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  • Writer's pictureErnie - Ernst Scheiner

St Kilian. Heimat Malt. New

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Summer Whisky by St Kilian

Latest Version of the

Kiliani Edition BURKARD


First Impression

A pleasant charmer shines discreetly like polished copper in the glass. St Kilian Distillers speak of "Roségold."

Pleasant fruity scents reminiscent of apricots fill the nose. They cause a positive opening anticipation. Expectations rise. Ripe peach seems to dominate the multi-layered aroma potpurri of white fruits. The alcohol of the young, mild three-year-old "Heimat Malt" - local barley - is well integrated. Nothing bites or stings. The drinking strength of 46% vol. enhances the flavours.

A vinous freshness, along with subtle spicy sweetness and a smooth, creamy character surprise on the tongue.

The Kilian Single Malt slides gently down the tongue with a lasting impression. The liquid Franconian is well balanced and harmoniously rounded, from nose to tongue and to palate. The German Single Malt is really pleasing.The initially appearing vinous freshness and prominent finesse are a delight. Bitter and astringent impressions do not disturb the delightful impression, although some soft spicy notes flicker faintly in the background.

After serving, some time given oxygen gradually opens up Burkard's aroma structures, which may be discovered again and again. Rubbed in the palm of the hand a whisky appears with intense cereal notes and some dusty, mineral, earthy associations of a field. A small dash of water increases the aromatic pleasure of the first St Kilian Heimat Malt.

The Burkard Edition is a successful, light, ingratiatingly easy drinkable whisky. Discreetly delicate, by no means opulently obtrusive like a sherry variation. Depending on your preference, we recommend adding a small ice cube as a summer terrace tipple.

A fruity charmer unfolds, an overall enjoyable whisky.

What is so special about the Burkard Single Malt?

The Kiliani Edition of St Kilian Distillers, Germany, is published annually in honor of the patron saint of Franconia on the feast day of Saint Kilian (July 8th). The first Galiana Kiliani Edition 2021 was followed a year later by the Gosbert Kiliani Edition. The St Kilian team dedicated the third Kiliani bottling to Würzburg's first Bishop Burkard (683/700-775). The limited Kiliani editions have 46% abv., they are not chill-filtered and bottled without caramel in their natural cask colour.

Who is Saint Burkard?

St Burkard was an Anglo-Saxon Benedictine monk and priest. The student of St Boniface was ordained the first bishop of Würzburg by his fellow friar and teacher, the Archbishop of Mainz. Boniface was also an Anglo-Saxon missionary. He is considered to be the most important reformer of the Franconian Church.

In 752, St Burkard made the early Irish missionaries Kilian, Coloman - Kolonat - and Totnan patron saints of the Frankonia diocese.

St Kilian himself was an Irish missionary from County Cavan. Legend has it Kilian and eleven monks came to Würzburg around 686 during the Hiberno-Scottish Mission. But Kilian's preaching activities were short-lived. The missionary and his closest companions Coloman and Totnan were murdered by a cook and a factor on behalf of Gailana in the absence of her husband, because Kilian had declared her marriage to Duke Gozbert illegitimate according to Catholic canon law. Cruel times. Duchess Gailana had Kilian's mortal remains buried in the castle premises where a horse stable was built.

However, a few years later Bishop Saint Burkard transferred the relics of the martyrs Kilian, Coloman and Totnan to the nearby Marienkirche in Würzburg.

St. Kilian in Rüdenau

The distillery St Kilian was founded in 2012 and is located in the region where Kilian had baptized the most Franconians. The distillery is located in a small village called Rüdenau along the edge of the Odenwald, which lies next to the medieval town of Miltenberg near the Main River.

Spirit production in the state-of-the-art distillery is designed and overseen by CTO Mario Rudolf.

A Scottish set of mash tun, wooden washbacks and two swan neck pot stills from Forsyths is unique in Germany. At Kilian, they use Franconian malt that is non-peated or smoked with beech wood. It is malted in Franconia by the renowned Maltster Weyermann either in Bamberg or in nearby Haßfurt. The Kilian team also distills a Scottish peated malt (around 75ppm and over 135ppm, new measurement). The peated malt is delivered exclusively by Glenesk Maltings near Montrose. The first Kilian spirit run in 2016.

