Grill & Distillery Taivaanranta @ Lahti, Finland
If you translate Teerepeli in English the most direct way, it means mating display of the black grouse. In slang or everyday Finnish, it means flirtation. Inspired by Highland Park and some other craft distilleries, Teerenpeli whisky isn’t flirtatious. Like Ian Buxton wrote couple of years ago in the Whisky Magazine, it is well and seriously made. And I must ad, with love for whisky distilling. My hat goes off for owner Anssi Pyysing and his folks at Teerenpeli, for being bold and having the passion to make whisky in Finland. That means financial risk taking and putting your reputation on the line.
In Finland, alcohol making isn’t the best way to make your living, because of our taxing and the general atmosphere, when it comes to alcohol. Finnish government likes to legislate alcohol with a rough hand. For example, if your production is under 200 000 litres per year, you get a 50% relief in taxing. Our prices are very high, the market small and people like to buy their booze from abroad. That is not a good basis for starting a business.
Teerenpeli’s main business is in their restaurants and beer brewing. Whisky is more like a passion for them. So even as a “hobby”, they make good whisky. Teerenpeli is the first commercial single malt whisky maker in Finland. The first ever single malt maker is Panimoravintola Beer Hunter’s in Pori, but they sell only at their local brewery restaurant and not for retail.
Teerenpeli comes from the city of Lahti. They started whisky making in 2002. Teerenpeli was established in 1995 and it has 5 brewery restaurants in different cities across Finland. The barley comes from the region of Päijät-Häme and the malting is made in Viking Malt in Lahti. In distilling they use the local ground water of Salpausselkä. The production is as local as it can get.
In the distillery tour, we got a chance to taste:
- Their New-Make Spirit with over 60% ABV – clean and fruity with strong barley feel
- Teerenpeli 3 year old
- Teerenpeli 8 year old
- Teerenpeli Kaski Distiller’s Choice (aprox. 6YO)
In the words of Ian Buxton: “Highland Park may have been the inspiration but this pioneering Nordic spirit is rapidly making its own way and, once better known, seems set fair to occupy place in world distilling.”
Other Finnish whisky distillers (edited 6/2015):
- Panimoravintola Beer Hunter’s from Pori, make the usually unavailable Old Buck.
- Panimoravintola Koulu from Turku, released Sgoil (Gaelic for koulu=school), their 3YO cask strength single malt in 2013.
- Kyrö Distillery from Isokyrö, is the first Finnish rye whisky distillery. They have started their production 2014.
- Helsinki Distilling Company makes rye and single malt whisky, along with other alcohol, gin for example.
- Valamo Monastery will make peated whisky and some of it will be finished in church wine casks.