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.
Well I say French Whisky – as it’s actually mainly Scotch which has been shipped out in bulk to Bordeaux where – under the guidance of master blender John McDougall – it is finished in locally sourced sauternes casks before being bottled & presented non chill filtered at 45.8%.
There is nothing unusual in this. It’s a well trodden path for Scotch to send out loads of bulk whisky to many countries around the world where it is blended – often with locally produced spirits – matured, finished & eventually bottled to the recipients requirements before being released – mainly in the home market.
Many a Scottish distilleries output is destined for such bottlings – and it’s a big market.
It also allows an up and coming whisky brand – like Moon Harbour – to test the waters, hone their skills and develop their brand in the absence of a distillery which they may – or may not build at a later stage.
Moon Harbour seem to have plans for their own distillery in Bordeaux – so this blend looks likely to be a stop gap until they have their own whisky to sell.
Could it emulate the successful football team and win in a World Cup Whisky tournament?
Well – in a back to back with the Bastille Single Malt – I’m afraid Moon Harbour lost out.
It’s certainly packaged in an attractive bottle however – complete with box – has a ruby red hue and displays deep legs.
There wasn’t all that much going on with the nose though. A soft sweet malty biscuit with a hint of grain.
A bit slow to start. The sauternes sweetness swiftly followed by a spirity robustness – quite a nice contrast really.
It left an enjoyable dry prickly heat at the end – but was somewhat lacking in depth of flavour & character. Perhaps the sauternes finish was just too subtle for my tastes.
If it had been presented without ‘Premium’ on the label and at a lower price I might have been OK with the result.
As it was it promised more than it actually delivered.
I do hope Moon Harbour get the distillery going however. I find it entertaining sampling all whiskies – especially new brands with a local twist – and welcome the diversity created by new distilleries.
It’s why I enjoy whisky, and despite not being a football fan, I did get a buzz of excitement watching the cup final on a sunny afternoon in a Parisian hotel garden with congenial company washed down with a whisky or two.