filliers single rye whisky aged 10 years single malt

Filliers 10 Years Sherry Oak & Single Rye Whisky (2023)

Filliers is probably Belgium’s largest whisky distillery (although they’ve made a name for themselves with genever). Today I’m reviewing the Filliers 10 Years Sherry Oak Casks, plus two of their latest whisky releases, the Filliers Single Rye Whisky 5 Years and 8 Years.

It seems Filliers is kind of pivoting away from genever, instead focusing on whisky production to secure this family-run distillery’s future. Or at least that’s the impression I got from talking to their brand reps. While the launch of their barrel-aged genevers in 2018 was a big deal, I’m not quite sure it gave them the expected return on investment.

filliers distillery 2

I love genever, but it is such a niche market that you’re probably never going to sell any volumes to speak of. Just look at Hooghoudt, a Dutch brand that invested heavily in genever over the past decade. I loved some of the products they were releasing. But just in the last year their managing director, commercial director, brand ambassador and communications manager jumped ship. Not a great sign.

Filliers probably made the right decision to shift their attention to whisky. In 2018 they installed two copper pot stills from Forsyths, a clear sign of their priorities. The pot stills were outside in wooden boxes when I visited that year, just waiting to be assembled.

filliers distillery 1

However, the whiskies we’re tasting today are not (yet) distilled in those pot stills. Future releases of the malt whisky will at some point come from those Forsyths pot stills. (They’re in use but the spirit isn’t yet old enough.) It’s unclear whether the rye whisky from Filliers will one day be made in the Forsyths stills also.

Instead, the new Filliers Single Rye Whisky was first distilled in a column still with 14 rectifying plates. Then the second distillation took place in the copper alembics Filliers have also been using for their genever production. The Filliers 10 Years Sherry Oak Casks is double distilled in those same copper alembics, never seeing the inside of a column still.

filliers 10 years sherry oak casks

Filliers 10 Years Sherry Oak Casks (43%, OB, 2019)

Nose: A hint of nail polish remover first, then a combination of herbal touches, raisins and sandalwood, but also cigar boxes, fennel and rye spices. Gentle floral notes in the background, accompanied by tea leaves and barley husks.
Taste: Rather dry and oak-forward. Notes of teak wood, maybe some juniper, and even a touch of angelica root. Plenty of spices and herbs, some chocolate pralines and very strong breakfast tea.
Finish: Medium length. Clear notes of cinnamon, loud tannins and walnuts.

It’s a strange one. The Filliers 10 Years Sherry Oak Casks is a single malt. They clearly state it’s made from 100% malted barley, but I could’ve been fooled into believing this is a rye whisky. The oak is very loud. The spirit character is unique. Speaking of rye whisky…

filliers single rye whisky 5 years review

Filliers Single Rye Whisky 5 Years (46.5%, OB, 2023)

Nose: Hints of chalk and porridge, along with a touch of pine needles, some eucalyptus and ripe bananas. Next up is a whiff brown sugar, maybe even some chocolate, and definitely cloves, vanilla custard and walnut skins. Becomes sweeter with time.
Taste: Good creamy mouthfeel, plenty of vanilla icing and a serious spiciness. Black pepper, sandalwood, nutmeg and ginger, but also a touch of sweet cinnamon and liquorice root.
Finish: Medium length with lingering oak and rye spices. Slightly herbacious and maybe a hint of After Eight.

While undeniably spicy, this Filliers Single Rye Whisky 5 Years is relatively mild for a rye whisky. The creamy mouthfeel and distinct vanilla sweetness make sure of it.

filliers single rye whisky 8 years review

Nose: Slivers of draff and pot ale alongside bitter lemon peels, menthol and white chocolate. Also touches of peanut skins, teak wood, dark caramel and vanilla, maybe even a whiff of juniper and a dusty earthiness.
Taste: Good mouthfeel again. There are baked bananas, a whisper of resin and milk chocolate, accompanied by clear-cut rye spices, some angelica root and fennel as well. Maybe a sliver of orange zest too and gingerbread too.
Finish: Medium to long. Nutmeg, cloves and other spices linger, but are chaperoned by a whisper of coriander and grasses.

The Filliers Single Rye Whisky 8 Years is maybe slightly more of a traditional rye. Somewhat spicier and a little less sweet than its 5-year-old sibling. I can't separate the two Single Rye Whiskies much quality-wise. This really is a matter of preference.

Samples provided by De Monnik Dranken

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