The world of genever isn’t as dynamic as the whisky world. It’s not even a competition. There’s daily news on new whiskies and developments in the industry, whereas genever counts but a few dozen of producers situated in a tiny corner of the world. Not even the biggest genever producers come close to an average Scotch whisky distillery in terms of production capacity. In short: it’s not often that exciting things happen in genever.
So when Belgium producer Filliers announced a complete overhaul of their core range, it was equivalent to Macallan introducing the 1824 series, times ten. Only Filliers, the biggest producer of Genever in the world, sitting on a large amount of aged stock, would be able to pull something off like their new Filliers Barrel Aged Genever range.
The range consists of five different genevers, ranging from 0 years old to 21 years old. All expressions are made from 100 percent maltwine, except for the youngest one, which is the odd one out in this series, as explained last week. The malt wine is made from corn, malted barley and rye, before maturing in American oak ex-bourbon casks. The only botanical used for these expressions is juniper, which is added (in very small quantities) after maturation.
As I already took a closer look at the Filliers 0 Years Old Young & Pure, today it is time to examine both the 8 Years Old and the 12 Years Old.
Filliers 8 Years Old Barrel Aged Genever (40%, OB)
Nose: Soft grains (the rye is certainly recognizable) with hints of oranges and vanilla, as well as soft touches of oak, juniper and a few pine needles. Some baking spices too. Very well-balanced. Taste: A creamy texture, with light flavour of banana, some fudge, Demerara sugar and bitter oak as well. Finally some nutmeg. Finish: Lingering notes of nutmeg and cloves, with a hint of sweetness.
Filliers 12 Years Old Barrel Aged Genever (42%, OB)
Nose: Fresh and fruity at first, with notes of apples and banana, as well as a hint of chocolate and cinnamon, before progressing into a grainier, barnyard-y territory. Taste: Quite sweet, with a hit of caramel, vanilla and cinnamon. There’s a whisper here of juniper berries. Finally some charred oak and orange peel. Finish: Lingering bitterness, with some herbs and grassiness coming in at the end.
Two wonderfully crafted Genevers, that should do extremely well in a variety of cocktails. Neat, my preference is towards the younger of the two, as it feels just a bit more pure. But regardless, you can’t go wrong with either of these.