The Gouden Carolus single malt is closely connected to the Het Anker Brewery in Mechelen. Brewer and distiller Charles Leclef started distilling at his family estate De Molenberg in 2010. A previous single malt with the same name was distilled at the Filliers distillery in column stills.
Charles Leclef's family estate distillery is equipped with a pair of Forsyth stills. The wash still has a capacity of 3000 litres, the spirit still can hold 2000 litres. The wash - basically a Gouden Carolus Tripel - comes from the Het Anker Brewery. The spirit matures for 30 months in first fill bourbon casks and six months in Het Anker casks. Some well-informed sources state these casks are re-coopered American oak casks scraped and toasted at the Portuguese J. Dias & Ca. Cooperage. So maybe these aren't virgin oak casks after all.
Identity Card Gouden Carolus single malt
- Official bottling from Brewery Het Anker / Distillery De Molenberg
- 3-year-old Belgian single malt whisky
- Distilled from the Gouden Carolus Tripel beer mash
- Matured 30 months in first fill bourbon casks, 6 months in “Het Anker” - American oak re-coopered in Portugal - casks
- Alcohol: 46% ABV
- Natural colour & unchillfiltered
Tasting notesColour: Dark gold with a copper hue. The whisky leaves a beautiful oily texture on the glass.
Nose: Dried bananas and burned almonds with a touch of marzipan. A fat creamy grapefruit-flavoured cheese dessert. Gingerbread with bits of stem ginger. Grain biscuits with apple and chocolate flakes. A compound gin made from juniper berry, cumin seeds and some dried coconut.
With water: Coconut aromas are more prominent now. Liquid Bounty biscuits. Bourbon notes are far more pronounced. Some freshly grated ginger and bleach water (?). A rather peculiar note...
Taste: Soft and sweet to the tongue. Sticky honey and sun-ripened melon. The coconut filling from Bounty biscuits. A touch of bitter wood brings balance. Almond pastry and some spices. Pepper, ginger and nutmeg.
With water: Creamy chocolate, gingerbread and vanilla cookies. Nutmeg. Banana tart and whipped cream.
Finish: Some earthy aromas from old wine and sharp spices are coating the tongue.
I enjoyed this Gouden Carolus Single Malt a lot more than the first-anniversary release I reviewed last week. Although it has a few sharp edges due to its youth and possibly the virgin oak finish, it feels more balanced. Firmly rooted in our beer brewing tradition, not too complex but enjoyable company with a few rough edges. Sounds pretty Belgian, no?