CTO Mario Rudolf has been the master mind at St Kilian since 2015.

Mario Rudolf is also the master blender and the creative source of all whisky activities at St Kilian.

“At St Kilian we only do full maturation in casks, we don’t do any finishings”

emphasizes Mario Rudolph.

The double distilled St Kilian distillates mature in around 10,500 casks (as of July 2023). These are stored in converted U.S. bunkers in the hills of the Odenwald (440 m), just a few miles away from the distillery site. This kind of warehousing is unique in Germany. The distillation systems were originally planned by David Hynes, Technical Director of Great Northern Distillery in Dundalk, Ireland.

For David, Mario Rudolf is “a whisky wizard, a cask magician” because the CTO experiments with more than 370 different cask and wood types.

Therefore, in addition to the Kilian standard range - Classic and Peated Single Malt - the whisky community enjoys an impressive selection of whiskies that are fully matured in different cask types: Signature and Exceptional Editions such as Mizunara, Amarone, Pineau des Charentes, Manzailla, Oloroso, Pedro Ximénez, Chardonnay, Banyuls or Pinot Noir and so on.

Kilian's warehouses are full of treasures. They hold a cask diversity hardly to be found in any other national or international distillery. The range of maturing whiskies is promising most exciting releases in coming years.

More than 170 gold medals from national and international competitions have marked the special quality of Kilian whiskies since 2019.

Scottish, Irish and German Distilling Technology unite

Burkard Speciality

The basis of the Burkard Single Malt is exclusively a two-row organic spring barley of the RGT Planet variety, which is often used by maltsters and brewers worldwide because of its grain size and expressive aroma.

Only a few kilometers as the crow flies from the distillery, the certified Naturland farmer Andreas Henn sowed the barley recommended for organic farming in his fields on behalf of St. Kilian in 2019. In the district of Reichartshausen in the Bavarian Odenwald, the grain grew perfectly well by using ecological-biological methods.

The August harvest of 24 tons was malted by the Bamberg Maltster Weyermann in their branch in Haßfurt in Saladin boxes according the patterns of a Pilsner malt to "...a whisky brewing malt". The experienced former maltster and brewer Mario Rudolf was highly convinced of the quality of the "mild, non-peated organic-malt".

Fields of Planet barley. Harvest in August 2019. Photos Copyright St Kilian Distillers.

Mario Rudolf was more than glad when the Heimat Malt arrived at the St Kilian distillery:

"...the first hand rating was positive...
from the region, from organic farming and malted in Lower Franconia.
What else do you need?
Terroir matters!”

In the spring of 2020, the Kilian team distilled the first Heimat Malt distillates from 19 tons of malt with joy and excitement. Fermentation in the wooden temperature-controlled vats took about 80 hours on average (65 on weekdays to 115 hours on weekends). The distillers fractionated the beer first in the 6,000 l wash spirit still and then the low wines gently and then slowly at the second stage in the 6,000 l spirit still. During the second distillation run and the following ones, the stillmen always mixed the low wines with the foreshots and feints of the following spirit run:

„The soul of Saint Kilian's Heimat Malt was created.“

Per tonne of organic malt, the distillers achieved a yield of around 400 litres of pure alcohol.

“We distilled with the cooling reflux pipe in the lyne arm.
Our measure of reflux was 750, otherwise a standard of 500 is usual,”

Mario Rudolf explains the procedure,

"...therefore the Heimat Malt is very fine and clean, yet full of character in aromas and taste...
because of its purity, it matures fast in a cask.”

The new make was filled into 225 l barriques at a reduced concentration of 58% abv (standard is 63,5% abv). For the Kiliani-Burkard-Vatting, Master Blender Rudolf selected only three casks from the stock in which the winemaker Christoph Walter from Bürgstadt had previously vinified red wines from hand-picked Pinot Noir grapes "in a Burgundian style".

More home and regionality with whisky is not possible,"

Mario Rudolf points out.

Weingut Josef Walter

“Our vineyards are our livelihood. Therefore, the preservation of natural soil fertility is particularly important to us. We strive for natural viticulture by doing without mineral nitrogen fertilization, permanent greening in at least every second row of vines, application of manure and compost and responsible use of pesticides," writes Christoph Walter.

