Organizers of tastings like to throw you off by adding a non-whisky to the line up. That’s what happened to me and about 25 other people at a recent tasting when we were asked to taste something blind. It turned out to be Filliers 1992 Vintage Graanjenever (a sort of gin) from Belgium. I don’t think anyone of us guessed it wasn’t a whisky. I tasted something was off, but I didn’t put two and two together until I was shown the bottle. Then I could see the similarities to some other jenevers (I don’t have much experience in the area), like the grainy flavour and the shorter finish. All in all it was a good experience and a fine spirit. I’ll tell you some more about Filliers, but first my blind tasting notes.
Nose: Plenty of vanilla and a bit of citrus. It’s very sweet and there’s also some banana. There’s a bit too much wood, which tells me that it’s not one of those very young three or four year old whiskies. Taste: There is something a bit off here, I’m not sure what it is. There is some pepper, tastes like a rye whisky. It’s also very oily and fat, which I like. Finish: More oak here, very dusty. Short, it disappears quickly.
I was pleasantly surprised that graanjenever could taste like this. It is a fairly exclusive one, according to the distillers they are the only ones with stock of jenever of that age. The jenever has aged on bourbon barrels from Jack Daniels and there are only 1500 bottles. I find it funny that Filliers describes the finish as very, very long. Maybe compared to other jenevers, but not compared to the single malts I’m used to drinking. Where I live it is available for about 25 euros, which is ridiculously low for a 21 year old spirit. I almost took home a bottle, but than I changed my mind a spent the money on single malt.