Monday, 4 March 2013

Belgrove White Rye

♛ - VERY distinctive style, not for everybody

Belgrove distillery is located in Tasmania, Australia. It is owned by Peter Bignell, a man of many talents (strawberry farmer, distiller and artist!) who takes pride in the fact that his distillery is described as the "greenest" in the world.That is quite an achievement for a small operation like Belgrove, which produces a very distinctive white rye spirit.

All these factors - the "green" distillery, the individuality, the small operation, the distinctive and small batch spirit - combine to create a product that is rare; and you all know how much I like rarity. Rarity is the only real objective measure we have of attaching value to something, and rare the Belgrove White Rye is! It is not churned out and mass produced, and it is one of the few white rye spirits on the market. Do a Google search and see for yourself. You might stumble on some but the Belgrove is 100% rye.

But something rare also needs to be pleasant and attractive - like a lobster or a diamond - for it to have any value. The Belgrove White Rye is drinkable, though a little quirky and distinct. It slides on the palate as it smoothly releases its distinctive flavours. This spirit is not for everybody. What I did not like was the overpowering odor, like old mushroom boxes and yeast. It was somewhat off putting, but if you like rye whisky and distinctive products then this may be for you! 

This is not a whisky because it has not been aged. It is a white spirit. It is fitting that this review immediately follows my review of vodka, another white spirit. And a light version of vodka is probably the best way to describe this spirit; but this spirit has the rye bellowing loudly in the wind with lots of yeast and sourdough. It is produced using a process that creates quite a distinctive spirit.

Tasting notes

This spirit has all the hallmarks of rye, and it dances on the tongue softly and gently. It is clear as water.


This spirit is soft and light on the nose, with sourdough lifting from the glass. Adding some spark is under-ripe blueberry and notes of licorice. This is a very bright, fresh spirit that dances up from the glass youthfully. It has a dense smell about it, like a tightly closed box of mushrooms left sitting in the dark for a few days suddenly being opened with bursts of yeast ... Vegemite! That smell of Vegemite lingers in the background of sourdough (Vegemite is an Australian spread made from yeast extract).  


This spirit moves from the nose to the palate almost seamlessly. That big sourdough is the main theme, but cutting through it is the acidic under-ripe berry and the burst of aniseed with strong mushroom and helpings of yeast. It is soft on the palate, without any noticeable harshness. However, that unpleasant taste of old mushroom lingers on the palate.


The finish on this spirit is long and vibrant, as it leaves the taste of yeast and mushroom on the tongue; like biting into a sourdough, Vegemite and mushroom sandwich! . 

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