Tag Archives: France

Tesco Napoleon Brandy, 3 Years Old, 36%

Why did I buy Tesco Napoleon Brandy?

A number of reasons.

To begin with it was there, on the shelf, in my local store, and in a 350ml bottle too, making it both accessible & affordable – increasingly important factors in the current economic climate.

Further, my St Remy VSOP Brandy, initially purchased for an WSET course back in 2019, was nearing it’s end. I found the brandy world shared – like whiskey – a set of rules & regulations governing it’s production – as well as a long history – plus barrel ageing too & I enjoyed the drinking experience, encouraging me to explore more.

Tesco Napoleon appeared a shade darker than my St Remy, suggestive of extra caramel, a permissible added ingredient for the category – just like whiskey.

Quite a shy nose – not very aromatic for me – soft sweet winey elements are all I got.

Smooth, soft mouthfeel, easy on the palate.

Dark notes of burnt caramel & a tingling warmth surfaced on the finish giving Tesco Napoleon a bit of a lift.

Lacked any hints of oakiness I enjoyed with St Remy.

After sampling Tesco Napoleon I read the label – Mellow And Smooth Taste – it says.

A very accurate appraisal of what I found.

Sláinte

Read my study method for the WSET exam here.

For an interesting read on ingredients in brandy see cognacreverie.com blog here.

WSET website here.

St Remy VSOP review here.

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

Good Logo

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

Good Logo

 

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

Good Logo

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

Good Logo