Micro-distillery

Gin and Whisky

Waterloo Gin and Whisky are brand-new local products distilled in the heart of a historical site full of character and authenticity.

History

Located at the foot of the famous Lion’s Mound overlooking the battlefield of Waterloo, Mont-Saint-Jean Farm has maintained traditions that go back more than a thousand years. Predating the former British field hospital, Waterloo Brewery has produced the finest traditional beers for 500 years and has now rekindled an old tradition by distilling high-quality Gin and Whisky. This is not surprising given that a farm as impressive as Mont-Saint-Jean Farm most likely had its own distillery in previous centuries.

After all, a distillery was an effective means of transforming expired beer into distillates, producing concentrated grain alcohol from beer. In this case, Waterloo Beer is the main ingredient of Waterloo Gin and Whisky.

Although juniper-flavoured spirits called “jenever” or “peket” were already distilled here, the Battle of Waterloo introduced new products to this region. In the 17th century, the English had developed gin by adding spices from their colonies to Flemish jenever.

So despite its atrocity with over 6000 soldiers ending up in the field hospital, the Battle of Waterloo also brought something positive to Mont-Saint-Jean Farm. The British soldiers left barrels of whisky and gin at the farm, which gave farmers from the region inspiration for distilling new spirits.

The current flavour of the Gin and Whisky distilled at the farm has been directly influenced by this Belgian-English heritage.

Ingredients

Waterloo Gin and Whisky are both distilled from beer. The only difference is that in case of Whisky, the distillate is in no way altered and is produced purely from beer. In case of Gin, various spices and herbs are added during the distillation process to create its distinct flavour.

Whereas expired beer used to be distilled in the past, all brews destined for the distillery are now specially produced for this purpose. Waterloo Gin and Whisky are both distilled from Waterloo Récolte, a seasonal beer whose recipe has remained unchanged since the end of the Middle Ages. It is brewed with over 30% wheat grown in the fields surrounding the farm and barley malt. The beer does not contain hops, which do not contribute anything to the distillation. The water from the local well and the yeast of Waterloo Brewery reflect the distinctive character of the region.

Production process

The 100% artisanal process is based on the methods used by farmers in the Middle Ages. First of all, you need an alcoholic base to distil any spirits, since distillation does not create alcohol but concentrates it.

It all begins with the production of Waterloo Beer that does not contain any hops since this ingredient does not bring any flavour to the alcohol. In the olden days, this beer was often recycled after it had expired. The beer is now specially produced for this purpose, but is still brewed with locally grown cereals. The mashing process takes longer while boiling and fermentation are shorter than in case of Waterloo Récolte. The brew is then transferred to the adjacent distillery. Contrary to Gin, Whisky is produced on the basis of 100% malt beer.

The beer becomes the main ingredient of the distillate and is called wort at this stage. It is brought to a boil and the alcohol evaporates at 78.3°C. During this process, the distiller carefully controls the temperatures.
As the alcoholic vapours pass through a basket of carefully selected herbs and spices, certain aromas evaporate together with the alcohol depending on the temperature.

As is the case with every distillation, the alcohol ultimately obtained is transparent. After it has been diluted with demineralised water, it is ready to be bottled in case of Gin.The Whisky, on the other hand, is transferred directly into oak barrels, some of which come from Scotland. Only after three years of maturation in barrels can the liquor be legally designated as Whisky. During those three years, the liquid will have absorbed notes of vanilla, caramel or wood from the barrel. Only time will tell…

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Microdistillery

 

The special feature of our brand-new German-made microdistillery is that it can distil in two different ways: as a pot still and as a column still. The pot still process is traditionally used for Whisky, while the column still process is used for Gin. Although this is sacrilege according to the Scots, we have noticed that using a pot still is not necessary. In fact, by starting from raw materials of the highest quality and by controlling the fermentation process, we have succeeded in producing an exceptional distillate or “new make” with primary notes of pears and cereals, solely by means of a column still. This allows us to reach an alcohol content of over 70% immediately, whereas a pot still would require a second distillation to reach the desired alcohol content of 65%.
With a wash quantity not exceeding 250 litres, our microdistillery is one of the smallest in Belgium. It only has a production capacity of 15,000 litres of spirits. In 2021, we are installing a brand-new 500L distillery (double the size of the old one) inside a new building on the farm. Follow us on our Waterloo Distillery Facebook page to witness this great adventure!

Our Gins

Gin lovers know there are two categories: some gins are spicy while others are aromatic. In Flanders, most gins are spicy thanks to the use of juniper berries, which add hot and peppery notes. Aromatic gins, on the other hand, are generally made with more exotic ingredients with aromas such as cloves and cinnamon.
The delicious Premium Gin distilled at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm is obviously 100% Belgian, although it is very aromatic as well. It strikes a perfect balance between our national tradition and more exotic accents influenced by English traditions. Rooted in history, this pure product combines the best qualities of both traditional gin types.

Waterloo Original Gin

500ml – 42° vol.


A fresh and seductive gin with notes of spices, lemon and flowers.

Aroma: the juniper berries subtly blend with a range of floral aromas such as lavender and aniseed.

