Filliers 10 Year Old single malt

Filliers 10 Year Old single malt

Filliers is a well-known name in the Belgian distilling scene, but mostly for other distillates than whisky. Five generations of this family created grain genever and later gin, advocaat, fruit genever and cream liqueurs. In 2007 they launched Goldlys, the first Belgian whisky. It was a pot + column still grain whisky, matured in ex-bourbon barrels, with several variations from different wood types. Despite the remarkably high age sometimes, the average quality was quite poor.

In 2019 they took a different route with the launch of a 10 year old single malt whisky under their own name Filliers, ditching the (burnt?) brand Goldlys. The spirit in this whisky is the result of double distillation in (genever) alambics. Additionally it comes from European oak sherry casks, explicitly aiming for a premium profile.

In 2018 two new Forsyths stills were installed, so we can expect yet another change in profile in the years to come.


Filliers 10 yo (43%, OB +/- 2019, 5500 btl.)

Nose: again not convincing. There’s a plankish woody note up front. Freshly opened Ikea packs, including the dusty cardboard wrapping, alongside cinnamon, nutmeg and other (rye) spices. Still a floral / fragrant popcorn edge that brings back memories of the old Goldlys style. No fruits, very little sherry goodness other than some nutty notes, just rough wood, brass polish and a whiff of acetone in the background.

Mouth: soaked tree bark, with more nutmeg, cinnamon and walnut oils. There are spices all over yet it doesn’t come across as a confident whisky. It focuses on raw malt with a faint bitter edge, somewhat lifted by dark chocolate and nutty notes. Plain alcohol is always lurking around the corner. Hints of oak aged gin and heavily infused tea.

Finish: loud woody notes. Short.

Disappointing again: unusual spirit in overactive casks with a poor sherry character. Look, Goldlys had a style of its own which couldn’t be compared to Scotch whisky. Sometimes that gives you the benefit of being an outsider, even when you’re wickedly different. However, when you’re explicitly moving towards Scotch whisky, then I’ll judge it the way I judge Scotch. In that sense it’s lacking in all areas. I hear their younger spirits are better, we’ll wait and see. Still available here and there, for around € 70.

Overall I think Belgian beer brewers are doing a better job at producing whisky than Belgian genever distillers. Cobbler, stick to your last?