, would be to check what is and what is not currently available in Sweden. I will provide you with two lists from Sweden´s only (state-controlled) liquor store chain. The first being the standard stock of American whiskeys, the other those you have to special order.
Of those already mentioned, I would say that William LaRue Weller, Stagg and Kentucky Spirit probably would make good gifts.
Permanence is not the key word when it comes to availability of bourbon in Sweden. For instance, the EWSB has recently disappeared. It wasn´t until just now that I discovered that it was gone. Woodford reserve, on the other hand, was gone for more than a year and has just returned to the fold.
http://www.systembolaget.se/Applikationer/Sok/ResultatLista.htm?Sok=Av&SokKriteria=Sprit:0:0::128:0:0:9999:0:0:::::0:0:0: 0:0:0::::::::::::::0:100:0::True:::&Butik=0&SidNr=1&SortKol=namn&Asc=1&SokOrdinarieSort=True&SokVarugrupp=Sprit&SokStrangar=AMERIKANSK+WHISKEY:Alla+l%u00e4nder:Al la+storlekar::::::
http://www.systembolaget.se/Applikationer/Sok/ResultatLista.htm?Sok=Av&SokKriteria=Sprit:0:0::128:0:0:9999:0:0:::::0:0:0: 0:0:0::::::::::::::0:100:0::False:::&Butik=0&SidNr=1&SortKol=namn&Asc=1&SokOrdinarieSort=False&SokVarugrupp=Sprit&SokStrangar=AMERIKANSK+WHISKEY:Alla+l%u00e4nder:Al la+storlekar::::::
As much as we Americans rant about our own crazy liquor laws, I find it interesting that Europe in general, and Scandinavia in particular, seems to have similar problems. Sweden and Norway especially remind me of the "control states" in the USA, with government-owned liquor stores and limited selection.
Has the EU affected this in any way? (Norway isn't part of the EU, of course, but Sweden is.) If a Swedish citizen buys booze in the UK or France, can it be brought back to Sweden duty-free? Could a Danish citizen mail-order liquor from Italy without running afoul of Mr. Customs Man?
Has the EU affected this in any way?
Yes, definitely. This very week the case "The Swedish state monopoly on liquor vs. the free movement of goods within the EU" began in The Supreme Court of The European Union. The bureaucracy runs slooow, though. They will probably take about one year to settle the case.
This state of uncertainty means that, at the moment there is an open war waged between the Swedish customs and transport companies who have specialized in bringing liquor from other EU countries (mostly from Germany) to private citizens. Both parties claim to have the law on their side. This means that the customs confiscate any liquor they can find, which, to be honest, can´t be that much. I order at least six times a year, which I have done since 1999, and I have never been the victim of any seizures.
Generally, I would say that Norway, Sweden and Finland are very similar. All hard liquor is sold through state-controlled outlets. In certain aspects, Finland and Norway is even tougher than us. The links I provided in my previous post would not be possible there because it is illegal for our Norwegian and Finnish counterparts to "strut their stuff" on the Internet.
Denmark has always been looked upon as the "bohemians of Scandinavia". They have a much more relaxed attitude to alcohol. I could be wrong, but I don´t think they have any state-controlled stores. At any rate, I have never seen any.
These are good suggestions. Right now I'm leaning toward ORVW 12 year. I have some extra Stagg from the more recent releases, and some WL Weller but they could be a bit intense at 130-140 proof or so.
What bourbons are generally availble in the Stockholm area? When I visited last year my friend served some "Pennypacker", pleasant, but undistinguished, around 80 proof if I recall. And I don't think he bought it in Sweden.
What bourbons are generally availble in the Stockholm area?
Check my first link. These are usually what would be available in Stockholm. Bourbon is not (yet) a big seller in Sweden which means that most of the interesting stuff will be available thru special order only.
Pennypacker is not available in Sweden. My guess is that it was bought in one of those low-prices border shops that have cropped up in Germany during the recent years. Alternatively, it could have been an Estonia purchase.
What about Black Maple Hill? Which vintage would depend on how much you want to spend. It's small batch and the stuff is fantastic.
A bottle of Wild Turkey Tribute would also be great, it's probably my favorite. Also there are also a couple bottles on Ebay right now if your local liquor stores don't carry it.
I've also got a bottle stashed away if you'd be interested in a trade
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