The Gouden Carolus single malt is made at merely 400 metres from my home at the Molenberg distillery in a village called Blaasveld. If you go another 400 metres further, you’ll enter the Blaasveld Broek which is the name for a 160 ha natural reserve full of swampy fields.
When a nearby river was confined in the 13th century people started to cut peat in this wetland area (until +/- 1770), leading to the artificial ponds that are now so characteristic for this reserve. Hence the name Gouden Carolus Blaasveld Broek for the first peated single malt from Molenberg. It was launched a couple of days ago and will be a permanent addition to the core range. It’s the first peated Belgian whisky distilled in classic pot stills.
The smoked malt wasn’t produced in Belgium, it was sourced from St Fergus, not far from Aberdeen. The whisky is bottled at 46% and matured in a combination of first-fill bourbon barrels and Anker casks which are essentially Portuguese STR casks.
Gouden Carolus Blaasveld Broek (46%, OB 2021, 50 cl)
Nose: subtle wood smoke on top of the usual young notes. Sweet apples and peaches with hints of vanilla custard. It’s not heavily peated, in fact it reminds us more of these Milk & Honey whiskies from ex-Islay casks. Hints of crème brûlée and smouldering pinewood but no coastal elements of course. A slight spirity note but overall a balanced nose.
Mouth: slightly less convincing now. Quite sweet and round at first, the vanilla and apple sweetness are more prominent than the peat smoke. A hint of herbal honey. Then the raw barley notes take over, and you get a spirity, slightly rough evolution. A pretty narrow and simple whisky.
Finish: short, with the barley sweetness coming out on top.
A peated single malt made by the book, but this would have benefited from a longer maturation. It is probably about the same age as the classic Gouden Carolus but in my opinion the youth is more noticeable here. Not bad but there’s quite some competition in this peated market segment and it doesn’t really stand out in any way. Around € 50 for a 50 cl bottle. Also available in 20 cl.