Belgrove Brown Rye

Reviewed by: Ted

Belgrove Brown RyeEverybody knows by now that Tasmania is a hub of whisky revolution. Ever since the resurrection of the industry in the 90’s, things have been taking off quicker than an alka-seltzer bottle rocket. So how do you innovate in a young industry that’s already innovating its socks off? Rye thought you’d never ask…

Founded by Peter Bignell, a man often described as a Da Vinci of distilling (well, he definitely is now), Belgrove Distillery is located just outside Kempton in the southern Midlands of Tasmania. DIY, organic and hand-made sums up Belgrove’s vibe, with Pete quite literally crafting everything from the ground up, including the stills, barrels, biodiesel (made from left-over chip oil from the local take-away and used to power the stills) and of course the grain used in the whisky itself.

The grain is where Belgrove really makes its point of difference from all the other Tasmanian distillers. Why use boring old barley when you can use rye instead, organically grown on-site? After growing a bumper crop of the stuff on the farm in 2008 (a favourite grain of the Canadian distillers but not used in Tassie), Pete was apparently inspired to turn it into whisky. Being a extraordinarily talented and driven individual, one thing led to another and here we are today.

Belgrove now produces a number of different 100% rye drops, including white rye, black rye, peated rye and of course, the subject of this review, the brown rye.

The nose of the brown rye is dark and fruity, full of ripe apple, plum and apricot. It rather reminds me of the scent of the bowl of home-made preserved stewed fruit my grandma always used to keep in her kitchen cupboard, a very fond memory. Alongside the fruit is rose petals, custard and an undertone of dull metal, like drinking from a rough copper mug.

The taste is quite different to the flavour complex produced by the nose. Although its body initially starts off fruity, it immediately transmogrifies into deep earthy, ashy flavours, like smouldering rye stubble in a paddock or curling incense smoke in a gypsy tent. The finish is slightly bitter and astringent but very satisfying, like having a cup of black tea after a sweet dessert.

Everything you thought you knew about Tasmanian whisky goes out the window when you try the Belgrove brown rye. It’s like learning to drink whisky all over again, an exciting time full of power and emotion. It is a spirit that resonates powerfully with the creative, hands-on ethos of its maker. If you want to try something different, yet still uniquely Tasmanian, then the rye of Belgrove awaits you.


Belgrove Brown Rye

Tasmanian whisky: One state. Three ingredients. Unlimited flavour.




  1. I must admit to being partial to a bit of rye.
    Belgrove Rye takes it to a different level however.
    More soft, smooth and rounded.
    Worked my way through 4 different expressions of Belgrove and enjoyed them all.
    Favourite was the Pinot Noir Cask Strength release at a massive 63.4%.
    Now that one packed a punch – along with some lovely tasty notes too!
    Peter Bignell is onto something good here.


    1. Yeah, it is good isn’t it? I’d really like to try some more, especially that cask strength. That sounds amazing. I’ve passed you thoughts on to Peter, he’ll definitely appreciate them.
      Keep on waffling,


  2. As you guys so often do, you’ve made me a little bit jealous. Rye, as you’ve mentioned, is the staple of Canadian whisky but I don’t know of anyone over here who is thinking as outside the box and being as creative with rye as your Belgrove. It sounds like some awesome rye is being distilled there!

    I will keep my eyes open for it… Unfortunately, Aussie drams are terribly rare here in Canada!

    Keep up the great work, gentlemen!


    1. Trust a Canadian to get excited about rye haha. It goes a bit of both ways actually; we don’t see too much Canadian stuff (outside the bog standard stuff) down here. I’d love to share a dram of Belgrove with you and watch your reaction. I wonder how similar/different it is to Canadian rye?
      Keep on waffling,


  3. I really would love to buy a bottle. I live in
    Mission BC Canada and you can’t find it anywhere in Canada because know one sells it.
    Here is my email,
    I will give my name and address and phone number.

    Sincerely appreciate 🙏
    Wendy Jones


    1. Hi Wendy, thanks for getting in touch. We’ve spoken with Peter from Belgrove about the subject of North America recently as there’s been a few enquiries. Guessing you may have seen the Gordon Ramsay episode as well?

      Can’t blame you for asking, Canadians love their rye, right? It’s a pretty special drop, don’t reckon it would be like anything you’ve had before. Unfortunately there isn’t an official channel into North America at the moment, but Peter says that he’s currently working with an importer in the US and there potentially may be stock heading over next year. Not sure what that means for Canada, but hopefully you should be able to source a bottle.

      Keep an eye out in 2021, and good luck.


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