Belgian Owl Distillery logo with stylized owl icon.

The Belgian Owl Distillery

  • Belgium
  • International Quality Awards:, Best European whisky in 2022 by Jim Murray, author of “The Whisky Bible”.
Phone Number
  • +3242230717
  • Hameau de Goreux 7, 4347 Fexhe-le-Haut-Clocher, Belgium

Historic brick building with moss-covered gate and small car.

History of The Belgian Owl Distillery

Founding and Early Development

The Belgian Owl Distillery was founded in 2004 by a team led by Etienne Bouillon, Christian Polis, and Pierre Roberti. Etienne Bouillon, the driving force behind the distillery, had a vision of producing single malt whiskies in Belgium. His dream materialized when the first Belgian single malt was released in 2007, marking a significant milestone in Belgian whisky production.

Distillation Process and Unique Features

The Belgian Owl Distillery is unique for its use of stills from the now-demolished Caperdonich Distillery in Rothes, Speyside, Scotland. This Scottish connection played a crucial role in the creation of Belgium’s first single malt. The distillery emphasizes handcrafted production using local Belgian barley from Goreux farm.

Their process includes non-aged spirit, spirit under the ageing process, whisky aged for over three years, and ‘straight from the cask’ whisky, showcasing the distillery’s commitment to showcasing different stages of whisky maturation.

The Belgian Owl Today

Over the years, the Belgian Owl Distillery has gained recognition for its quality. Their whiskies have scored highly at international awards and have been acknowledged in the Whisky Bible. One of their notable products, the Belgian Owl Identité whisky, is matured for 3 years in 1st fill bourbon casks from Heaven Hill Distillery in Kentucky, USA, and is bottled at 46% ABV. The whisky is unpeated and not chilled-filtered, offering a unique profile that reflects the Belgian terroir.

Expansion and Future Prospects

As of recent years, the Belgian Owl Distillery continues to grow and innovate in the whisky world. Their range includes various expressions, each showcasing different aspects of whisky ageing and maturation. The distillery’s commitment to quality and artisanal production has positioned it as a notable player in the European whisky landscape.

Awards Won by The Belgian Owl Distillery

International Quality Awards:

  • The Belgian Owl has been consistently recognised at the International Quality Awards by Monde Selection.
  • They secured the gold medal in the 2018 edition, marking their third consecutive win in this prestigious competition.
  • This achievement is notable as the competition involves over 1000 companies from 92 countries.

Best European Whisky Accolades:

  • The distillery’s “Identity” Single Malt was voted the best European whisky in 2022 by Jim Murray, author of “The Whisky Bible”.
  • This recognition was also awarded to them in 2011 and 2015.
  • “Identity” Single Malt scored 91 out of 100 from “The Whisky Advocate”, a prominent American magazine.

The Belgian Owl Distillery Tour Information and Experience

The Belgian Owl Distillery, renowned for its 100% Belgian single malt whisky, offers an engaging tour experience. It is located in Hesbaye and is celebrated for producing “The Belgian Owl” whisky, a product that has gained significant recognition, including being named the best in Europe.

Tour Highlights

  • Guided Tour by Experts: The tour is led by the master blender, Etienne Bouillon, or his team. It takes you through the entire whisky-making process, starting from the fields where the barley is cultivated to the tasting room.
  • Historical Equipment: The distillery houses authentic Scottish stills brought from the former Caperdonich distillery in Speyside, Scotland, adding a unique historical touch.
  • Tasting Session: The highlight of the tour is the tasting session. Visitors get to taste different varieties of The Belgian Owl whisky, including the “spirit” or unaged whisky and other aged versions.

Practical Information

  • Languages: The tour is available in French, Dutch, or English, catering to a diverse range of visitors.
  • Facilities: The distillery has a shop and offers outdoor catering. However, it’s important to note that pets are not allowed.
  • Accessibility: The site is part of a network offering facilities and services for travelers with special needs.

Visiting Details

  • Duration: The tour typically lasts around 1.5 hours.
  • Capacity: A maximum of 25 people per tour is allowed.
  • Pricing: Prices vary with age groups – adults, children over 13, and a free entry for children under 13.
  • Reservation: Visits are possible on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays by reservation.

