Luxury vodka brand Belvedere is launching Heritage 176, an expression made using the centuries-old technique of malting rye to impart “rich taste and character”.
Up until the 1890s, Polish rye vodka-makers had relied on the technique of malting rye to produce vodka of distinct flavour. Beginning in the early 1900s, as distillation scaled and modernised, and the vodka category expanded, technology evolved and the old malting traditions sadly faded out.
With Heritage 176, Belvedere set out to showcase the taste of rye by reviving the centuries-old malting rye technique, which includes steeping, sprouting and heating the rye in kilns up to 176 degrees – hence the vodka’s name.
Created using all natural processes, with zero additives or added sugars, Heritage 176’s only two ingredients are Polska rye and purified water.
Belvedere’s master rye distillers experimented with many levels of malted rye in the final spirit, deciding on a blend of 98% vodka and 2% malted rye spirit.
Although it does not seem like much, they found that 2% reveals “the most complex flavour profile” – pronounced enough to add exceptional character, but without dominating the final spirit.
Rodney Williams, president and CEO of Belvedere Vodka, said: “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 flavours.”
“Now, with Heritage 176, we are continuing to display rye’s enormous potential for rich and bold flavours – this time by malting rye to bring out its depth of flavour. 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.”