Dram Review: Belgrove Rye Smoke’n Barrel

[58.4%・NAS・Bottled in 2018・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]


Overtly ashy, much like the aftermath of a small bush fire; burnt plastic and burning manuka, extremely herbal and eucalyptus driven.

Palate & Finish:

Intensely sweet followed by an engulfing wave of ashes, Chinese herbs, eucalyptus and menthol. Earthy Muscovado with burnt plastic and dry spices.

An earthy finish of bitter Chinese herbs and stale cigarette smoke.


Perhaps it’s one thing to use an ex-Lagavulin cask and another to actively smoke a barrel intensively.

It is great to see Mr. Bignell always pushing the boundaries and testing possibilities even though for me this cask didn’t quite pan out, it is just too overwhelmingly smoky on the nose and rye is perhaps not the best fitting spirit in this case.

Experiments like this don’t always work out and it is not a shot at Belgrove but rather it reflects an inconvenient truth that plagues the industry, there is a lack of outlet for rejected Australian casks and it contributes to a vicious cycle: distilleries are under financial pressure to release single casks that frankly should not exist and consumers are in turn more wary as buying good Australian whiskies increasingly comes down to luck.

As an industry, perhaps we have to collectively figure out a solution, Australian distilleries are known to be creative and that should remain as a positive point.

Cheers Daniel for the dram, it’s much appreciated.