Nettle smoke and the use of nettles in cooking and smoking food have been utilized for many hundreds of years, perhaps over 1000 years, in Denmark.

The Danish Distillery Fary Lochan uses nettle smoke for their whisky, which gives it a unique flavor. I’ll return to that in a moment, but first, a bit about the nettle itself.

Nettles are readily available and provide a distinctive smoke, and they have other properties besides just flavor. They have also been used medicinally and even for textiles.

I believe most people see nettles as an annoying weed today, which doesn’t offer much benefit. But if I should mention some of the good aspects of nettles, it would be that they are rich in vitamins, especially A, C, K, and several B vitamins. They have a relatively high protein content and also contain many important minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and silicon.
Nettles have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation and pain.
They have diuretic properties that can help reduce water retention in the body, and they are known for their blood-cleansing properties, which can help improve liver and kidney function.
Nettles have been used to treat conditions like arthritis, allergies, eczema, and kidney problems over time.

Fary Lochan has taken a family tradition of smoking cheese with nettles and transferred it to the smoking of the malt for their whisky.
Since there are several traditions in Denmark of using nettle smoke for smoking food, among other things, several people have described how the flavor profile of nettle smoke can be.

Flavor Profiles of Fresh Nettle Smoke:
Smoke from fresh nettles is often described as having a range of complex aromas, including:

  • Herbal: Reminiscent of fresh parsley, basil, or oregano
  • Earthy: Gives a deep, mineral character
  • Citrus: Creates a slight acidity and freshness
  • Green Pepper: Adds a touch of spice and warmth
  • Honey-like: Provides sweetness and smoothness

These aromas can vary depending on various factors, such as the growing location of the nettles, drying method, and the smoking technique used.

The exciting part now is – how does it affect the whisky?
Fary Lochan smokes their malt for the whisky themselves. They have a very primitive setup with an old “fireplace” where they light a fire and pile it high with fresh nettles. The chimney is fitted with a pipe that leads the smoke to a cart with the malt, and here the magic happens under the lid of the cart.

It does not become a heavily smoked whisky, but a fresh whisky where you are treated to a taste that is markedly different from the more traditional peat-smoked whiskies. In this one, it could be said that the level is around 15 ppm, and by comparison, many of the whiskies coming from Islay in Scotland are around 40-55 ppm, so it’s on the mild side.

The nettles provide a unique flavor, and here you get full value since the whisky has been aged in ex-Bourbon casks. The combination is good. The sweet vanilla notes from the cask complement the nettle smoke, also taming some of the harsher smoke notes. Nettle smoke from fresh plants can sting the eyes, but if we translate that to flavor, this is where I think it gets tamed. You get a gentler smoke. The mineral, earthy, pepper, and citrus notes come through nicely. Fary Lochan’s new make has a fantastic freshness and lovely citrus character that pairs well with the smoke from the nettles.

๐˜ฟ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก๐™š๐™ง๐™ฎ: Fary Lochan
๐™‰๐™–๐™ข๐™š: Vinter (Winter)
๐™Ž๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ: De fire รฅrstider (Four Seasons)
๐™๐™ฎ๐™ฅ๐™š: Single Malt
๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ฎ: Denmark
๐˜ผ๐™œ๐™š: 4 Years old (4.5 years)
๐˜ผ๐™ก๐™˜ %: 54
๐˜พ๐™–๐™จ๐™ ๐™จ: 2014-14 & 2014-15 Ex-Bourbon
๐˜ฝ๐™–๐™ฉ๐™˜๐™: 02
๐™Ž๐™ข๐™ค๐™ ๐™š๐™™: Nettle Smoke
๐˜พ๐™๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก-๐™›๐™ž๐™ก๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™š๐™™: No
๐™‰๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™–๐™ก ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ก๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง: Yes
๐˜ฟ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ก๐™ก๐™š๐™™ ๐™ž๐™ฃ: July 2014
๐˜ฝ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™š๐™™ ๐™ž๐™ฃ: February 2019
๐™‡๐™ž๐™ข๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™™: 683 bottles

๐Ÿ…ผ๐Ÿ†ˆ ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ†‚๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ธ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…ถ ๐Ÿ…ฝ๐Ÿ…พ๐Ÿ†ƒ๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ†‚

Grilled bell pepper, dried basil, vanilla, a bit of citrus and preserved pears, and a hint of the distinctive nettle smoke.
Oily, fruity, a bit of red pepper, citrus, caramel, a long taste of a soft earthy basil flavor mixed with salty licorice, vanilla, and wood.
Medium-long, mild dark chocolate, dried basil, salt, a bit of the grilled bell pepper that has a bit of sweet and bitter in it, gentle smoke that lingers.

๐Ÿ…พ๐Ÿ†…๐Ÿ…ด๐Ÿ† ๐Ÿ…ฐ๐Ÿ…ป๐Ÿ…ป
It is an exciting and lovely whisky with a different taste. The “Winter” variation has been discontinued from Fary Lochan’s regular lineup, but they still make their nettle-smoked whisky, which comes as Limited Editions, such as Smoke & Sherry.

By Whisky Adventurer

Behind the name Whisky Adventurer is Lars Modvig Hesselberg. In short, I enjoy immersing myself in all aspects of the whisky world. I enjoy the stories, the people, the scents, the development, the taste, the variety, the big ones, the small ones, the distilleries and much more. Telling and passing on knowledge and experiences through speech, writing and pictures is a big part of the whole experience for me.