Tag Archives: France

A Flight Of 4 French Whiskies, Rozelieures Origine, Rare, Tourbé & Fumé, Single Malts, 40% to 46%

Continuing my exploration of the whisky world are these 4 single malts from grain to glass French Whisky distillery Rozelieures.

I sampled them before looking up anything on the web – it helps to eliminate any undue bias – & found them mainly on the light & easy side of the flavour spectrum.

Origine Single Malt 40%

Distilled from grain grown on the Rozelieures farm places this whisky in a select club of producers claiming terroir credentials.

Origine didn’t particularly shine for me however.

The flavours were soft, muted & mild – a touch of honeyed malt, hints of rustique agriculture, an easy going palate with an appreciative bite on the finish displaying woody spices & sweet vanilla.

Grand.

Rare Single Malt 40%

A fresher & cleaner style of malt.

Easy & smooth – almost to the point of being laidback – trés tranquille – perhaps deliberately so.

I’ve been told by distillers exporting into France the market shys away from bold flavours – so Rare is probably playing up to that.

Tourbé Single Malt 46%

Tourbé means peaty – yet I had a hard job picking this up from the very light straw coloured whisky.

There was a gorgeously dry & tingly spiciness on the finish however with subtle hints of smoke.

A 2nd tasting drew out more & Tourbé proved to be an enticing soft smoker.

Fumé Single Malt 46%

A more ‘traditional’ style of smokiness was evident with Fumé.

Old leather & cigar smoke on the nose.

The mild & easy palate gave way to a delightful crescendo of smokiness which dried out leaving a tingling spice finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

French whisky is growing fast.

A Federation has been formed to further the category of which Rozelieures – with their engaging & entertaining single malts – is part of.

Being a fan of bigger, badder & bolder flavours Fumé was the one for me – but I did find the subtlety of Tourbé enticing.

Perhaps with the opening up of travel restrictions after COVID a distillery tour trip of French Distilleries is in order!

Santé

Bottle images courtesy Whisky Rozelieures.

St Rémy VSOP, French Brandy, 40%

Doing the Wine & Spirit Education Trust – WSET – Level 2 Spirits Course a few years ago opened my palate to spirit categories I hadn’t appreciated before.

Brandy being one of them.

This St Rémy bottle is a leftover from that course.

You have to taste a variety of spirits to pick out the characteristics of each category.

It looks like a whiskey.

The nose is sweet & fruity.

Soft, smooth & mellow on the palate.

Finishes with a gentle oaky spice.

An easy approachable drinker to sit back & mull over – if it wasn’t for the phylloxera epidemic of the 1860’s that wiped out most of the grapevines worldwide – could brandy have been as big as whiskey?

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Rince Cochon Biere, 7.5% to 8.5%, Belgium

Belgium is a beer lovers paradise.

The sheer variety of styles on offer & – from my limited experience – high quality results are a delight to explore.

So when some buddies suggest bringing a few back to Ireland – you don’t refuse.

The garishly coloured yet striking selection pack from Difcom – a beer distributer based in France – were unknown territory for me but did include a Biere Whisky – so a few were opened.

Rince Cochon Biere Blonde, 8.5%

The Rince Cochon range sport a cheeky pig – in a variety of colours – and are all high strength offerings.

Biere Blonde displayed a lovely rich malty nose, deeply flavoured palate yet still ‘lagery’ attitude in an eminently quaffable easily over drunk 8.5% ABV.

Nice!

Rince Cochon Biere Whisky, 8.5%

Light golden brown – like whisky with bubbles!

The nose offered soft sweet notes of treacle.

The carbonation on tasting proved too much for me & blew away the rather muted flavours within. Even leaving it stand for a short while didn’t improve matters.

A tad disappointing.

Rince Cochon Biere Rouge, 7.5%

Ribena red! Wasn’t expecting that.

Fruity & very sweet nose flowed into a drinking experience I can only liken to imbibing a liquid pack of fruit pastilles.

Now this style is popular in Belgium – but plainly doesn’t work for me.

Thoughts

Only Biere Blonde pleased me.

On closer – geeky – inspection a few things emerged.

The use of sugar – to boost ABV – & natural flavouring rather than allow taste to emanate from the raw ingredients took these beers in a direction both my palate & ethos didn’t particularly enjoy.

It’s fun to experiment however & I’m glad of the opportunity to taste far & wide.

Even if only to confirm my palate preferences!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

X-Mark, Gold Rum Beer, 5.9%

Rather than bother with the hassle of barrel ageing – X-Mark simply throw some of the flavouring agent into the mix.

X didn’t hit the spot. c/othewhiskeynut

You certainly get the hint of rum from this concoction – but it’s like drinking an ordinary lager with a dash of rum on top.

Ingredients c/othewhiskeynut

Other than the novelty – I don’t think I’ll be indulging again.

Sláinte

Asda, Fine Dark Navy Rum, 37.5%, Caribbean

Virtually every UK supermarket has their own brand range of spirits.

Commonly referred to as ‘bottom shelf’  – I’d uncovered a few delightful diamonds in this category & I’m always happy to hunt for more.

