Between Japan’s snowballing spirits industry, Tasmania smoking Islay on the international awards stage and India making waves with single-malts, there’s been an undeniably huge swing toward less traditional whiskies in the last decade. While Scotland and the US in particular are bound by laws and traditions dictating their methods and output, other countries have started to perfect their own handle of the craft without being tied to tradition. In the last six years, Italian whisky pioneers Puni have done it all. From selecting a site in the Italian Highlands, building one of the most aesthetically pleasing modern distilleries around from the ground up, installing custom made Scottish-built stills and making their first mash from locally sourced rye.
Their first whiskies are now just over three years old, and they’ve hit the marketplace with a refreshing splash. Offered in two formats; the NOVA is the lighter of the two and is aged in European and American oak. Displaying simple, sweet fruit characteristics indicative of a non-peated whisky (especially the classic combination of banana and vanilla), it’s a delicate balance with a clean finish. The ALBA is Italy’s answer to an Islay malt, with a darker, richer colour garnered from the Sicilian Marsala casks it inhabits for three years before being finished in old Islay whisky casks. The result is dark fruits and cloves with a delicate smokiness. Simply put, these are skillfully crafted Scottish-style sippers brimming with a distinctively bold Italian flair. Malto Bene.