G’day guys and welcome to a very originally based whisky article. There’s an unspoken rule of the specific countries and parts of the world that wrote the book on malt liquor. All with their own methods and guidelines to follow. But a great deal of other countries apart from the big names, your Irish whiskey, your Scotch, Kentucky straight bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, that make whiskey as well. That strive to represent their flag in the name of malt, and many indeed have found great success in doing.
A lot of people know, for instance, of the great example set by Japanese whisky. Japanese whisky, being almost exclusively top-shelf liquor, north of hundred dollar retailing usually. The more literate of you will notice, that Japanese whisky, is spelt “whisky”, foregoing the “e”. The same way as spelt by the Scots. According to a, rather Scotch-bias, whisky book I read, evidently by a citizen of the United Kingdom, this is the correct way whisky is spelt. Japanese whisky, having tasted a glass of Yamazaki Single Malt once in a favourite pub of mine on a recommendation I was given by a shooting buddy of mine at my archery club, who said a mate of his had tasted and relished this whisky working with the Japanese there salvaging ships. The Japanese whisky tasted identical to a top-shelf Scotch, smooth and spicy. I remember I summed it up as “like a Scotsman migrated to Japan”, a high-praising review I submitted to a website retailing this Yamazaki I had happened across. I remember specifically as the article was rejected on the basis that it “contained profanity”. My summary, somehow by product of their diseased imagination perhaps was offensive to Scots. Or the Japanese? Or migrants? Perhaps by offending those who have migrated to any highly-developed Asian nations from any regions of the United Kingdom to found whisky labels whom became less successful? But the most likely explanation I strongly suspect was the human being on the receiving end of this, quick and simple online customer verdict, was a spineless imbecile. A lot of labels in other, in similarly more original, less traditionally known countries follow this train of thought of following in the footsteps of the Scots. Cover-band labels, if you like. Like those videos on YouTube you see of people or groups of friends playing songs, you know that they aren’t Guns N’ Roses, but they take their video of Sweet Child O’ Mine very seriously, and play real well. So here’s a very original whisky – G.Rozelieures, Single Malt French Whisky.
And to be perfectly honest with you, I’m not even sure why the French bothered with whisky, since they’re already known world-over for their exploits with the grape. The entire world knows and loves French wine and brandy. The famous Bordeaux, the Burgundy, Beaujolais, the Loire Valley, the Champagne, Rhône Valley, Armagnac, Savoie, Auvergne, and of course the undying enduring legend and legacy of the Cognac. And those are just the ones I can see on the map, and on the shelves here in Queensland. For all I know, there’s some eighty year old Frenchman somewhere who’s been harvesting the same grapevine in his garden that his grandfather replanted before he went off to fight the Kaiser in the first World War that makes a better bottle of Cabernet-Sauvignon than the best exporters on the shelves of any bottle shop, or a Citroën mechanic just outside Paris with a vine in his garden who makes a real nice brandy in his kitchen. But clearly somebody in Lorraine was particularly fond of whisky, and thought if the Irish could do it, the Scots could do it, the Japanese and the Americans could do it, the French could too. And so he did, and here we are. When I first heard of the existence of French whisky, before I knew such an exotic product made it as far as my humble rural hometown, my assumption was this surely couldn’t be a large industry. But to my surprise, there are a handful of labels under this heading. G.Rozelieures, is the most popular in this category, so this I felt was a good place to start. Like wine bottles, the labels on the G.Rozelieures bottle are authentically French, unbothered to translate to English. The label, G.Rozelieures has been distilling for over a hundred years, being a cereal grain producer in the French town of Lorraine for five generations. G.Rozelieures, was in fact the first distiller in France to use peated barley.
The bottle itself, is fairly plain. A white label, though albeit adorned in French writing. The bottle itself is tall and thin. Very tall in fact, it towers above all other seven hundred mill’ bottles on my cabinet. Like that of a liqueur bottle. The bottle when purchased, comes in a simple, blueish-purple cardboard box, a practice also typical of Scotch whisky, indeed many Scotches no matter how indeterminate the quality come boxed. Chivas Regal twelve-year-old, a simple cocktail-spirit too, comes in cardboard. I move to open the bottle, not really knowing what to expect from this in terms of a nose. Whether this will mirror the brash pungence of peated barley, or a more mellow nose, full of fruity and floral notes. Perhaps even a cinnamon or nutty quality, as attributed by some French Oak? I rip off the label, and uncork the bottle. The nose is heavy with the thick firm hold of peat smoked barley. Thick, deep, and powerful. A good start. I pour over ice, the nose freed up by the ice is thick and carpeting. The peat accompanied by a thick moist horticultural scent. I take a sip and the taste too mirrors that by the Scots. Of pure, clean firewater. Of peated barley, spicy and coarse. A foggy earthy background with bite and character. And a warming, burn inside my chest. But also of pure nourishing water, beautiful when chilled. A purity of taste that, under normal circumstances would bring with it, visions of fog-laden moss-covered Scottish hillocks, the plants dripping in the moisture of the mist. But this isn’t a Scot, this is a Frenchman. But so too, do the French have rolling green hills, and even better, high snow-capped alps, with flowing snow-melt fed streams. A taste of G.Rozelieures chilled on ice, entertains visions of freezing cold rivers, flowing down rapids from mountains, down hundreds of kilometers to where some quaint little French village harvests it by an old wooden mill, and that this, hypothetically was the water by which G.Rozelieures ferments and distils it’s malt.
So in closing: While the unusual nature of the label’s background will draw drinkers, this whisky, without it is nothing new, per-se. But in so doing, is a good whisky. With all the hallmarks of a fine single malt, smooth, peaty, and easygoing. I like this whisky indeed, and recommend it to others for a relaxing drink. Cheers and pour me another