Neither “scotch” nor Irish. The new whiskey is Greek and is made in Larissa! In two or three years we can see it in the cellars and on the shelves of shops displacing traditional Scottish firms. It currently comes in a few bottles, is tested by drinkers and its maker negotiates with distilleries to take over mass production.
Made in Larissa whiskey has all the characteristics and taste of Scotch, but is prepared differently: The raw material is not barley, but Greek wine undergoing triple distillation.
Its inspirer is a Larissa soldier, the current retired squadron leader Argyris Taramonlis, who has devoted almost two decades to research and experimentation to create a “Greek” whiskey that will not differ from traditional Scotch.
In 1994 he started experimenting with wine, creating a high quality final product. A few years later he thought of extending his whiskey trials. He had the idea to try to make it from wine, which he had in abundance as a producer.
According to Mr. Taramonlis, making whiskey from wine needs special attention: the wine must be clean and without wood spirit, so that the final product tastes like pure alcohol. Others had tried to make whiskey from wine before, but their final product tasted like tsipouro! On the contrary, what he makes is no different from whiskey.
His method: The wine is distilled three times and the distillate has alcohol 70 vol. Because water also offers whiskey flavors, it uses bottled water from two specific companies. It is added to the alcohol to bring the drops to 55 vol.
But the barrel is everything because in there the whiskey acquires its characteristic taste and the “caramel” color. He found the right 50 liter barrel in the city of Bodegrad in Bulgaria, handmade and made from French oak that gives special aromas. The product of the three distillations entered this barrel in 2010. After two years of maturation, the first whiskey made in Greece came out.
He bottled it and distributed it for free, for drinkers to try and make comments, remarks and suggestions. The acceptance was very good – it seemed that the product could “walk” in the market.
The retired squadron leader continues the tests, constantly improving his product. At the same time, it negotiates with beverage companies and distilleries for the conclusion of mass production contracts.
It is pointed out that the Whiskey was created in the Middle Ages by Irish monks and then became almost synonymous with Scotland, of which it is now a national product. The barley is prepared with raw material, which is wetted and fermented before going to the mill and the distillery.