Aging: New charred oak and used Szekszárdi red wine barrels
Ingredients: Corn (60%), Tritikale (40%) (wheat/rye crossing)
The Gemenc Distillery is Hungary’s smallest commercial distiller, and the country’s only distillery that specializes in whiskey. Owner / master distiller / blender Lajos Szöke produces about 30,000 bottles a year of mostly bourbon-style whiskey. The wild boar on the label (and the life-sized wild boar statue, named Csabi, in the barrel aging room) is homage to the distillery’s location in southern Hungary, just outside the gorgeous Gemenc national park (in the village of Pôrböly).
Whiskey regulations are set by the EU, and specify that all spirits called whiskey must be aged in barrels for at least three years (as per Scottish whisky). All Gemenc whiskeys are aged in either new Hungarian Zempléni oak barrels (which give the final product a darker colored ones) or in new acacia barrels (which gives a more golden color). Some Gemenc whiskeys get additional aging in used barrels (after the aging in the new barrels is finished). For example, the “Red Whiskey”—a tribute to the nearby Szekszárd wine region—spends additional time aging in used Szekszárdi Kadarka barrels. Szöke gets his inspiration from American and Austrian distilleries, and most of the whiskeys are bourbon style. All Gemenc whiskeys are unfiltered and made in single barrel batches—with each bottle hand-numbered—so there are many novelties and different styles. Gemenc uses nine types of grains, which are mostly grown locally.