Country: Belgium
Type: Single Malt
Bottler: Distiller
ABV: 76.1%
Score: 83 points

The Belgian Owl Cask Strength. Image courtesy The Owl Distillery.This 5-year-old single malt varies in strength, but usually is found at well above 70% ABV. It’s matured in a dry warehouse that causes water in the casks to evaporate as much as the alcohol, which tends to keep the proof value high. In addition, the distillery does not reduce its spirit with water during cask filling, unlike almost every other whisky distillery in the world. These factors result in what may well be one of the world’s strongest whiskies.

The nose is strong and dry, but has no alcohol burn, with notes of malt, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, and ginger. The taste is thick, fruity, and dry at first with touches of plums and raisins…followed seconds later by an explosion of chili pepper spice that fades very slowly to reveal dried peaches and apricots in the background. The finish takes those same notes and fades away very slowly. This whisky is best served with a splash of water and in very small amounts, but has a very interesting complexity for such a young and intense whisky. (December, 2013)