I gotta hand it to Lidl for expanding my spirit drinking range.
This bottle of rum from Réunion – hence the French connection – emanates from the Indian Ocean via a Parisienne suburb.
There is no Riviére Saint-Jean distillery on the island – but a Riviére du Mat distillery founded in 1886 – appears to be the source of this offering.
There’s also a ‘Saga du Rhum‘ museum on Réunion to further explore the rich history of distillation – including the sorry tale of sugar, slavery and colonial exploitation. Hopefully those days are long gone. Meanwhile – the rum is still here to enjoy.
A deep ruby brown colour greets you – followed by an attractive oaky tannic nose on a dark molassey underbelly.
The palate was quite delicious.
The smooth warming sweetness morphed into a gorgeously drying spicy explosion. Very reminiscent of some rye whiskeys I enjoy.
Not had a rum like this before!
I’m feeling Riviére Saint-Jean accentuates the cask influence with it’s 6 years in wood.
On my last visit to Eden Mill – which is a combined Brewery & Distillery operation on the banks of the Eden River in Guardbridge, Scotland – the opener for the distillery tour was a bottle of their fine Whisky Barrel Aged Beer.
It certainly loosened up the tongues of the mixed bag of visitors on the day – and was a novel way to introduce the rich variety of drinks including beers, gins & whiskies made at the facility.
Bottled at 6.7% the dark beer delivered a gentle aroma of malt. The carbonation wasn’t too strong – more in the style of a traditional Scottish Heavy Ale – with a great outpouring of flavour comprising of caramel, burnt molasses, a hint of dark chocolate & coffee too.
There is also a limited edition Bourbon Barrel offering – slightly sweeter & heavier if possible – with a younger 68 day age statement as opposed to the 93 of the Whisky Barrel Beer.
Whatever your poison – Eden Mill have a drink to satisfy.
A few years ago you’d be hard pushed to find an Irish Craft Beer – let alone one aged in Irish Whiskey Barrels – yet this growing category continues to expand.
Western Herd – based in County Clare – recently re-released their Dolmen Irish Whiskey Stout. I was lucky enough to secure a sample.
Western Herd also release a wide range of craft beers – best sampled at one of their bars – like I did at McHugh’s in Ennis – or perhaps Flanagan’s in Lahinch is more your style?
You can always top it off with a glass of Chapel Gate’s JJ Corry Whiskey – the source of the barrels that enhance the flavour of this stout. ‘Hon The Banner’ certainly went down well with me!
Using the branded tasting glass provided – I poured myself a Dolmen.
A gorgeously dark stout with a lively head.
Aromas of coffee, malt & burnt molasses. Mrs Whiskey also discerned blackcurrant & chocolate. Very inviting.
I must admit to finding the stout a bit too gassy for my palate. My preference is for a creamy flatness – but there’s a good combination of flavours within. The coffee was still present, initially the sweet honey malt made itself known, then faded slowly into quite a light feeling stout which belied the 7.6% ABV.
Now this isn’t a beer to swig down. It’s one to be savoured & sipped – which is how I approached it over the course of an hour or so.
By then the ‘fizz’ I’m not a fan of had dissipated. The stout tasted more fuller bodied with darker, treacly notes coming through – much to my satisfaction.
The label on this miniature bottle had me confused.
I always associated Grant’s with being a big selling Speyside blend with a distinctive triangular shaped bottle which hadn’t exactly set my palate alight.
Yet here was a round Glen Grant bottle proclaiming to be from the Highlands.
Turns out there were 2 or 3 Mr Grants who set up whisky distilleries in the 1800’s.
In the 1840’s brothers John & James Grant founded the Glen Grant Distillery. It has gone through many changes of ownership and is now in the hands of the Campari Group – which immediately takes me back to an old advert!
Later on a certain William Grant laid the stones for the Glenfiddich Distillery back in 1886. The company is still with the same family today and has gone on to great success. It is responsible for the Grant’s range of blended whiskies – as well as notable single malts and built the new Tullamore Distillery in Ireland.
So that’s one issue sorted.
Highland Malt when quite clearly it’s a Speyside distillery?
Well not so fast bucko.
Scottish Whisky Regions are actually a fairly recent construct and in my opinion more tied in with clever marketing & branding rather than anything intrinsically connecting whiskies made in these regions. An internet search found an enjoyable explanation here.
Since my miniature seems to be an old bottling – the closest I could identify is offered on Whisky Exchange here – which pre-dates current Scotch Whiskey Region rules.
But I only found all this out after tasting Glen Grant Highland Malt – as I fairly enjoyed it.
There was a slight funkiness on the nose – not overpowering & actually quite characterful – which I’d possibly allow as deterioration from the old bottling – yet otherwise fresh & light.
The palate was signature Speyside – soft, subtle fruits & easy sweet biscuity malt with a hint of spice towards the finish.
If anything the 43% presentation had boosted the flavours within & given an enhanced appeal to my palate.
Not bad at all.
It enticed me to unearth the information above – all from a mixed bag auction lot purchase.