Two weeks ago the moment had arrived, I would taste the first Belgian whisky. Goldlys, as it's called is a product from Filliers distilleries, who traditionally make gin. It comes in a 3 year old and a 10 old variety. I tasted the 10 year old.
I had heard some bad comments on it before I tried it myself, but I set my mind on trying to like it no matter what they said and, when I did finally taste it... it was a bit of a letdown.
Mind you, I was expecting it to not taste like any whisky I had ever tasted, since it was technically a grain whisky, which went through a column still as well as a pot still. Well it was nothing like any whisky I'd had before, but it was a lot like, well gin. Only less aromatic. Grains were predominant, and I distinctly felt they could have done more with the product.
Later that night I got some inside information. Apparently the thing wasn't half bad before they chill filtered and coloured it, but Filliers couldn't resist going all out commercial and, even for the 10 year old aimed for the mass market. Although with what they have, I doubt it'll strike gold. Goldlys is somewhere between gin and whisky, and I don't think whisky lovers, nor gin lovers will develop a taste for it.
So our hopes remain with "The Belgian Owl", which should be the first Belgian single malt ever, and which will reach 3 years of age soon. I'm told that project is trying to be a Scottish style malt, I'm hearing good things about it. I hope it can deliver, because Goldlys doesn't cut it for me.
The sad part is that Filliers is the importer of Glenfarclas in Belgium, and have a long tradition of distilling, so they sure had the knowledge at hand. My guess is, they didn't have the patience to really sit down and make something good. I think all they had on their mind was beating "The Belgian Owl" to it for first Belgian whisky. Sadly they succeeded only technically.