Name: Hammer Head 1989
Region: Czech Republic
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £46 (Master of Malt)
Taste: Oak, oily, slight sweetness, light
Finish: Dry, oaky, smooth, spicy, light, menthol
A Czech single malt whisky for around £45, a 23 year old one at that, how could I not buy a bottle, I was too intrigued.
So I believe the story goes something like: back in 1989 in what was then Czechoslovakia, the Prádlo Distillery was tasked with producing a whisky to prove they could do what ever the capitalists could. After the fall of the Berlin Wall however, things changed around the distillery and the whisky just got forgotten about, until 2010 that is when they seemed to find it again and began bottling it.
So is it any good? Well it is made from 100% Czech barley and aged in Czech oak barrels so I certainly do not expect it to be like any other whisky I have tried. The nose is very oaky but also sweet, the kind of sweetness you get with ripe orchard fruits. There is also a slight metallic note to it at first but this fades away into a more citrus note with a bit of time. There is something else there too, a slight nuttiness maybe.
Onto the palate and that oak follows with abundance, a slight oily texture also but very light and fresh. I was expecting more of the fruit sweetness to be there but it is quite subtle and almost disappears given time. The finish is again very oaky with a slight dryness and a lovely bit of spice, quite light and smooth at the same time with some menthol qualities coming through once left a while.
Overall it is a pleasant whisky but I feel that the oakiness is the predominant flavour throughout, without giving enough room for other flavours. I mean I like oaky and it is a nice oakiness that is slightly different from what I am used too, I assume the Czech oak has it’s own unique flavours, it’s just that for a 23 year old I was hoping for a little more complexity. But for £45 what can you expect I suppose.