German Whisky Punk from Würzburg. "Brexit? I don't care!" was what we read and this was reason enough for us to check this company out.
Hadrian from Würzburg owns several thousand liters of Scottish whisky. Until recently, this was still stored in a warehouses in Great Britain. After the Brexit vote, however, he decided that it was best to import at least a few barrels to Germany. While the news about Brexit dominated the media, some barrels made their way to Germany quietly and secretly. They were only allowed to cross the border with a special permit. Countless forms and applications were required, as well as sensitive taxes. And then the barrels were there. But where to put it? Out of necessity, the idea arose to look for very special storage locations. If you have to search for a storage location, then please choose a very special one. And so Hadrian's single malt is now maturing eg. in a mine deep underground or under the building Residenz in Würzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Since each storage location has very special conditions, an absolutely unique whisky was created - more by chance than by calculation.
But not only is the storage of the whisky unique. The bottles imported from Italy are the first German whisky brand to be equipped with NFC technology. This makes it the first smart bottle in Germany. The first, strictly limited, bottling has been released in 2019. In order to turn the carbon footprint of every single bottle - after all the barrel transports - back to positive, a tree is planted for each bottle of "82NC" whisky. Since Hadrian's whisky tells a special story, all whiskies are counted in chapters. The first chapter is called "Embricho" and have been out for purchase online and in selected shops. The name goes back to Bishop Embricho, who laid the foundation stone for today's State Court Cellar in Würzburg in 1128. In the red wine cellar of the oldest winery in Germany, the whisky from the Glencadam distillery received its special finish and a full-bodied refinement. There he not only absorbed the aromas of the ex-rum, ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks, but also the almost 900-year-old history of the winery.
82 Chapters to Newcastle is a company founded by Hadrian Bromma. Together with his father Bernhard Bromma and father-in-law Burkhard Nöth, he imports Scottish whisky to "finish" it in Germany. For this, the best barrels of mostly European oak are procured to complete the whiskey. The bottles are provided with NFC technology and published in limited individual cask bottlings.
We have been able to interview Hadrian, founder and director od 82 Chapters of Newcastle.
WDF: Hiya Hadrian. Thanks very much for your time. It's great to see that a new and young independent bottler came up on the German horizon bringing us such great new statements of Scotch Whisky. Tell us, what was your initial drive to start your own independent whisky bottling company?
Hadrian: It all started several years ago, more by accident than by purpose. We started a whisky event company here in Germany four years ago. We had so many wonderful people at our events and got the chance to buy casks. From time to time more and more casks came into our stock. One day we had the crazy idea to import some of these casks and place them at very special places in Germany. Half a year of paperwork, plenty of phone calls and less hair on our heads we made it happen. Now our casks are sleeping in old silver mining, castles and on the top of a mountain in an old radar station. We always plant one tree for each sold bottle and via our NFC-Label people can see their certificate of donation.
WDF: When did you have your first whisky and what whisky was it?
Hadrian: It was a Lagavulin 16 served by my father (and co-founder at 82 Chapters to Newcastle) on my 18th birthday. To be honest it was my 16th birthday, but I do not want my father to go to jail (laugh).
WDF: Looking into your different bottlings, you call them chapters. Can you tell us why you did choose chapters and what is the story behind it?
Hadrian: Our basic idea is the following: Whisky is a wonderful and very traditional thing. Our plan is to enrich the story every cask tells with even more nice things to tell. Looking at all the journeys of our whiskys, it is a little bit like reading a tale. Therefore, we decided to count our bottlings in chapters. But it's not only story-telling. We choose our finishing-places as well by their climatic conditions. E.g. we found a very hot and dry cellar build in the middle-ages with weird conditions. It seems water is evaporating faster than alcohol. We will see how that will turn out :).
WDF: What are your plans for 2020/21 regards to new bottlings? Can you tell us what we can expect?
Hadrian: Since a longer time we plan to release a new line of bottlings. Besides special double-/triple-finishes at special places we want to show the world some more basic and smooth bottlings. Of course, the labels will have smart-bottle features as well, but all the other things will be more "back-to-the-roots". We are very happy to have Phil Ramthun new in our team for pushing that new line.
WDF: On your website you mention that your "Innovative Smart Bottles" are coming from Italy. How does the NFC-Technology work and what do you plan to do in the future?
Hadrian: The bottles are made in a manufactory in Milano, Italy. The NFC chips are from Asia, the labels are (currently) from France. We are searching for more regional vendors but for our specific needs it's not always possible. We combine all that and via the NFC technology in the label we can do crazy things, like leading people to their donor certificate just by holding the smartphone onto the label (no app, no click, just holding). Our current bottling has augmented reality features and it's possible to generate a virtual bottle. For that no app is needed. The local tech-startup "Watchar" found a way to provide AR services without any app and we were their test-project.
WDF: Do you offer events and what sort of events are they?
Hadrian: Yes, actually events are our origin. We offer guided whisky-walks in our hometown Wuerzburg, in Nuremberg and Regensburg.
WDF: Next to 82 Chapters you also run Glentaste, a company offering Whisky Hiking Tours. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Hadrian: Glentaste was founded in 2016 and at the beginning we offered events always in combination with restaurants. We had plenty of different tastings with different restaurants. It became a high-maintenance concept because sometimes restaurants suddenly changed owners, chefs and even copied our detailed concepts (e.g. our "Whisky in Rock Music Tasting"). One time we had dram at a wonderful place in our hometown in the vineyards and saw people doing vine hikes. Suddenly the idea was born: Let's stop all the dependences to restaurants and try to bring the tastings to the fresh air. For some reason people loved it and after a few month we did nothing else than whisky hiking tours.
WDF: Do you plan to expand the tours within Germany and maybe more?
Hadrian: We usually expand one city per year. But that is not a business plan, we are just taking chances. If e.g. one of us is moving into a new town we search for nice tours and start doing whiskytours in the new town as well. After the years we constantly improved our concept what makes it easy for us to start in a new town.
WDF: Have you been to Fife and would there be a project with one of our distilleries possible?
Hadrian: We always love doing new things ;-)
WDF: Last but not least.... What is your favorite whisky and why?
Hadrian: It’s really hard to say because of the great variety. But for me whisky always tells a story. Whenever I am enjoying a glass of Lagavulin 16 I am thinking about the story how this passion started with this whisky. So this Laga will always be my favorite whisky.
WDF: Thanks very much Hadrian, for your tme and input. We wish you all the best for the future and hopefully we will be able to work on a "joint venture". Slàinte
Hadrian: My pleasure. Thank you too... and yes, let's talk. Slàinte Mhath
Check out Hadrians Website...