[Review] G. Rozelieures - Whisky de Lorraine 40%

That's it, my holidays are over, but despite the fact I didn't get round to reviewing a couple more bottles left in my dad's cabinet, I managed to bring back a few gems back in the UK. My aim for the summer was to track down some more French whisky to see what my own country was capable of producing compared to the Scottish benchmark. You might remember my first review of Glann ar mor Kornog back in October 2015, but I haven't really had the chance to come across much more French whisky since. I did however managed to find 2 or 3 bottles whilst back there in August. The first one I am going to review today is a whisky produced in Lorraine (North-Easter region, near Germany) called Rozelieures - Whisky de Lorraine.
Even if the whisky distillation only started in 2000, Hubert Grallet was rather familiar with the distillation process as his family has been distilling since 1860, especially mirabelle plums. He teamed up with Christophe Dupic (cereal farmer) in a daring bet to start producing the first whisky from Lorraine in 2000 and it seems to have worked. The barley they use is regional if not local, it is distilled in Charentais pot-stills and aged in a variety of oak casks, from ex-sherry casks to ex-bourbon casks to ex-French wine casks, stored in 3 different warehouses including an old military fort.
Rozelieures produce a small range of whiskies of 3 or 4 different bottles and they also have a range of single casks from which you can order 6 bottles at a time for a later delivery. The sooner you order the cheaper the bottles (which I think are very good value anyway at around 35€ a bottle...)
So I ended up with 2 bottles from their core range, the Whisky de Lorraine I am reviewing today, and their award-winning Tourbé collection (a peaty version I will review in a coming post).

This bottling of Rozelieures is their entry-level whisky and it is bottled at 40%. Nothing is indicated on the bottle regarding chill-filtration or colouring but I have just emailed them to try to get a bit more information. If I get an answer, I will update the post. I do not know either how old the whisky is as it has no age statement on the packaging but I suspect it to be relatively young (6-8 maybe?). The colour is a wonderful deep amber, rather inviting us to pour a dram.

Nose: Sweet, sherry, honey, warm dried fruit, raisin, hints of spices, toasted malt notes, some milk chocolate after a few minutes in the glass, very inviting. It does actually remind me very much of Highland Park 12 for some reason, that mixture of sweet, malt, hints of spices and peat. 

Palate: It packs a lot of punch in my mind: quite powerful spices with more peat than on the nose, some fruity sweetness still, malt, honey again, sherry and some nuttiness. I still think it is youngish as it has some rather fiery notes. A pleasure to drink!

Finish: Quite long, warm, spicy with sweet malty notes. Well rounded.   

With water: The nose loses some sweetness, it becomes a bit fresher with more citrus hints, the palate is less aggressive, the spicy explosion is toned down but the lovely malty sherry sweetness remains, and the finish is still a delight.

I have found that this dram reminds me a lot of the Highland Park 12 in its rich layers of flavours, and you know that Highland Park 12 is one of my favourite standard drams alongside Bunnahabhain 12. So overall, this is a great whisky which becomes even more amazing if you give it a few minutes in the glass and a couple of drops of water. The presentation is also what I would expect of a quality whisky, in my mind, rather flawless! I now cannot wait to spend a bit more time with my second bottle of Rozelieures: the Tourbé collection.

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