Whisky Distilled in Liechtenstein
Nestled in the hills of the town of Triesen in Liechtenstein is the Brennerei Telser, a distillery that has been producing quality spirits since 1880. It is currently managed by Marco Telser, who is the fourth generation in his family to work in the industry and the one who made the decision to begin manufacturing whisky, something not normally associated with central Europe. But it was during several research trips to Scottish distilleries during the 1990s that Telser developed an appreciation for whisky and decided to concoct a version that would be unique to his family’s distillery. “One of the main differences to other whisky producers is that we ferment and distill the full wash (including the barley), not only the liquid wash. As we are not an industrial producer, we are able to move the wash manually. The result is significantly richer and deeper” explains Telser. “We use three different types of barley which are distilled separately and assembled after distillation before it goes into the cask. This means, we make a kind of 'pre-blend' to ensure ongoing quality”. The whisky is then put into a Pinot Noir cask provided by local wineries. It is a fitting vessel given that Pinot Noir was introduced to the Rhine Valley by the Romans over 2,000 years ago.
Marco Telser (front, far left) with his team at Telser distillery.
The first bottled whisky, named Telsington, was released in June 2009 after spending three years fermenting in a 500 year old cellar. Successive batches have been produced every year since.
Though Liechtenstein is not known for producing whisky, Brennerei Telser has found success with their endeavor. “It was clear from the outset that we are producing some very special whisky that will show a new way,” said Marco Telser. “I think we are representing Liechtenstein quite well, being innovative and on a very high quality level.”
Positive praise was also lavished via Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, a leading global whisky guide, when Telsington was named a Super Star Whisky by the publication. “We did not expect such a high score at all. It showed us that we are going into the right direction and our whisky is recognized as world class whisky.” explained Telser. Brennerei Telser’s small but meticulous operation has yielded 800 bottles of Telsington since production began in 2006 and is currently available in connoisseur shops in Liechtenstein and Switzerland with plans to expand distribution to the U.K. and U.S. in the future.