Returning from a short trip to Donegal the Asda in Strabane beckoned me.

Their own brand whisky had sold out – is that a sign of quality? – so I pivoted to rum.

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Asda Rum c/othewhiskeynut

‘Superior Quality Blend, Fine Dark Navy Rum, Sourced From The Caribbean’ is the full title, came in a plastic bottle.

Is this a thing now & would it put you off?

At less than £6 for a half bottle – it didn’t deter me.

Could Asda deliver the goods?

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Caribbean rum packed in France c/othewhiskeynut

Sadly not!

Possessing that burnt rubber aroma – previously encountered before – didn’t win me over.

The palate was a little better. Soft, smooth, good mouthfeel & a slight prickly spice on the finish – but that heavy treacly note persisted.

If it floats your boat – fine – but it just sank mine.

Not my cup of tea!

Sláinte

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Liberté White Rum, 37.5%, Réunion.

I thought Liberté was a yoghurt brand with TV adverts from a few years ago?

Yet here in my local Lidl was a simple & sparsely labelled bottle of white rum bearing the same name.

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Liberté Rum c/othewhiskeynut

Liberté is a nod to the French connection that still exists on the tiny island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

There are 3 rum distilleries operating on Rèunion; Isautier, Rivière Du Mât & Savanna – take your pick as to the source.

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I like it neat myself. c/othewhiskeynut

A clear colourless rum with distinctively fat oily legs.

A very soft mild & mellow nose didn’t give much away – but there was a suggestion of overripe fruits glimpsing through.

Extremely easy on the palate – slightly oily mouthfeel with a gently warming heat.

Letting it linger gradually opens up those funky fruit flavours – not overpowering – just pleasantly attractive – followed by a touch of tingling spice adding some flair to this endearing rum.

The 300 year history of rum distilling on Réunion is quietly imprinted on this charmingly beguiling Liberté White Rum.

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Ship ahoy! c/othewhiskeynut

It floats my boat!

Slàinte

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White Oak, Tokinoka, Blend, 40%

If I’d tried Akashi before this sister blend – I may not have bothered – but in reality – Tokinoka was my first exploration into the White Oak Distillery.

Oddly – I also found this whisky in France.

There must be a distributor doing a great job in getting it stocked around the country.

Again – this is an entry level caramelised blend.

But it’s more characterful & robust than it’s stablemate.

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Tokinoka Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

A sharp spirity nose is smoothed by the caramel influence.

There is a soft underlying malt to begin with – before a lovely warming heat kicks in.

I found it a pleasant little number.

A fair few were enjoyed at a Parisien get together with friends.

Sláinte

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White Oak, Akashi, Blend, 40%

Out at a party – en France.

The 1st bottle of whisky had already been enjoyed.

Our host said there was a bottle of Japanese Whisky inside.

The collective clapped their hands and said yeah!

White Oak Akashi was procured & poured.

Oh dear.

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White Oak Akashi c/othewhiskeynut

Entry level caramel infused blend this one – not much in the way of individuality, style or flavour here.

I moved onto some locally made Eaux-de-Vie.

It was far more entertaining!

Sláinte

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The Charles House, Blend, 40%

The joy of whisky can come from unexpected and surprising places.

Like France.

When on holiday there I had a clear set of purchasing procedures.

Number 1 on the list were some French made whiskies which I quickly ticked off at the lovely V&B chain of stores on my way out of Toulouse.

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Rye Francais c/othewhiskeynut

Roof Rye certainly raised my spirits here!

2nd on the list was any locally based Irish whiskey brands – but there weren’t any – as I found out in my recent blog here.

3rd on the list and last pickings were locally based Scotch brands – there were LOADS of them!

Have you ever wondered why only half of the 130 or so Scottish Whisky Distilleries have visitors centres?

The others are so busy pumping out liquid to 3rd party blenders, bottlers & spirits wholesalers throughout the world to bother with tourists.

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The Charles House Whisky c/othewhiskeynut

Liquid like what I found in The Charles House Blended Scotch Whisky.

Now I must admit most of this market is entry level stuff. It usually means they are blends augmented with added caramel – which I can detect & dislike – as well as being chill filtered. There is no pretence to provenance or terroir – in fact there is very little to go on even on the label.

But I don’t drink whisky based on what the label does or doesn’t say.

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Nothing to see here. c/othewhiskeynut

I drink whisky because I enjoy it.

And I certainly enjoyed Charles House.

Why?

When poured into the glass the colour was relatively light – there was caramel on the nose – but not overpowering – and a lovely burnt note which drew me in.

Soft, smooth & slightly sweet grain on the palate – mellow enough as befits an entry level blend – but what’s this coming through?

My mouth began to dry out leaving a prickly tingling on the tongue with a lovely soft ashiness.

Aha! I detect a bit of peat influence in this.

The peat adds a bit of bite – some lovely smoky flavours – and just raises the tasting experience up a notch or two.

It brought a smile to my face.

Sorry Run – I’d much rather go back to Charles House.

Sláinte.

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