Belgrove Peated Rye Whisky & Belgrove Oat Whisky

Peter Bignell, Belgrove Rye Whisky distiller hosted a tasting of his entire range of whiskies at Black Penny in Surry Hills including the newly-released Belgrove Peated Rye Whisky and Belgrove Oat Whisky.

Belgrove distillery is one of the few “paddock to glass” operations that grows its own grain, malts, ferments, distils the spirit and barrel ages the whisky on site and produces Australia’s first and only rye whisky. Belgrove is the name of the farm in Tasmania which Peter Bignell purchased 12 years ago.

Peter Bignell, Black Penny

Belgrove Rye Whisky Tasting Notes

Belgrove White Rye (40% ABV) is made from 100% rye and taken straight off the still at 62% then cut down to 40%. Transparent in colour, it has a slightly fruity and spicy nose with a distinctive white dog aroma. The flavour delivers a big hit of spice which has not mellowed yet with a short finish. Ideally used in cocktails such as Bloody Mary and Sazerac but can be sipped neat.

Belgrove Rye Whisky (42% ABV) is aged between 2.5 to 3 years in ex Tasmanian malt whisky casks which previously held Bourbon and port. Bright gold in colour, the spirit has soft spice and caramel sweetness. The palate starts sweet followed by a hit of spice. It has an oily mouthfeel and good length on the finish. A fine sipping rye whisky which is also good in cocktails. Belgrove Rye Whisky was featured on our Top 10 Australian Craft Spirits.

Belgrove Rye Whisky
Belgrove Peated Rye Whisky & Belgrove Oat Whisky

Belgrove Peated Rye Whisky (42% ABV) started as an experiment. Bignell used Lark Distillery’s peat bog to smoke the rye. He lit a peat fire underneath the wet grain which dried it out. The peated rye was then mashed, fermented and distilled. The whisky was aged for 2.5 years in one 100L barrel.

Belgrove Peated Rye Whisky is lightly peated on the nose, with mild spice and pepper. The palate is dried than the unpeated whisky and combines spice and smoke in a delicate balance. It finishes lingering, warming and smoky and makes for delicious sipping.

Belgrove Oat Whisky (58.4% ABV) is made predominantly from oat (a little over 60%) along with barley and rye. Pale straw in colour, the nose is reminiscent of porridge and is a little sweeter than the rye whisky with evident nose prickle from the higher ABV. Dry spice and cereal/oat flavour dominate the palate with a medium and warming finish. This small batch whisky is unlike any other. It opens up in the glass and gradually grows on you.

Other spirits on taste were the Apple Hatchet (40% ABV), a distilled apple cider aged in rye whisky barrels for 6 months and Ginger Hammer (50% ABV), a transparent spirit of distilled ginger beer with a hint of chilli that is best described as dry ginger beer on steroids.

The Belgrove rye whisky tasting was held on 14 September 2014 at Black Penny in Surry Hills.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is a drinks writer, author of GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN, SHRUBS & BOTANICAL SODAS and founder/editor of Gourmantic, Cocktails & Bars and The Gourmantic Garden. She has been writing extensively about spirits, cocktails, bars and cocktail gardening in more recent years. She is a spirits and cocktail competition judge, Icons of Whisky Australia nominee, contributor to Diageo Bar Academy, cocktail developer and is named in Australian Bartender Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential List. Her cocktail garden was featured on ABC TV’s Gardening Australia and has won several awards. She is a contributor to Real World Gardener radio program and is featured in several publications including Pip Magazine, Organic Gardener, Australian Bartender and Breathe (UK). Read the full bio here.