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Belgian Owl whisky premiers in Poland

Independent whisky brand The Belgian Owl has partnered with Polish distributor Tudor House in a bid to expand its European reach.

Belgian Owl whiskies are aged in ex-Bourbon barrels

The Belgian brand made its Eastern European debut at Whisky Live Warsaw in October.

Jaroslaw Buss, owner of Tudor House, said: “We couldn’t imagine better time and place for the premiere of the Belgian Owl. The show was visited by thousands of whisky enthusiasts and all had the opportunity to taste their selection.”

Belgian Owl was founded by master distiller Etienne Bouillon in 2004. The first distillation took place in a vintage Swiss still purchased in France.

A spokesperson for Belgian Owl commented: “Tudor House has become the leading whisky supplier in Poland, and as such, was a natural fit for the Owl’s first market expansion into Eastern Europe.”

The brand now uses vintage Scottish stills from Forsyth, after it was allowed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) to purchase two of the four stills from the old Caperdonich distillery.

Today Belgian Owl, located within the geologically protected region of Hesbaye, is the only distillery outside of Scotland using vintage Scottish stills.

Belgian Owl defines itself as a ‘terroir whisky’. The barley used has been grown according to integrated farming principles around the distillery, which currently has 400 acres of two-rows barley, 50 of which are now ‘certified bio’.

Its water source is a very deep aquifer located below the distillery. As such, it does not go through a reverse osmosis filtration, but rather is used ‘as is’.

With the exception of the brand’s limited editions, all Belgian Owl whiskies are ages in Bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill. These casks have been used for a maximum of four years prior to being shipped to Belgium.

The whiskies are barrelled at 70% ABV, a signature of Jim McEwan, the former master distiller of Bruichladdich, under whom Bouillon trained.

The distillery’s warehouse has been built in the same way as a Bourbon rickhouse, meaning the whiskies gain in alcoholic strength as they mature.

The brand’s core range includes two 46% ABV single malts, called Identify and Evolution; a 46% ABV single cask bottling called Passion; and a cask strength bottling called Intense, which rests at 73.5% ABV.

The brand also offers a new make expression, which presents fruity esters and honey on the palate. At 46% ABV, it is soft and said to be ‘reminiscent of a German Schnapps’.

In other distribution news, earlier this month the East London Liquor Company joined forces with Mangrove Global to increase the UK reach of its spirits portfolio.

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