By Jove! World Whisky Wednesday returns with the quintessential Belgian Single Malt, the Belgian Owl. Located in the Hesbaye, The Owl Distillery started its spirit runs in 2013 with Etienne Bouillon at the helm. To make it a bit more interesting than your average European drop, the Owl runs from Scottish stills, in particular those from Caperdonich distillery. These ancient beasts were made over a century ago in 1898, and do add their own touches of character to the whisky. The barley used comes from the surrounding region and they proudly write that the water used comes from the distillery well, 38 meters deep. I like that they’ve taken the time to tell us that. Now while Belgium isn’t that well known for whisky, it is known for comic books and graphic novels. This bottling, the By Jove, is a collaboration between whisky and comics, featuring a back label of two detectives. I’d say think Tin Tin, but to be honest I don’t speak Flemish, so they could be saying anything. If you happen to speak Flemish, a quick translation will earn you a thumbs up.
I have here in my glass a nice dram of the 1st edition from bottle number 0944, aged in 1st fill ex-bourbon barrels for 48 months, before hitting the glass at 46%. And after some help from SomeWhiskyLass, hopefully my photos are now of a much better quality for you to enjoy.
Ohh, can you smell that? A bouquet of soft fruits rising over the top of the glass, pears, peaches and white grapes move into all manner of light chocolate, zesty lime meringues and a somewhat hearty supply of wheat. Then we run into melon, rock melon and mango, almost as though I’m chowing into a good fruit salad, albeit one dressed with plenty of alcohol. Its gets nice and malty too (hence those nice biscuits), before dropping into some nice white pepper. Oh look at that; a nice margarita in a glass rimmed with sugar syrup, lime and salt.
Chocolate drips off the palate, nice, melted over pineapple. Large citrus makes an appearance, that margarita is now rimmed with pepper alongside the salt, just lightly running over the edge. Toffee green apples, nice peel, unripe passion fruit, and the fruit salad comes back but is now unripe and tart, but it adds to the mouthfeel, making it spritely and somewhat puckering. The wood kicks off after a while, and soon we’re licking that fruit juice and chocolate off a wooden stick. In a good way, I swear. It all round out in a short but pleasing finish, fruit orchards over flowers, pepper spice and malt running around merrily through the dram.
Now, full disclosure; I have had this dram before. I bought this bottle when coming back from Belgium, and decided to open it sometime last week. I happened to drink most of the bottle, so what was meant to be a review then was instead a lengthy night of me enjoying whisky followed by a morning of regrets. It’s a smooth, supple dram, easy drinking and easy pleasing. Those in Belgium have done quite well with this one, and I heartily recommend the dram. Next time I fly through Belgium I might pick up the rest of the set.