THE HOLIDAYS BY SOBERON: Filliers Barrel-Aged Genever

Merry Christmas to all! With the first dinners now past us, we probably still have a lot of ‘em to go, including NYE, and what better way to start a new year with some massively delicious spirits?

Last year I made two New Year’s Resolutions myself, and one of them was “Drink more of the good stuff, less of the bad“, a resolution I was able to fulfill and will keep up for 2019 as well. And what about you joining me in this? Today’s recommendation (and the last one for that matter), is a huge piece of heritage for all us Belgians and definitely fits in the category of ‘more of the good stuff’.


While genever has been around for centuries, it is often ‘just’ seen as the predecessor of ‘Gin’, which might be partially true, but definitely belittles both its importance and difference in variety. In essence (and very simply put) Genever builds a bridge between Whisky and Gin. It starts with a base of Maltwine and is distilled with botanicals including (and often predominantly) juniper berry. Depending on the style and whether it gets barrel-aged or not, Genever might range from basic to amazingly complex.

Next to Belgium and The Netherlands there aren’t a lot of places where Genever is easily available, let alone be served either neat or in cocktails. But historically speaking, things were quite different: In Classic American Cocktail Culture (primarily pre-prohibition) most ‘Gin’ based drinks in fact asked for ‘HOLLAND Gin’, which essentially was… indeed… genever.

Today’s recommendation are two expressions of the new series of ‘Barrel Aged Genevers‘ by Filliers Distillery, a range of five genevers ranging from 0 to 21 years old. The first three (0, 8 and 12) are perfect genevers to use as base in cocktails. And in the past, you might’ve seen the 0 and 8 being used on my Instagram.

Mid-december, a cocktail I created, called ‘Thyme Out’, won the award of ‘Liefmans Cocktail of the Year‘. It was a combination of the Filliers ‘0’ Genever, lime juice, sugar syrup and Liefmans Fruitesse.

Yet today, I’m focussing on the two oldest expressions in the range, meet the 17 and 21!


Filliers Barrel Aged 17
With a minimum age of 17 years, this Genever almost feels and tastes like a fine malt Whisky. It has a thick and rich, bread-y mouthfeel, with a beautiful layer of oakiness. It’s not often that Genevers get aged for this amount of time, but the result is stunning. It tastes both vibrantly fresh yet deeply mature, spicy in both the nose and mouth, with a velvet, honey lingering on the palate and caramel finish.

Filliers Barrel Aged 21
With a minimum of 21 years of age, this expression of genever is the oldest genever available in the world. No other distillery bottles a product as old as this one. SO drinking this isn’t just an aromatic pleasure, it’s an opportunity to taste a unique experience. Deep and dark, slightly sweet chocolate, meeting gooey marmalade. Solid, nutty, wood as backbone and a finish of malt.

Both the 17 and 21 Genevers are definitely meant to be served neat (or on some ice if you prefer), though, as long as you honor the complexity of the spirit and give it enough room to breathe, they can be used to create elegantly mixed drinks as well.

Here’s a drink I created with the 17yo: a lovechild between the Martinez and Hanky Panky, fittingly and playfully called ‘Sipping in a tree… K I S S I N G‘.


– 2oz 17yo Filliers Genever
– 3/4oz Sweet Vermouth
– 1/4oz Fernet (Distilleria Quaglia)
– 1 barspoon Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
– 1/3 pipet By The Dutch Ginger Bitters

1. Stir all with plenty of ice
2. Strain over a single block of clear ice
3. Express and garnish with orange zest

You can find both Genevers at specialized liquor stores or online webshops like Drankdozijn, at a recommended price of €60 for the 17yo and €75 for the 21yo, both come in bottles of 70cl.

That’s all, people! Thanks for following my recommendations and see you in 2019!


Disclaimer 1: All pictures and text are property of Matthias Soberon / Served By Soberon. Nothing can be used or copied without written permission of the author and the addition of credits.

Disclaimer 2: These ‘Holiday-Recommendations’ are entirely personal and all chosen by me. While some items might have been gifted, these are in no way paid promotions or recommendations that were chosen for me in stead of by me.

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