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Belvedere releases Heritage 176 vodka made with malted rye

Super-premium rye vodka brand Belvedere is launching an expression which both harks back to its roots and heralds a new trend in vodka making.

Belvedere Heritage 176 is made with malted rye, using a centuries-old malting technique to release the grain's rich character. It supports the brand's long-held goal to challenge neutrality in vodka and showcase the varietal power of rye.

Polish rye vodka makers had relied on malting their rye for centuries until technological advances and growth in distillation in the early 1900s created a greater focus on producing more neutrally flavoured vodkas.

Belvedere's Heritage 176 continues the experimentation seen in previous releases such as the Belvedere Single Estate Rye expressions, which aimed to show how terroir can affect the taste of rye. In the new release, the rye is steeped, sprouted and heated in kilns up to 176C (which inspired the vodka's name) to unlock a greater depth of flavour. 

The final product is a blend of 98 per cent vodka and 2 per cent malted rye spirit - a proportion that Belvedere's master distillers found produced the most complex rye flavour profile.  

Rodney Williams, president and CEO of Belvedere Vodka, said: "Belvedere remains committed to showing 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 on an old production technique."

Mark Tracey, Belvedere UK brand ambassador, added: "Heritage 176 offers drinks enthusuasts 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."

The new vodka's packaging has been designed to reflect the heritage and craftsmanship of rye malting, with a golden-bronze colour palette and classic label architecture. 

Belvedere Heritage 176 is available in the UK from 21 September from Amazon and priced from £42.

14 September 2020 - Bethany Whymark