By Richard Thomas
Nestled into the Alpine foothills of Italy’s South Tyrol, Puni Distillery bills itself as Italy’s first malt whisky-maker. The family-owned and -operated concerned set up shop in 2010, installed Forsyth’s-made mashtun and stills, and began production in 2012.
The spirit from those initial production runs were released earlier this year as a pair of young single malts, Novo and Alba. They were, however, different creations from the Puni whisky covered here. Batch 1 of both expressions were bottled at a whopping 54% abv, whereas Batch 2 of Puni Nova was bottled at a more typical 43%. The price is different too, with the current version of Puni Nova costing less than half as much as that first Batch 1.
This is indeed as new a whisky as the name implies, being a three year old aged in American and European oak, and it shows in the glass. The color has just a trace of yellow in it, going beyond pale straw and into the territory of bleached straw. The nose shows that youth too, smacking of green bananas and sweet-but-grainy cereals in about equal measure.
Compared to the clear, crisp scent, the flavor was relatively mild, and the liquid sat light on the palate. It reminded me very much of melon smeared with honey, which made the finish something of a shock. The aftertaste veered sharply into a grainy astringency, but left a pleasant ball of warmth in my chest.
For something so young, Puni Nova is an interesting dram. I’ve had malts from Scotland that were twice as old and not even half as good, so this is a worthy start. That said, Nova represents whisky that is just past the post in terms of maturation, so it is still just that: a start.
Puni Nova for Batch 2 and onwards will reportedly retail at €59.