A wonderful history

It all started when Etienne Bouillon, Master Distiller, wanted to diversify and develop the local agricultural industry through the creation of an excellent quality Belgian Single Malt Whisky using barley grown in Hesbaye, based on controlled agriculture.

2004

The first cask!

Our first cask of Belgian Owl was filled on 29 October. In December, we started the pre-sale of the first bottles to customers via the Internet, for delivery 3 years later in November 2007.

2005

In the Whisky Bible!

Constant production with a maximum capacity of 20,000 bottles each year. First international scores in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible.

2007

Our whisky is born!

Our first bottles delivered during the Spirits in the Sky trade fair at Liège airport.

2008

First sales!

Our first sales in specialist wine and spirits merchants in Belgium.

2011

European Single Cask of the Year!

Belgian Owl won the 2011 European Single Cask of the Year, with a score of 95.5% in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. This is just the start of a series of awards to come.

2013

Legendary stills!

Arrival of the stills from the former Caperdonich distillery in Rothes (Speyside, Scotland). The same year, the first distillate runs from the stills for the future bottling of Belgian Owl.

2016

No more breaks in supply!

First bottling of Belgian Single Malt Whisky produced by the Scottish stills. For the first time in our history, the Owl Distillery can provide the domestic market with a continuous supply. A number of casks are kept back in the warehouse for ageing, so that we can create a diverse range of whiskies in the future. Start of the development of the export market in the countries bordering Belgium, as well as in America and Asia.

2017

A range!

The Owl Distillery gives 5 names to its range of whiskies: Origine, Identité, Passion, Intense and By Jove

An adventure on a human scale

Without devoted, passionate human beings, who are always open to innovation, our Belgian Owl would have never taken flight. We are proud to present the members of this family to you.

The Team

Bertrand, Florence, Katia, Etienne, Thibault, Julien, Femke.

The Owl Distillery’s team is dynamic, made up of enthusiastic and passionate individuals who are always seeking out new discoveries and improvements. They look after all the operations of a distillery: production, management, sales, and ageing of course.

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Shareholders

Etienne Bouillon, Pierre Roberti and Christian Polis.

Our shareholders are 3 people who complement each other: Etienne Bouillon, who created the project and brought it to life, Pierre Roberti, an experienced farmer, and Christian Polis, a financial expert.

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An ethical and local product

Our philosophy, our choices and our values define our distillery and our whisky. We are proud of promoting our local area whilst respecting each stage of the production.

Barley and water

There are two basic ingredients of a single malt whisky: barley and water.

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The passion of a craftsman

Our Belgian Owl is a completely craft production.

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The manufacturing
process

8 stages: growing the barley, malting, grinding, mashing, fermentation, distillation, cask ageing and bottling.

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The manufacturing process

8 stages: growing the barley, malting, grinding, mashing, fermentation, distillation, cask ageing and bottling.



1

Growing the barley

The spring barley is harvested in fields just a few dozen metres from the distillery, in Hesbaye, where the soil is renowned for its richness in oligo-elements. The Hesbaye region is one of the best places in the world for growing cereal crops.

2

Malting

The harvested barley is then sent to a maltery where the seeds are moistened to make them germinate. The malt obtained is dried and sent back to the distillery. Our Belgian Owl is not currently peaty.

3

Grinding

The malt is ground in the distillery’s mill. Once it has been ground, the malt releases the sugar that it contains more easily. This stage is essential for obtaining a perfect grist - ground malt.

4

Mashing

The ground malt is mixed with hot water in the mash tun for six hours. During this stage, the malt’s sugars are dissolved in the water. The mash tun for six hours. During this stage, the malt’s sugars are dissolved in the water. The water used is collected in wells located next to the distillery and comes from a water table 38 metres deep.

5

Fermentation

The slightly sweetened liquid - also called wort - is then transferred into a fermentation tank where the sugars are transformed into alcohol over a 72 hour period. The fruity and floral aromas typical of our region appear at this stage.

6

Distillation

A double distillation. is then carried out. Over 8 hours, the fermented wort is successively heated in two stills that came from the former Caperdonich distillery in Scotland. Once again, we prefer using a slow process for this stage. The alcoholic vapours are cooled and then collected which creates the distillate.

7

Ageing in casks

The distillate collected is then transferred to oak casks. The casks came from the United States where they were used once for ageing American Bourbon whiskey. We also only use them once. In order to obtain the European “whisky” Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée label, a minimum ageing period of three years is required.

8

Bottling

So as to preserve all of its flavours, Belgian Owl is non-chill filtered bottled at 46% volume with no colourings. As each cask is unique, this natural colouration can vary from one bottling to another.

The final result is a signature whisky and a visiting card for the region: a complex single malt with the flavours of the local area.

To find out more, and to experience our barley’s journey to the bottle, come and visit us where it all starts!

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