Inside October's Sipping Liquor box you’ll find Puni Nova whisky from South Tyrol – the part of Italy that’s so far north it’s basically Austria.
Back in 2010 the Ebensperger family started building a beautiful distillery in the tiny town of Glorenza (population 900) in the Venosta Valley. The name Puni comes from a local river and derives from ancient Raetic.
Venosta has been a centre of grain cultivation – particularly rye – for hundreds of years. So the distillery has a ready local source of raw materials and quality water with which to make its whisky. Puni uses a mixture of malted rye, barley and wheat. Puni bought two traditional pot stills from the Scottish manufacturer Forsyths but decided to use water rather than steam to heat them.
Once distillation is complete, Puni uses three different types of cask for maturation to create a variety of flavours: barrels that used to contain American bourbon, Sicilian Marsala or local South Tyrolean wine. Nova is matured for three years in former bourbon barrels and finished for a short period in new casks made of European oak.
Puni’s younger whiskies are matured in local warehouses. The region has very warm summers and cold, snowy winters. This accelerates the ageing of the spirit inside the casks – compared with somewhere like Scotland – as liquid is more rigourously forced in and out of the oak.
In the ultimate act of recycling, Puni stores whiskies it intends to mature for longer periods inside military bunkers left over from the Second World War.