Puni, Italy’s first and only malt whisky distillery, makes its official UK debut this month thanks to a sales and marketing agreement with start-up Magnetic Brands. Puni is Magnetic’s first client and it will be handling its ‘Nova’ and ‘Alba’ (the Italian word for ‘dawn’) three year old whiskies.
Named after the local river, the distillery lies just outside the medieval town of Glurns in the Vinschgau valley – a German-speaking area of the Italian Alps, which has a warm and unusually dry climate. It was set-up in 2010 by Albrecht and Daniela Ebensperger with their two sons. The first whisky was released in 2015.
Housed in a striking 13 metre high cube-shaped building, the distillery has two traditional copper pot stills imported from Rothes in Scotland. As well as pure Alpine water, barley and wheat, Puni also uses locally-grown rye – including a centuries old variant – which lends distinctive flavour notes to its whiskies.
There are significant seasonal temperature variations in the Vinschgau valley, meaning that Puni’s whiskies mature quickly, acquiring complex aromas at a remarkably early age.
Long-term maturation then takes place in barrels located directly beneath the ‘cube’ in a converted WWII military bunker – complete with four metre wide walls, which ensure a consistent temperature and high humidity levels.
Dave Steward of Magnetic said: “Puni’s a fantastic ‘best-kept secret’ in the whisky world. Few have heard about the area, let alone the whisky – but both are a delight. The family’s been determined to get everything just right – as shown by importing genuine Scottish stills and bringing over whisky experts to install them. This attention to detail, the area’s climate and unique ingredients mean these are truly special whiskies.”
Puni Nova, 43%. 70cl RRP: £56.00. Puni Alba, 43%. 70cl RRP: £69.00.
Source: Magnetic Brands