So this week I leave France and head across the boarder to Luxemburg first, I would be going to the Distillerie Diedenacker near Niederdonven. The family owned distillery dates back to 1862 and are know for using regional fruits, grown naturally in local meadows around the distillery to infuse their liquors and aromatic spirits. The distillery bears the “Marque Nationale” quality label and produce a whisky called the Number One, it is aged in small oak barrels for at least 5 years.
They only started producing whisky in 2005 and is only done in small batches, they produce about 5000 ltrs per year using Luxemburg rye.
It’s then on to Belgium and The Belgian Owl distillery at Gráce-Hollogne, a true craft distillery in my eyes. They are using two 19th century stills from the now demolished Caperdonich distillery in Rothes. The first single malt from the distillery was released in October 2007, a cask strength version was released in 2009 and more have followed. They intended to produce about 50,000 ltrs this year.
One thing that I love about the Belgian Owl malt is they way you can purchase it, you have the option to purchase four different stages in the malts life. First you can buy the new make spirit, they you can get a ageing version that has been in the oak barrel for 12mths. Last but not least you can get the full single malt in two versions, standard 46% abv and cask strength at around 70% abv. I’m now looking for a local supplier who can get hold of all four versions for me.
Next it’s to the Netherlands and the Zuidam Distillers, producers of the Millstone whisky.
Started back in 1975 by Fred van Zuidam, with the idea to start a small distillery that only produced very exclusive products. With the product range including gin, rum, genever and liqueurs, it was not until 2007 that the first 5 year old whisky was released. In the following years the range has grown, it now includes a peated version along side the standard 5 year old along with a 10YO French oak, a 10YO American oak, 12YO Oloroso Sherry cask, 1999 PX Cask and a 100% Rye whisky. Along with the standard expression the Rye is one I’ve got a interest in trying.
One nice touch they have is that all the labels are hand fitted with the details of when it was distilled/bottled and strength etc all being handwritten on the label as well.
From the Netherlands it’s a little bit of a jump to Denmark, where I visit the Stauning Whisky distillery. Founded in 2005 by nine friends with a curiosity about why no one was making Danish whisky.
In the following 11 years they have developed an idea into a award winning distillery, they use local barley and rye all malted on the in house malting floor. They have 3 main expressions starting with the traditional, a rye one and a peated one.
The peated expression uses peat from one of the last remaining peat bogs in Denmark. The passion and dedication put into the distillery has not gone unnoticed, the Distill Ventures backed and funded by Diageo has invested £10M+ into the distillery to help expand. With work hopefully starting on the new distillery this year (2016). Again the Rye whisky has me interested with it being malted, something that is not normally done.
So this is were I will stop this week and look forward to next week and heading through German.