Having this blog has been mostly fun. It is a great way to connect with new people and get to know them a little. Recently we’ve had a person frequent the blog that is in the process of opening and all Belgian Brewery in the great State of New Jersey. And this should be the real thing, since he is from Belgium himself. His Name is Wim Vanraes and he is my new BEST friend! See Wim recently made a trip to his homeland of Belgium, and while there picked up a couple bottles of his favorite whiskey. This is a Belgian Whiskey called Graanjenever.
Wim is also a very generous man. He had picked up two bottles of this beverage, and offered to send one to me. Being the lush I am, I quickly agreed, and it was off in the mail in a jiffy. Wim wanted to make sure it arrived unharmed and senti it in almost as much packaging weight wise as the bottle itself! It arrived none worse for its trip this Tuesday, and I quickly poured myself a Glencarin full…
I was very excited to try something that, not only I can’t get in Idaho, but it isn’t available at all in the US! See Filliers does not export, and thus it is unusual to find this particular drink outside of Belgium. I find it fun to live vicariously through drink, and this was a great way to experience a bit of the culture in my own living room. The writing on the bottle is in Dutch, so all I could really figure out from the bottle was that the company was established in 1880, and that this is a 50% ABV Whiskey.
The little card that came attached to the bottle had a paragraph of English that explained that this is a whiskey that is aged 8 years in barrels (what type or whether they had been used previously remains a mystery) and that the whiskey is distilled from Rye and Barley. It tastes a bit like American Rye, but doesn’t have the corn in the mash so it is a but drier and less oily. While it did have legs they were only slightly visible on the glass.
The nose is very heavy with alcohol and rye, and this is reflected in the flavor. It is a bit drier than American Ryes, and that could easily be due to the fact that no corn is used in the mash. It has a medium mouthfeel, and begins sweet and caramelly, reflecting the barrel notes. It then gets a bit musty at mid palate and finishes with a nice rye flavor and a big alcohol burn. I was dying to pair this with a cigar, but the weather was nasty outside, and I didn’t want to be relegated to the garage for the evening. I will do so next time I drink it.
All in all this is a very fine rye whiskey from Belgium and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I love the bottle too. My Wife thought it was a propane canister at first and wondered why someone would mail me that! I had to explain to her it was whiskey, then sh rolled her eyes and wondered where we would put it! Although once it is finished I think I will burn short candles in it, as it is an interesting vessel.
I can’t thank Wim enough for sending this to me, I love trying unique and interesting drinks from far away places. You can follow Wim’s progress on opening his Brewery (Saint William Brewery) on his blog here. They have a cool new logo, and I’m looking forward to trying his beers when he gets up and running! Thanks Wim!