Monday 30 October 2017

Tasted #378 - 379: Belgrove Peated Rye and Belgrove Oat Whisky

Almost four years ago, I posted our first Belgrove post - tasting an experimental "Oat" with an Oat-led, four-grain mashbill. The distillery excited me then, and continues to excite me now, as owner Peter Bignell continues to innovate and produce whisky in his own unique way, putting out some truly fantastic products.

Based in Tasmania, the distillery came about when Peter (a sixth-generation farmer) had some excess rye and decided to use it to make whisky. In addition to growing his own rye, building his own copper pot still and peating the rye using a self-converted washing machine(!), Peter also runs the operation on biodiesel he makes from cooking oil, harvests brewing and diluting water from his roofs, and collects cooling water from his own dam.

Call it "closed loop", "green", "sustainable" or whatever buzzword you like, put simply here's a bloke making whisky like no-one else in Australia, and doing a bloody good job of it.

Peter was kind enough to send me few samples recently - of his "Oat Whisky" (@ 58.6% ABV) and a cask sample of his Peated Rye whisky (at a hefty 65.1% ABV).

Belgrove "Oat Whisky" (58.6% ABV, NAS, Tasmania, Australia, $250AUD)

Colour: Light yellow-gold.

Nose: A little bit muted at first, but after time, creamy, tropical fruit notes emerge - pear, pineapple and a big dollop of cream.

Palate: Hugely nutty! Very unexpected. Macadamia nuts and walnuts. Oily mouthfeel. There's some creamy caramel, and lots of milk chocolate-coated Macadamia nuts. With water there's a little more fruit - pears and a hint of strawberry, but the nutty notes definitely dominate, which is unusual, unexpected and very enjoyable.

Finish: Long and full of macadamia, with some hints of oak and pepper at the back of the palate.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  90/100. I love an "unusual" whisky, provided it also noses and tastes good. This ticks all those boxes and more.

Belgrove "Peated Rye" Whisky cask sample (65.1% ABV, NAS, Tasmania, Australia, cask sample not available for sale, although when available the Peated Rye is $250AUD)
Colour: Light orange-gold.

Nose: There's smoke, but it's not coastal or medicinal - it's meaty and BBQ-like. Reminds me of a BBQ'd steak topped with tangy BBQ sauce. With time there's a bit of milk chocolate too.

Palate: Salami drizzled with honey. Lots of honey in fact. Then some charred capsicum, and with water some burnt snags (sausages). Sunday arvo BBQ in a glass?

Finish: Long and campfire-smokey.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  91/100. Not your usual peated whisky, and all the better for it.

It's great to see Peter and his team continuing to do things "their own way", with such impressive results. I've noticed Peter has recently started providing regular updates via his Facebook page too - well worth a follow if this sort of thing interests you like it does me.


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