Mouthfeel: a herbal and slightly spicy flavour with a finish characterised by hints of fennel and the smooth fragrance of juniper berries.

Waterloo Original Gin owes its unique character to the subtle addition of spices, flowers and  juniper.

Waterloo Oak Gin

500ml – 42° vol.


The best of two worlds: a smooth gin characterised by sweet flavours and the richness of oak wood.

Aroma: seductive fragrances of pastry, sweet cocoa, vanilla and cereals.

Mouthfeel: the perfect balance between the wood’s smoothness and the gin’s marked character results in a smooth and bitter finish.

Waterloo Sloe Gin

500ml – 28° vol.


Sloe Gin, well-known in England, easily measures up to more traditional Gins.
This liqueur is made by steeping sloe berries in gin Waterloo Original Gin, creating a whole new experience for gin lovers.
This rather feminine and sweet Gin has its own distinctive character.

Aroma: the sugar in the sloe berries sweetens the body of this Gin and provides it with forest fruit aromas.

Mouthfeel: the Gin itself is characterised by some bitterness and a rather dry note, resulting in a perfectly balanced liqueur, both in the mouth and in the nose.

Some prefer it straight, others with sparkling wine (e.g. in a Sloe Royal).

Our Whiskies

The first barrels of Scotch whisky arrived on the farm in 1815. The whisky was reserved for the officers and helped them fight off the pain of the injuries sustained on the battlefield. After 3 years of distilling on the basis of the recipe for our Waterloo beers, we can finally present our 3 Waterloo whiskies: The Surgeon, The Nurse and The Brancardier.
Our very first batch is limited and each bottle is numbered.
Your support enables us to look forward to the future and embark on new projects such as acquiring Oloroso and sherry barrels and trying out new recipes. You will be able to discover these innovations before anyone else can.
Join Belgium’s Finest Whisky Club and taste the magic from the land of the brave!

The Brancardier

500ml – 46° vol.


“Brancardiers” or stretcher-bearers were probably the most vulnerable people during the battle of Waterloo. Precursors of the ambulance, they  single-handedly carried the wounded to Mont-Saint-Jean Farm.

Waterloo Single Grain is without a doubt the ideal introduction to the world of Belgian whisky. Aromas of caramel and vanilla complement subtle spicy notes. You can even distinguish a bouquet of spring flowers. The smooth mouthfeel is characterised by a balance between vanilla sugar and spicy and woody flavours, resulting from a blend with American barrels made from white oak (Quercus alba). The finish is characterised by a long aftertaste of tea leaves.

Type: Single Grain

Wash: Waterloo Récolte

Aromas: The sweetest and spiciest of our three whiskies. This well-balanced whisky displays notes of toffee and burnt sugar.

Mouthfeel: Its spiciness is offset by the sweetness of vanilla and burnt sugar. Sandalwood gradually appears together with slightly fruity notes of mango, pear and peach. Creamy, smooth and sweet.

Aftertaste: Long and complex

Barrel (history): Oak (Highlands Scotch Whisky) + New white oak (Quercus alba)

The Nurse

500ml – 46° vol.


The Nurse refers to the indispensable role played by Allied and Belgian women (often from the village) who assisted the medical corps throughout the battle at Mont Saint Jean Farm.

This Waterloo Single Cask Grain whisky is without a doubt a pleasant surprise! Using Waterloo Récolte as a basis for distillation, we have succeeded in extracting all aromas from the beer, without any loss … Pear and grass aromas accompany the sweet fragrance of vanilla as well as notes of red pepper and grain. Aficionados will appreciate the subtle notes of dark chocolate.

Type: Single Cask Grain

Wash: Waterloo Récolte

Aromas: Sweet and complex aromas of vanilla, pear and pine. Slightly smoky.

Mouthfeel: Its spiciness is counterbalanced by its smoothness and hints of vanilla, reminiscent of a light dessert (ice cream, for example). It remains complex and round, in particular thanks to the grain and pear notes.

Aftertaste: Short and dry, yet spicy and fruity (pear).

Barrel (history): Oak (Highlands Scotch Whisky)

The Surgeon

500ml – 46° vol.


The Surgeon pays tribute to the numerous surgeons who operated day and night at Mont-Saint-Jean Farm for more than a week after the battle of Waterloo.

This Waterloo Single Cask Malt is distilled from Waterloo Triple Blond. The Belgian barley, fermented with our special yeast, brings extraordinary spicy notes. After distillation, the spirit ages for over 3 years in oak barrels from the Highlands of Scotland. This whisky is characterised by sweet vanilla aromas blended with oak, followed by notes of spices and juniper. The long aftertaste of barley is reminiscent of Waterloo Triple.

Type: Single Cask Malt

Wash: Waterloo Triple Blond

Aromas: The smooth aromas of oak and vanilla are accompanied by hints of melon, pine and biscuits.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and spicy notes, as well as hints of cream and vanilla, will carry you away …

Aftertaste: Persistent piny aroma. The malt (biscuit) comes back and reminds us of this whisky’s origin …

Barrel (history): Oak (Highlands Scotch Whisky)