Introducing Romania’s First Single Malt Whisky

Peter Morrell is at the launch of the unique Carpathian Single Malt, the result of one man’s vision, Mr Nawaf Salameh

Nawaf Salameh is the Founder and Chairman of the Alexandrion Group, Romania’s largest wines and spirits producer. In 2016, Nawaf was awarded the honour of ‘Keeper of the Quaich’, in recognition of his services to the whisky industry. He knew then that the time had come for the creation of the Romanian Single Malt whisky, using local water and ingredients.

Nawaf employed the skills of Master Distiller Allan Anderson, with both Scottish and Irish heritage, who has more than 30 years of experience in producing both Scotch whisky (Loch Lomond, White & Mackay, Aberargie) and Irish whiskey (The Great Northern Distillery). He also designed the distillery of Slane Castle Ireland.

Befitting its prestige, the launch of the Carpathian Single Malt was held at the icon Ivy restaurant in London. We started the event with a speech by Nawaf who spoke passionately about his journey, from inception to realisation, of his dream to produce the Carpathian Single Malt

The initial release will feature three variants of the whisky, which have been created by finishing the maturation phase of the whisky in different types of oak cask. At the launch we tasted all three whiskies. The Madeira Cask Finish has been finished in ex Kentucky Bourbon American oak, and then Portuguese Madeira casks. These two distinctive flavours combine to produce an intensely scented nose with oak, honey, raisins, pepper, and boiled sweets. On the palate the raisins and honey persist together with nuts and raspberries. The finish is sweet, complex, and persistent.

The Pinot Noir is finished in the Alexandrion Group’s own European Oak Pinot Noir casks. The whisky pours a clear amber colour, and has strong aromas of white pepper, oak, honey, raisins, and sweets in the bouquet. In the mouth the Pinot Noir flavours emerge, with added nuts, and sweetness. It finishes with a long flourish of complex flavours

The final one was the Fetească Neagră Finish, which I have sampled in greater depth. This too has a two-cask finish, initially in ex Kentucky Bourbon American oak, and then in the Alexandrion Group’s own European Oak Fetească Neagră casks.

The Fetească Neagră (Black Maiden) is an old pre-Phylloxera grape, native to Romania. It can produce a range of wine styles, from dry to sweet. Its defining characteristics are flavours of black fruits including blackberries and cherries, and spices like cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and black pepper.

This whisky pours a clear, bright, amber colour. The bouquet has powerful aromas of cloves, black pepper, boiled sweets, and caramel. On the palate it is sweet and smooth with the spices from the bouquet being joined by oaky vanilla, raisins, and hints of tropical fruits. It has a sweet, rich finish, which is long and strong.

These three expressions of Carpathian Single Malts have been superbly crafted to produce a range of world class whiskies. I spoke with Master Distiller Allan Anderson during the launch, and he hinted that other cask finishes were being considered, so there are some very interesting tastings to look forward to.

Mr Nawaf Salameh and his team are to be congratulated on their achievement.

For more information visit
and see the Carpathian Single Malt Whisky story by watching the video below

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