Featured at World Whisky Day 2016: Reading the story of The Belgian Owl is like stumbling upon a lost entry concerning Hobbits by J. R. R. Tolkien. The Owl Distillery offers their product made from spring barley with a love for the land, a sense of adventure and a decided touch of whimsy. Located in the region of Hesbaye, this whisky comes out of a long tradition of beer making. There are essentially three employees at the distillery: the farmer, the financier and the whisky maker. Between them, they have been offering core expressions of spirit and single malt whisky since 2008, both to their native countrymen and to the world. While other distilleries have histories, the gents at the Owl Distillery have crafted their own Legend. The Belgian Owl is the product of their creativity and adventuring.
Distillery: The Owl Distillery
Nose: Honey, lemon, white wine, astringent
Palate: Menthol, honey, white wine, medicine
Finish: Lemon pith, citrus
Adam – Letting this one breathe a little helps a great deal, as the time in the glass helps ease the medicinal influence on the palate and bring out more of the honey. There are several taste layers here but they pass quickly, like flipping through a deck of cards. There’s a dryness to it that reminds me of white wine. It makes a good warm weather whisky, though it is too delicate to be sampled late in a round of tasting or around strong-flavored foods. While I’m curious to see what they might create with further maturation, this one is currently too costly for what arrives in the glass for me.
Jenny – I think brash is a good descriptor. It feels young, not very complex. Still tasty perhaps if paired with something else with a strong flavor, maybe a spicy note. When I drink it, I get a little honey and a lot of that medicinal flavor. Not good for sipping by itself on the back porch; it needs something spicy.
Meghan – The Owl has potential but it isn’t there quite yet. It is light and sweet with a hint of something that makes it clearly not a Scotch or Irish whisky. However, that something is not quite definable in its young state. There is a lack of depth to its sweet forefront and medicinal finish. It is a whisky still in its preteens, development-wise. You can see hints of what it will become but it is still hindered by adolescent gawkiness. A grand start to something new and different that will hopefully only improve as time goes by.
Michael – I would say a whisky to watch. It has some interesting elements. I agree that it seems like a younger whisky. It has a cleaning product element on the nose and a medicinal element to the palate that would be balanced with more aging.
John – I would give them marks for trying an interesting concept. On the positive side of things, I do appreciate that they’re trying something unique within their country. Potential is a good word. It’ll be interesting to see what they come out with as they develop their line. It has its place.
Margaret – I found the color anemic. That makes a difference to me. It does look nice with their label, however.