Additional Experiences

  • Explore Local Terroir: The distillery also offers a chance to explore the barley crops and learn about the local terroir that contributes to the unique flavor of their whiskies.
  • Special Offers: For visitors booking through certain partners, there’s an opportunity to taste an additional variety of whisky.

The Belgian Owl Distillery tour is not just an opportunity to taste fine whisky but also a journey through the craft and history of whisky making in Belgium. It’s an experience that combines education, tasting, and the appreciation of traditional and modern distillery practices.

Flask & Barrel Review of The Belgian Owl Distillery

As a whisky collector who has toured numerous distilleries, I recently had the pleasure of visiting The Belgian Owl Distillery, and I must say, it was an experience that deserves a solid 4.7 out of 5 rating.

From the moment I set foot in the distillery, I was struck by the unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation. The Belgian Owl’s commitment to using locally sourced Belgian barley added a distinct local charm to their spirits. The tour guide was knowledgeable and enthusiastic, perfectly catering to both novice enthusiasts and seasoned collectors like myself.

The tasting session was the highlight of my visit. The “Identity” Single Malt, which has gained international acclaim, lived up to its reputation. Its smooth texture, coupled with a complex blend of flavors, was a delight. The subtleties of oak and vanilla from the bourbon casks were evident and added depth to the whisky.

What impressed me most was the range of products they offered. From the classic Origine to the robust Intense, each variant presented a unique aspect of Belgian whisky craftsmanship. Their Special Editions, particularly the Passion and By Jove, showcased their innovation and expertise in whisky making.

The distillery’s atmosphere was welcoming and warm. It felt more like a journey through the heritage and future of Belgian whisky rather than just a regular tour. The care and passion put into their whisky making process were palpable in every corner of the distillery.

What To Do Nearby The Belgian Owl Distillery

Visit The Belgian Owl Distillery: Of course, a tour of the distillery itself is a must. Here, you can learn about the intricate whisky-making process, from barley cultivation to bottling, and enjoy tastings of their renowned single malt whiskies.

Local Gastronomy: Belgium is famous for its cuisine, so trying local delicacies in nearby restaurants would be a delightful experience. From traditional Belgian dishes to contemporary fine dining, the region offers a variety of culinary delights.

Historical and Cultural Sites: The area around the distillery is rich in history and culture. You might consider visiting local museums, historic buildings, and cultural landmarks to immerse yourself in the region’s heritage.

Nature Trails and Parks: If you’re a nature enthusiast, the region offers beautiful trails and parks. These provide a great opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Belgian countryside.

Shopping and Local Markets: Exploring local markets and shops can give you a taste of the regional lifestyle and an opportunity to pick up unique souvenirs or local products.

Artisanal Breweries: Belgium is known for its beer, so visiting local breweries can be a fascinating experience, especially if you’re interested in understanding different aspects of Belgian beverage-making traditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near The Belgian Owl Distillery?

Le Chianti: It has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +32 4 222 97 12. Their address is Rue de Roloux 85, 4347 Fexhe-le-Haut-Clocher, Belgium.

Campagnarde (la): This restaurant has a rating of 4.2 stars. You can contact them at +32 4 250 45 40. Their location is Grand’Route 482, 4347 Fexhe-le-Haut-Clocher, Belgium.

Les Mainvilles: It has a rating of 4.3 stars. For contacting them, the phone number is +32 495 67 35 09, and they are located at Grand’Route 202, 4347 Fexhe-le-Haut-Clocher, Belgium.

What hotels are near The Belgian Owl Distillery?

Park Inn By Radisson Liege Airport: It has a rating of 4.1 stars. For reservations, you can contact them at +32 4 241 00 00. Their address is Rue de l’Aéroport 14, 4460 Grâce-Hollogne, Belgium.

Pentahotel Liège: This hotel has a rating of 4.3 stars. You can reach them at +32 4 221 77 11. It is located at Bd de la Sauvenière 100, 4000 Liège, Belgium.

Eburon Hotel – Different Hotels: It has a rating of 4.2 stars. For contacting them, the phone number is +32 12 23 01 99, and they are situated at De Schiervelstraat 10, 3700 Tongeren, Belgium.