An Interview with Whisky and Animation
I was fortunate to meet Claus in London last year when he was over for work. Having followed him on Instagram I was eager to meet and show him Hedonism Wines, a store full of incredible bottles of whisky. I was instantly impressed by the depth of his knowledge, especially when chatting with staff. He really knows his stuff!
What is your first memory of whisky?
That must be in high school at a New Year’s party having a Glenfiddich 12 and or was it Jack D nN 7? The first big whisky moment was Midleton – Very Rare (Jameson), when I moved to Kilkenny Ireland in 2006 (such a beautiful expression). I worked there for 2 years doing production management on a television series for BBC. And with my family and friends living in Denmark I traveled a bit back and forth during the holidays and always picked up a bottle either at travel retail or in Dublin for €130. Very elegant and velvety. I recall the old version you could get in 2006 was simply outstanding, one of the best Irish whiskies I have tried along with the RedBreast 27.
What was your first stand out whisky?
The Springbank 12 Years Old Red Thistle, no question! Wonderfully well rounded for a 12 year old, it felt much much older than that. The new SP cask strength 12 year old is also very good no doubt, another favourite of mine. However the red thistle is just a perfect 12 year old statement.
What was the first serious bottle you purchased and why?
It was at my local wine and spirits shop in downtown Viborg and it was The Macallan Fine Oak 25 years (old version/ not the wooden box) for as low as €375 … what a time, miss those. Sorry that may still sound expensive but Macllan has been extremely successful during the past years so the same bottle would go for approx. €1600-2000 at auctions.
How much time do you spend investing in your knowledge of whisky as it runs very deep.
Oh this has become a very dear hobby of mine with so many great friends in our amazing whisky community not only in Denmark but also around the world. So whenever I have time outside my filmmaking career I’ll jump right in researching and contacting friends discussing and talking new releases, barrel selections, finishes etc. meaning sometimes several hours per day.
How did you learn to taste whisky?
I took part in some tastings with more experienced whisky folks and collectors in the beginning. I also watched a ton of online tastings and reviews on YouTube which is always a lot of fun hearing other people’s thoughts. Sharing not only samples but also opinions I find extremely valuable on my whisky journey.
What is our favourite style?
Oh that is hard to answer with so many fantastic different whiskies out there!!! Oloroso Sherry is one alongside having a huge passion for cask strength adding so many more flavours to the table. Smoky/peated whiskies can be excellent, the same as bourbons/rye. Can’t really pick just one … sorry.
Have you been able to visit many distilleries?
Unfortunately not but surly need to change that. I visited our famous Danish distillery STAUNING, who is very known for their young high ABV whiskies.
My job when there is no Covid lock downs, takes me on the road for 120 – 150 days every year so I do travel a lot being fortunate to seek out special releases in various countries but not distilleries yet. We have been talking a lot in our whisky club planning a trip to Scotland this Spring/Summer hopefully and the list is long wanting to experience Islay with Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore, and a few others favourites such as Springbank, Glengoyne and Macallan with their new impressive distillery.
What is the next special bottle you have on your buy list?
The Willett Bourbon purple top 16 years is very high on my list, alongside The Lagavulin 25 – 200th Anniversary Edition from 2016, and we just managed to finally get the Ardbeg 25 years in our whisky club so very thrilled about tasting that one soon.
Do you have any fun whisky related stories?
Let me think 🤔 Sad more than fun : went to a bar in LA for a meeting and I saw they had a Macallan 18 sherry cask from 1990 on the self … pure joy!!! So after the meeting the bar-man realized that I was a big whisky enthusiast…. he unexpectedly poured me a solid glass ( one of those big whisky glasses ) all the way to the top just to be nice! … but it was too much so I couldn’t finish it. Sadly had to leave half the glass as I couldn’t be drunk for my next meeting.
Do you like to pay bar prices to try rare whiskies or do you save your cash for full bottles?
Yes sometimes, especially if it’s a whisky I am not quite sure of…. so before buying a super rare whisky, I’d like to see if it’s worth it so it can be very nice to actually try a pour at a bar if not too expensive. Chasing down those rare unicorns can be a big disappointment. Not only concerning endless hours spent searching for the bottle, then living up to both the time and the price tag which is never easy.
You travel a lot – do you have any favourite cities to drink or buy whisky in?
Seoul is amazing having a ton of fantastic whisky bars and ok fair prices!!! Paris has some great bars too but can be expensive / Austin Texas as well if you are into bourbon and rye. But mostly Los Angeles where I travel to the most offers great selections of Scotch, bourbon, rye and Japanese whiskies in various places.
You have a great number of very serious bottles open in your collection. Does everything get opened or do you invest as well?
Yes most will be opened at one point to try, absolutely! I like to have a collection primarily to enjoy! I’m not much for investing in bottles for their value alone especially if I don’t like the liquid inside at all. Whisky should be about passion.
But something important too:
I do bottle-splits on high-end bottles with close friends of mine. That way the costs are lower and we all get to enjoy. We did this with the Glendronach Gandeur 27 years, the Highland Park 30, WhistlePig 18 and also the Yamazaki 18 just to name a few. Furthermore I have also been very fortunate to taste a Talisker 39 ( 1955 ) The RedBreast 27 Ruby Port Cask, the Pappy Van Winkle 20 years and a Macallan 18 from 1977 thanks to amazing whisky friends.
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