Belvedere has recently announced that it is launching Belvedere Heritage 176, a malted rye expression made using the centuries-old technique of malting to release a rich taste.
Up until the 1890s, Polish rye vodka-makers had, for centuries, relied on the technique of malting rye to produce vodka of distinct flavour.
But as distillation scaled up and modernised, and as the vodka category expanded, these old malting traditions disappeared and vodka become known for its neutral taste.
Belvedere has long challenged neutrality within vodka and believes that rye delivers both superior taste and character.
Fans of the brand may remember another foray into rye, with the release of the Belvedere Single Estate Rye expressions, which showcased the significant role that terroir plays in affecting the taste of rye.
The team at Belvedere wanted to continue this innovation with Heritage 176, this time showcasing the taste of rye as well as reviving the centuries-old malting rye technique.
This includes steeping, sprouting and heating the rye in kilns up to 176 degrees (hence the name Heritage 176) - a technique that the team said: "unlocks the rich depth, flavour and aroma that would otherwise remain hidden in the rye."
Created using simple ingredients and natural processes with zero additives or added sugars, Heritage 176 is made using Polska rye and purified water.
It is created using a blend of 98 per cent vodka and 2 per cent rye malted rye spirit. Belvedere’s master rye distillers experimented with many levels of malted rye in the final spirit, and settled on this ratio.
While 2 per cent does not seem like much, the distillers found that this percentage reveals the most complex flavour profile – pronounced enough to add character, but without dominating the final spirit.
Speaking of the new release, president and CEO of Belvedere Vodka, Rodney Williams, commented: “Belvedere remains committed to showcasing that rye can impart unexpected, authentic and nuanced taste.
"In 2018, our release of two different Single Estate Rye vodkas based on the same strain of rye demonstrated that terroir plays a significant role in shaping rye flavors.
"Now with Heritage 176, we are continuing to display rye’s enormous potential for rich and bold flavors, this time by malting rye to bring out its depth of flavor. Heritage 176 is a new sipping vodka based an old production technique.”
Mark Tracey, Belvedere UK brand ambassador added: “We are genuinely excited to introduce Heritage 176 to the UK and to be able to show the craftsmanship of our Polish master rye distillers through this delicious and surprising spirit that has been made with natural ingredients, using a long since forgotten production method.
"Heritage 176 offers drinks enthusiasts a rye experience with a big difference – it’s supremely rich on the palate, with a flavour profile of sweet spice, honey and walnut, that goes beyond what you’d expect from a white spirit.
“We feel it is best served over block ice with a lemon twist, but the versatility of this special new liquid also allows it to be stirred down into digestif cocktails or shaken with citrus and honey to be light, bright and refreshing.”
Heritage176’s packaging has been designed to reflect the craftsmanship and traditions that lie at the heart of the centuries-old story of malting rye.
Featuring a golden-bronze colour palette, a distinctive bottle shape and a classic label, Heritage 176 differentiates itself from the rest of the Belvedere portfolio in order to showcase the traditional flavour profile.
Belvedere Heritage 176 is available in the UK from 21 September from Amazon and Clos19, priced from: £42.