Following our fortnight in the Netherlands, we head south to Belgium for the fifth instalment of Around The World In 80 Drams! I left you with a couple clues as to what distillery we’re visiting – namely I told you to think of 28 gold statues of Ned Flanders and that it would take me around two hours to travel there by beaver. This all sounds ridiculous now, but when I say that we’re visiting the Filliers distillery in Bachte-Maria-Leerne, it’ll all make sense. Right?


OK, so the “28” refers to their Dry Gin 28, the “gold statues” refers to Goldlys, the name of their whisky range and “Ned Flanders” refers to the distillery being in the East Flanders region of Deinze. The Zuidam distillery is 68.1 miles away from the Filliers distillery and the top speed of a beaver is 34 miles per hour, so if it properly ran the whole way, it’d take me two hours to get there. Clear? Splendid.

Ned Flanders

I’m still really good at MS Paint, by the way.

As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to visit Belgium a couple weeks ago, though I didn’t get to go to the Filliers distillery as I was in Bruges. I mention this only so I can regale you with tales of the waffles I ate (they were excellent) and say that I will not be making any In Bruges jokes in this blog post. Jake already made enough of them when he announced that Master of Malt were the first folks to make Filliers products available in the UK retail market. Cheers Jake.

Filliers Sign

Filliers. A lot of history behind that name.

So, Filliers. The family’s history with distilling goes all the way to Karel Lodewijk Filliers, who was born in 1792 and eventually came up with the idea of starting to distill jenever as part of the family’s farming activities. More than five generations of Filliers later, they’re still making fantastic jenever using malt wine distilled in copper stills in the same place as the original company.

Filliers Family


Filliers Stills

Filliers’ stills. I bet they never get tired of people calling them “Stilliers”.

Karel chose the farm in Bachte-Maria-Leerne rather near to the River Lys. In fact, the River Lys is even referenced in the name of their whisky range – Goldlys. Why the “Gold” bit, you ask? Well, the river used to take on a golden hue due to all the decomposing flax in the water. See, it’s a little bit like my “28 gold statues of Ned Flanders” hint, but makes more sense.

On the topic on Belgian whisky, Filliers first launched their double still whisky in 2007, made using both pot and column stills. Since then, they’ve released a series of single cask expressions and whiskies finished in different types of Sherry casks, allowing you to see the effect each type of Sherry has on the spirit. It’s good stuff indeed. Let’s taste some, shall we?

Goldlys 12 year Old Distillers Range

5. Bachte-Maria-Leerne, Belgium – Goldlys 12 Year Old (cask 2600) – Distillers Range

Nose: Juicy fruits galore! Quite a bit of gooseberry to it, as well as sweet tinned peaches. Golden Nugget cereal and lightly-browned toast.

Palate: More tinned peaches (moving into tinned pineapple notes too). Cooking spices really start to show here – plenty of focus on the nutmeg and five-spice. White chocolate too.

Finish: Lasting nutmeg and a little grainy hint of wheat toast right near the end.

And with that, we say bye-bye to Belgium and head south into France! Here’s a big hint as to what we’re going to be tasting next – apples. Prepare for apples. Just in case you were wondering, it would take me about 20 hours to travel from Filliers to the next distillery via American crocodile.

Didn’t see many American crocodiles when I was in Belgium, funnily enough…

Cheers to James Goggin for the photos.