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Belgrove Distillery: Tasmanian Rye Whisky - Where Sustainability Meets Sorcery in a Bottle.

In the monotonous landscape of mass-produced spirits, Belgrove Distillery emerges as a vibrant oasis. Forget the corporate sterility; here, passion and environmental consciousness intertwine to create something truly special. Peter Bignell, the mastermind behind Belgrove's magic, is a testament to ingenuity. What began as a solution for a surplus of rye corn has blossomed into a distillery unlike any other.


Sustainability isn't just a buzzword at Belgrove; it's the lifeblood of their operation. Imagine a closed-loop system where used cooking oil from the farm transforms into biodiesel fuel, powering the very still that crafts their liquid gold. Even the still itself, a marvel of self-reliance, was built from scratch by Bignell.


This dedication to the environment is admirable, but it's merely the prelude to Belgrove's captivating story. The true magic unfolds when you uncork a bottle.


Belgrove's Oat Whisky, with its golden sunshine hue, is a bottled summer day. It whispers tales of tropical sweetness, a delightful dance on the nose between oat porridge and a spicy, grainy backdrop. The creamy, nutty notes on the palate culminate in a smoky flourish, a delightful journey for your taste buds. Imagine the perfect companion for pungent cheeses; this whisky coaxes out their complex flavors, creating an unforgettable culinary experience.


For the adventurous soul, the Peated Rye Whisky is a revelation. Don't be intimidated by the 60% ABV. Belgrove's alchemy works its wonder, transforming the alcohol into a welcoming invitation. Hints of smoky meat, honey, and vanilla draw you in, while earthy and ashy undertones reminiscent of a rainy summer campfire add a touch of complexity. The taste defies description: a delightful hybrid of peach and plum, culminating in a peaty climax that lingers long after the last sip.


The Belgrove Rye Whisky itself is a study in delightful confusion. Bread, chamomile, and the unexpected scent of pickles mingle in the aroma, while the palate dances between fruity and floral before settling into a grainy finish with a luxuriously creamy texture. Each note is surprising yet harmonious, a testament to the unique character of this rye expression.


Craving something even more intriguing?


Belgrove's Wholly Shit Rye Whisky is a true conversation starter. The malted rye grain is smoked with dried sheep dung, a testament to their commitment to ultimate recycling. Despite the initial apprehension,the dung imparts a delicate smokiness similar to peat, complementing the honey sweetness and fruity notes. It's a bold whisky that pushes boundaries and challenges preconceptions.


However, our personal favourite of Peter's creations is the Hopped Malt Whisky. This single cask expression boasts a beautiful and complex floral nose, reminiscent of a Sauternes cask-aged spirit. Don't let the 65.3% ABV fool you; this whisky is surprisingly balanced. The hops add a subtle fruity character without the bitterness some might expect, culminating in a long, sweet, malty finish. This innovative spirit is another example of Belgrove's commitment to resourcefulness as hopped beers used for distillation were rescued from microbreweries, keeping them from going to waste.


Belgrove Distillery isn't just about whisky, though.


Their Apple Hatched, a barrel-aged distilled apple cider, is a testament to their spirit of exploration. The emphasis is undeniably on apples, a spectrum of flavors ranging from overripe to baked apples, interwoven with peppery and herbal notes. The finish evokes a creamier version of a fine French Calvados, a delightful surprise for cider enthusiasts and anyone seeking a liquid dessert.


It did not exactly take a visit from Gordon Ramsay, who visited and featured Peter's operation as part of his National Geographic show Uncharted, for word of Belgrove's brilliance to spread like wildfire. Whisky aficionados make pilgrimages to Kempton, Tasmania, to experience the source firsthand. Limited releases vanish online almost before they appear, especially when bands like Queens of the Stone Age discover their hidden gems, like they did when they last held court in Hobart and cleared out stock to fuel the remaineder of their tour on terra australis.


Peter Bignell is a modern-day renaissance man, transforming surplus into sippable elixirs. Each step of Belgrove's production,from the repurposed fuel to the hand-built still, speaks volumes about the dedication and ingenuity that goes into every bottle.


So, the next time you're looking for a truly unique and sustainable spirit, seek out Belgrove's rare bottlings. It's a taste of passion, resourcefulness, and pure whisky magic, all rolled into one.


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Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Belgrove Distillery.

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