Switzerland is not necessarily known for its whisky. But that’s wrong. Locher, one of the local Appenzell beer breweries, started making whisky back in 1999. In 2010, well-known whisky expert Jim Murray named the Appenzeller Säntis Malt “Dreifaltigkeit” European Whisky of the Year.
Locher’s single malt whisky is named after mount Säntis, the highest peak within the Alpstein mountains in Appenzell. Today, Locher sells six different types of Säntis malt, all distilled with clear Alpstein spring water and matured in old oak beer barrels.
So far so good.
After successfully selling their whisky in a few mountain inns, the idea of a whisky trek was born. Barrels of whisky were hand-carried up the mountains to the 27 inns spread throughout the Alpstein. Thanks to the different height and climate situation of each inn every whisky tastes different.
When you hike up to one or more of these mountain inns, you can reward yourself with a glass of this special whisky while enjoying the splendid panorama. You can also buy a small bottle (100 ml) to take home. Once you are there, you may want to ask the host, cask keeper, to show you the barrels.
Since we are all hunters and collectors, Locher came up with two whisky tours that you can purchase at their shop. There is a short tour, which includes nine bottles, or the full tour, including all 27 bottles. With the purchase you will get a voucher booklet. This will be stamped at every mountain inn and one of the small collector bottles will be handed over at each location. If you select the short tour, you can pick and choose from the full list of participating inns. It is possible combine a few mountain inns on a one-day hiking trip.
Please be aware that some hikes are easier than others. If you are not familiar with the area, I advise to check your planned tour with the local tourist office before to make sure all paths are open and the level of difficulty is matching your fitness.
Now, you are all set for your summer holidays! In case you go for the full tour, you may want to add the collector shelf to display your “trophies” at home adequately.
As you can see on the picture below, we love Säntis Malt in all its variations. So at least the short tour is very high on my list for this year. Can you guess which one is my favorite?
I will keep you posted on how this summer project develops.
More information on the Whisky Trek and prices:
For additional pictures and more information about the region I recommend to check:
List and map of the 27 mountain inns: http://www.saentismalt.com/en/whiskytrek/berggasthaeuser.html