The company was founded in 2004. By Etienne Bouillon (distiller) Luc Foubert (financial) and Pierre Robert (farmer) each bringing their own expertise.
For Etienne Bouillon, spirits are a family tradition! In 1997, he started the only distillery in the Liege area at Grâce-Hollogne after acquiring a first, and then a second, handmade, century-old still in 1994; one of these stills was used by an authentic "bouilleur de cru", which means that Etienne Bouillon is the first distiller in Belgium who can boast of having an itinerant distillery!
Each of these stills had a capacity of 500 litres. Then a liqueur table and a fermentation tank were added for a capacity of up to 20,000 litres of wort.
Etienne is a graduate of CERIA, in the liqueur section. He then went on to perfect his skills in the field, in the pure guild tradition. He has now acquired thorough knowledge and total mastery of distillation and rectifying techniques.
Etienne quickly specialised in distillation of grain and fruit. His excellent technical skills and a real passion for his trade quickly won recognition in two awards:
Gold Medal at the Brussels "Salon des Arts Ménagers" in 1997 for his pure malt distillate made exclusively from malted barley, the first major step in the success story of « Belgian Whisky »
New products award at the Charleroi "Salon des Arts Ménagers" in 1998 with his Pomme d'Etienne, a delicious combination of apple juice and his eau-de-vie – further recognition of the quality of Etienne's products.
The aim of the company is the creation and continuity of the first Belgian Single Malt Whisky . With an artisan philosophy for the authentic whisky that they produce and creating work around them, with a well-being of life filled with wisdom.
The distillery emblem, the owl, summarizes their philosophy since antiquity, it symbolizes knowledge and wisdom needed to know to develop their Single Malt Whisky and wisdom.
Whisky by definition requires a minimum 3 years of aging in the cask . The first barrel was filled on the 29th October 2004, so the first Single Malt Whisky 'The Belgian Owl', matured on the 30th October 2007 Bottling took place officially on the 31st October 2007.
The first The Belgian Owl', Single Malt Whisky to become commercially available was in November 2008.
The characteristics of The Belgian Owl', Single Malt Belgium Whisky are as follows:
- Barley grown in Belgium (Haspengouw).
- Distillation and aging in Belgium
- The process is artisan Belgian malting, maceration and fermentation
- Distillation is a double distillation in traditional pot still.
- This is a Single Malt Whisky as distilled in a single distillery. 100% malted barley
- The aging takes place in 1st fill bourbon casks.
- No cold filtration (not chilled filtered) (46% volume in the bottle).
- The bottle will retain the natural colour of the drum (no artificial colouring).
The first Belgian Single Malt Whisky was presented at 'Spirit in the Sky' the weekend of 17/18 November 2007 in Hall of Liege Bierset Airport.
The Belgian Owl Distillery Specifications
Variety of barley: Sebastian (2 rows of spring)
Barley: Haspengouw / Aspengouw, Belgium
Water: Belgian.Phenols: 0 ppm
Mashtun: 1 stainless steel tank
Capacity: 24 000 litres
Grist by mixing: 4.1 tonnes
Duration: 7 hours
Washback: 1 enamelled vessel
Capacity: 24 000 litres
Duration: 60 to 100 hours
Wash in Alc / vol: 7%
100% (first fill Bourbon barrels )
100% Single Malts
Pure alcohol per year in litres: 9 000
Belgian Owl Distillery Bottlings
Tasting notes by Fred Muller will guide you during the discovery of the Belgian Single Malt Spirit at four different steps of the aging process.
Belgian single malt new spirit 0 months 50cl - 46%
This new make has a pleasant Floral feeling of jasmine on first nose this opens out on to pretty fruity and malted notes, marked with pear and plum.
The mouth-feel is flexible confirms this freshness with a beautiful persistence on notes of Reine Claude and yellow citrus fruits.
Belgian single malt spirit 12 months 50cl - 46%
Around 12 months:
The spirit leads you in to a world of softness and aromatic richness.
The scents are more molten here, a key of cream vanilla to cinnamon, butters fresh sweetened, orange marmalade, pear to syrup.
In the initial mouth feel you will find this complexity duplicated. A chocolate note opens on an almost creamy feeling in medium of mouth underlined by cooked pear flavours and delicate spiced notes (pepper and cinnamon ).
The Finish has a great softness but with a pleasant persistence of vanilla and
Belgian single malt spirit 24 months 50cl - 46%
Around 24 months:
The intimate discussion between the oak of the barrel and the spirit gives its
You’ll catch the flavour of vanilla, bourbon and milk chocolate on a base aromas of sweet apples, cinnamon and sweet honey.
This ‘24 month’, sweet and fresh, confirms the promises of these flavours and takes you on an elegant and long spiced/wooded final which goes out on dried fruit and toasted bread with a delicious touch of pear.
Belgian single malt whisky 3 years 50cl - 46%
After 36 months of ageing, ’The Belgian Owl’ :Belgian Single Malt Whisky
cask n° 4275873
Nose: At the same time rich and delicate, it opens on a pleasant fruity softness : flesh of mirabelle, ripe pear, candy with butter then a pleasant floral touch confers a small spring dimension…
While opening still a little more, it reveals an almost exotic dimension of coconut cream, vanilla, ice cream with banana and fig
Mouth: Full and fresh at the same time, it confirms the promises of the nose…
The attack is delicate and savours are spread in astonishing crescendo: cream
vanilla with lemon, frozen apples, ginger jam…
Finale: A beautiful length, it develops on the vanilla of the American oak while
preserving the feeling of delicacy of the distillate. Ripe fruit savours: pears,
apples, bananas and Reine Claude grow blurred as in a greedy echo.
Balance: An astonishing Whisky of fruity, freshness and delicacy.
Left to right Etienne Bouillon (distiller) Luc Foubert (financial) and Pierre Robert (farmer)
The Owl's Distillery
94 rue Sainte Anne B-4460 Grâce-Hollogne Belguim Tel. Fax. : + 32 4 247 38 14 www.belgianwhisky.com
Published 8 times a year Whisky Magazine is the perfect complement to the dram in your glass.
Every issue brings you fascinating articles on the art, science and romance of the 'water of life',
Plus page after page of Whisky tasting notes
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