Continuing on with their rye craze and after a most successful launch of their penultimate Belgrove Oat Rum & Raisin last year, they have finally arrived at the final release of the Bonded International Series.
As mentioned before Killowen’s inception had two overlapping influences, the ethos and history exposed by Fionnán O’Connor, the other was a visit to the phenomenal Belgrove Distillery in Tasmania and meeting with its distiller/farmer/scientist and sculptor, Peter Bignell. Belgrove’s unorthodox methods and willingness to experiment have resulted in a most unique spirit. We have released both Oat & Ryes from this wonderful distillery before, and now both of them have experienced the finish of PX Sherry Casks and their own Dark Rum Cask.
This Irish/Tasmanian connection did not start with Brendan visiting Belgrove or Peter visiting Killowen but with Peter’s knowledge of traditional Irish whiskey methods that where not properly celebrated a decade ago. These methods encompassed the broader use of Oats and Rye but even more significantly the use of malted and unmalted grains, green malt (undried malt for those of us who don’t devour whiskey books) and amazingly up to 80% unmalted grain, relying on massive starch conversion in the mash ton.
If you want to hear more about other methods such as forcing green malt through an old meat mincer, smoking malt in an disused industrial tumble dryer, chip pan oil fired flame-fed stills or even for those extra special whiskeys smoked with dried sheep shit from the distillery sheep fed by spent grain in Peter’s own circular ecosystem, then you are invited to do your own extra reading, the rest of this piece is about Killowen’s release.
The release on Thursday 2nd Feburary (4:40pm GMT) is Belgrove Rye finished with their Signature Rum & Raisin Finish, released in the true Killowen fashion: cask strength, no added colour, integrity bottling, with full label transparency.
The reason for celebrating another micro distillery’s spirit is because they love it. It has connections with Irish whiskey’s rich past and with its contemporary future. Most whiskeys need to be old – very, very few don’t, however, just like Killowen, Belgrove put the effort in at spirit production stage instead of relying on prolonged casking, the sacrifice is quantity but who needs quantity when our game plan, above all else is quality.
Official tasting notes
Initially noses like a big ‘Sherry Bomb’ but then towards the end the sweet mintyness of the rye comes to the fore
It’s Belgrove Rye all day, no cask can mask it, but instead only compete, or in this case complement it. The Rum & PX cask work perfectly with the warmness of the rye spice adding to a thick and chewy treat where dark chocolate shines through. Again the Milliard reaction smokiness here is massively welcome.
Sweet, drying, long and lovingly warm. The dryness comes across like a creamy pint of stout while the sweetness plays around like mint choc chip ice cream, in the end the pint of stout just about wins over.
KILLOWEN BELGROVE RYE
RUM & RAISIN FINISH
THE FINAL – BONDED INTERNATIONAL SERIES
PART 2 of 2
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