whisky interview with juuls vin & spiritus In Conversation With: Mads Struwe, Juul's Vin & Spiritus

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Could you please introduce yourself explaining your role at Juul’s Vin & Spiritus and share your story of how you first fell in love with whisky?

My name is Mads B. Struwe and I work as the Manager of Juuls Vin & Spiritus in Copenhagen, for the last 4 years. My love story with whisky is a bumpy one. I was introduced to single malt in the beginning of the 90s, where I found whisky to be a demanding spirit. 15 years later one of my colleagues poured me a 34 year old cask strength Port Dundas grain for me, and I was sold! Slowly I have worked my way through smooth sherry cask whisky to super peated whisky and I now enjoy a whole range of whisky.


How many whiskies do you currently have on your shelves at Juul’s Vin & Spiritus?

We are one of Scandinavia's best stocked whisky shops with around 1500 whiskies.


How has the whisky scene in Denmark evolved since you started? And would you say there is a difference in consumer palates in Denmark vs. the rest of Europe?

I think the Danish whisky scene is very different to the rest of Europe, Danes are quite curious, and are very interested all of the new interesting distilleries. There is one big difference in that we have some very interesting newly established distilleries in Denmark, that are starting to release some very interesting whiskies. Distilleries such as Stauning, Nyborg and Ærø.


As well as your retail shop, of course we want to talk about your independent bottling operation. What led to you first selecting and independently bottling whisky exclusively for Juul's?

We don’t see ourselves as independent bottlers, but our owner Michael Madsen was one of the first in Denmark to import high quality whisky. Over our lifetime we have built very good relations with distilleries and independent bottlers around the whole world. We are lucky to get invited to taste a lot of whisky and when we find the right cask, we purchase the whole cask and have it bottled for Juuls Vin & Spiritus.


With so many independent bottlings in Scotland and across Europe at the moment, how do you make an impression?

I think that our strength is that, we don’t need to have a steady release of bottlings, but can wait until we find the perfect cask, and it is getting hard and hard to find the perfect cask, which offers something special at an reasonable price.


How do you source casks that you select for Juul's? Do you usually work with brokers, distilleries or private owners?

We work with distillers and brokers, and when we find a cask that speaks to our hearts, we get it bottled in either one of our series or as a single cask for Juuls / Denmark. There is not a set of specific set of criterias, for us the magic happens in the tasting room, when we are introduced to the right cask, and our hearts start to beat, We say yes to buy the cask.


If you had to pick, which would be your favourite independent bottling from Juul’s Vin & Spiritus, either current or past?

That is a hard question but the answer must be some of our PING, PING 1 Ardbeg from 1972, PING 2 Highland Park 1977 or Balmenach 32 Years Flying Pigs. And the newest Ten Cane Ping 15 from Trinidad 10 years.


How do you ensure that the whiskies you feature in your shop and select for independent bottlings stay relevant and appeal to whisky consumers' changing palates?

I think our strength is we know the distilleries and our final customers from our daily contact in the shops, we have that knowledge from both sides of the street, what the distillers are working on and what the whisky drinker likes, and we are able to match the two.


Which are your favourite Scottish distilleries? And do you have a favourite distillery you believe is under-rated but produce great spirit?

We are very fond of Campbeltown and I think that a distillery like Glen Scotia, has very big potential, the list of favourites is way to long to bring.