On around four hectares of the Centgrafenberg site, praised by international wine sommeliers

, with "...variegated sandstone weathered soil, there are mainly early and late Pinot Noir vines, but also Domina, Regent, Müller - Thurgau, Kerner and Bacchus." In the south-facing Hundsrück in a few rows (0.13 ha) grows the aroma-rich Pinot Noir for whose outstanding quality not only Walter but also Bürgstadt's winemaking colleagues are nationally and internationally renowned. The area is considered to be the best Franconian vineyards ever. Walter does not aim for large quantities, but limits the yields between 20 and a maximum of 30 hectoliters per hectare.

Not quantity, but demanding wine qualities are my goal.

The long-lasting, characterful and pure Walter single-site wines Frühburgunder (13.5% vol.) and Pinot Noir (13 or 13.5% vol.) are vinified exclusively in barriques for 24 months and then in bottles for another two years. The winemaker fills the barriques with the red wines only a maximum of three times.

After two years of maturing, the barriques are emptied and the inner staves are gently cleaned of yeast, tartar and other substances using an inner cleaning head inserted through the bunghole with pure cold water without chemicals. Sulphurisation is frowned upon, as the casks are immediately refilled with new young wines after the cleaning process.

Winzer Christoph Walter. Franconian Barriques in the cellar (Copyright Weingut Walter).
Spätburgunder or Pinot Noir in the vineyard in July (Fotos The Gateway to Distilleries 2023)

„After three fillings, the casks are exhausted and the pores on the inside are tight.
They are no longer suitable for red wine aging."

Christoph Walter explains.

In the small, fine family winery recommended by Gaul & Millau, Mario Rudolf was looking for local barriques for his Heimat Malt in which the St Kilian distillates should be transformed into whisky.

He found what he was looking for in the neighbouring town.

What is so special? The 225 litre barriques were tied by Franconian coopers in the Assmann cooperage south of Würzburg by using local Franconian Spessart sessile oak. This type of oak enjoys a good reputation nationally and internationally among top winegrowers. Master Cooper Andreas Assmann personally selected suitable old oak trees in the Spessart.

However, the raw staves are exposed outdoors to wind and weather for at least three years before they can be processed into casks. During exposure rain water in particular should wash out adstringent aromas from the oak wood: "In order to be able to bend the staves, the cask is heated. The 'toasting' of the inner cask walls plies the staves and allows them to contract.” Walter's cask selection is medium toasted. A new barrique costs more than 600 Euro a piece (2023).

Kiliani Edition Burkard 2023. Colours with rosé crystal rays...

Flavour Result

"The new Kiliani Edition Burkard therefore combines the naturalness of regional barley malt with the finesse of the finest Pinot Noir wines from Franconia...
With the power of the Spessart oak, a unique single malt whisky has developed with characteristic aromas and impressive depth...
The intense fruit palette of ripe peaches, apricots and melons, rounded off by sweet vanilla and red grapes, is given additional depth with warming oak spice and subtle tannins
and promises an extraordinary taste experience.
Rounded off by sweet vanilla and red grapes, the mature distillate exudes a fruity bouquet of ripe peaches and juicy ones

Paired with warming spices, subtle oak notes and
fine tannins creates a harmonious and at the same time
exceptional flavour profile,"

Kilian's whisky maker Mario Rudolf concludes.

The Scenery. Rüdenau, St. Kilian Distillery. The Odenwald. Miltenberg. In the background on the left, near the forrest are the vineyards of Bürgstadt.

St Kilian Burkard Single Malt Whisky

Bottled at 46% ABV, not chill-filtered and not coloured, the edition is limited to just 1,648 500ml bottles, Retail price is EUR 59.00.

or at local whisky shops.

Weingut Josef Walter, further details:




Ernie - Ernst J. Scheiner is the editor of The Gateway to Distilleries

He documents over 150 distilleries photographically from the inside and describes the production of the whiskies in detail. Since his studies at the University of

Edinburgh, he has been involved with the subject of whisky and has published in specialist magazines such as The Ireland Journal, Kleinbrennerei, Whisky Passion and The Highland Herold. Features and stories have appeared in blogs like whiskyexperts, whiskyfanbl, SHMKR (closed) and whiskyintelligence. As former head of the VHS Ingelheim, and now as a whisk(e)y ambassador, he teaches distilling, organizes study tours and tours to the sources of whisky.



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