Here is our 2023 appointment with the ROZELIEURES distillery in Lorraine, to coincide with the publication of two new parcels of land.
The principle remains unchanged: in September, you'll have to visit the volcano at Essey and taste the whisky produced from the 18 plots owned by the DUPIC family.
In 2021, I tasted the TIACHAMPS (made from barley grown in clay soil), and the LE CLOS DES CHAMPS (made from barley grown in silty soil), which you can find here. In 2022, it was the turn of PARCELLAIRE MONT POIROUX (grown on clay-limestone soil) and BLANCHES TERRES (grown on silty soil), which you can discover here.
This year, two new plots (out of the 18 available) are making their appearance: LES CHAUFFOURS and LE TERTRE 40 PIEDS.
And, as I'm sure you're well behaved, this year I'm going to treat you to a 3rd tasting on the side. I'm going to introduce you to the FIRST ORGANIC whisky in the ROZELIEURES range: ORGANIC COLLECTION.
But we'll come back to that later, so let's start with the parcellaires.
For those who haven't read my first two tastings, a quick reminder of the principle of parcellaires is in order.
In the DUPIC family, there's no room for guesswork, and we master the process of making our distillates from seed to drop. So at ROZELIEURES we plant, harvest, germinate, malt, brew, distil, age and drop (as well, of course)!
As we all know, if you don't sow barley, you can't make whisky. As with Burgundy wine, this is where the vineyards find their source. ROZELIEURES has 18 fields divided into parcels all around the village of the same name.
Close to the very old extinct volcano, the plots are diversified by their soils (silty, clayey-limestone, clayey and even volcanic), but also by their exposure and their proximity to the river Euron, which crosses the region before flowing into the Moselle and later the Rhine.
But this year, the experiment goes even further. The focus is on barley work and the distillation period.
Let me explain: in 2023, the two plots proposed are Argilos-calcareous plots, both located near the distillery, and the ageing is more or less the same (in new barrels and in Cognac barrels).
However, we are going to find two different barleys, sown and harvested at the same time, but one will be peated (6 ppm) and brewed quickly, while the other will have a more conventional 'treatment' (non-peated) with a slightly longer waiting period.
As I said earlier, this is the first lightly peated parcel.
The first parcel, vintage 2023, is made from barley (Lauréate) grown in 2019 on clay-limestone land (the Les Chauffours parcel, as its name suggests) to the north of the distillery, on the edge of the Rethimont forest.
As is often the case with Les Parcellaires, this whisky is barely 3 years old, aged first in new French oak casks and then in cognac casks.
This year, as with the label, where Rozelieures has played up the difference (one is black, the other white), we can clearly see a difference in the colour of the distillates.
The one from the Les Chauffours plot is a very light golden colour. Admittedly, it spent a little less time in the cask than the second (barely a few months), but you can imagine that the time spent in each cask was different.
On the nose, the first impression is of fresh citrus fruit with a hint of lemon, which then evaporates to give way to pear.
On the second pass, the notes are very slightly spicy (a hint of pepper) but above all still fruity with ripe white peaches.
The third passage is a blend of fresh mineral and light woody notes with a barley base.
On the palate, it is quite sweet on entry. It then shows its youth with tauter notes, before moving on to spicier, woodier notes. As the spices fade, the youthful tension returns, bringing with it fresh notes of liquorice. When you hold it in the mouth, you get the velvety feel of a cognac barrel. Overall, it is very smooth.
On the way down, it reveals woody liquorice notes (with menthol peaks) and leaves the palate feeling velvety.
The empty glass retains a mixture of woody and barley notes.
Ah, as you know if you follow us, when we're called PEATDREAM, it's because we have an appetite for peated whiskies. So when we hear the news of a lightly peated parcel, we can't wait!
So it's with great interest that we want to discover LE TERTRE 40 PIEDS and its 6 ppm.
For this clay-limestone parcel, which is also located right next to the previous one, we decided to grow Prospect barley in spring 2019.
Then, at the start of 2020, it was decided to malt the barley and add Scottish peat smoke (peat bogs are protected in France).
Finally, as with the second Parcellaire of the year, the distillate, which had become peaty, was poured into new French oak casks and then into ex-cognac casks, which may have lasted slightly longer than the latter, giving it a darker gold - copper colour.
On the nose, the first pass is fairly warm with notes of ripe white fruit and a hint of pepper, and does not reveal its peaty whorls.
On the second pass, while the focus is on woody and still sweet notes, it is clear that in the background the peat is waiting its turn and trying to get ahead.
It's on the third pass of the nose that it's discovered to be soft and very discreet, quickly erased by the spices that take over again.
If you want to reveal it, I recommend slipping a few drops into the palm of your hand and rubbing. You'll have no doubts about its presence.
On the palate, it is dense, very soft and even sweet at first. Then it reveals light woody notes, but above all the sweetness of vanilla and pear. The peaty flavour has more of a freshness that comes later, with notes of liquorice. It finishes by calming on the palate but leaving a few spicy notes on the tongue.
When swallowed, it becomes fresh, leaving woody notes for a long time. Then there's a hint of cold tobacco.
The empty glass retains a few wisps of peat and sweet notes.
We are dealing here with a very soft, gentle peat, but above all a marked difference between the two parcel distillates of the year.
Well, you've been good, so as promised, here's a tasting of the first organic whisky from ROZELIEURES: ORGANIC COLLECTION.
And yes, even though the distillery is one of the pioneers of whisky in France, it has not yet offered an 'organic' whisky.
But make no mistake, although the GRALET- DUPIC family has been producing whisky since the dawn of the year 2000, it has already been "thinking" and integrating ecology into its production process for 15 years (in particular through the use of green energy and energy autonomy). For this first cuvée, the distillery has paid close attention to short distribution channels, with labels and bottles both produced not far from the distillery.
For its first 'organic' whisky, the team chose to use organic Explorer barley grown in the spring, to mature for 3 to 4 years, first separately in ex-bourbon casks and ex-Cognac casks, then combined for a finish in ex-red Burgundy casks.
This combination of casks is undoubtedly responsible for the wine's deep golden colour.
In any case, it's this ageing process that gives rise to an initial nose that's rather greedy and dense, with warm notes of ripe fruit from the distillery's orchards.
The second passage reveals more woody and spicy notes with a background of bitter almond.
The third passage returns to warmth with notes of vanilla and sweeter buttery notes.
The palate is initially sweet, but soon reveals a slight woody tension and spicy notes. However, this slight tension disappears in favour of softer but still woody notes. Then, keeping this slight tension in the background, it takes on the flavour of toffee just out of the fire and lets through the more perry notes that are customary of the house.
On the way down, the palate is left with a mixture of cachou notes softened by hints of milk chocolate.
The empty glass reveals spices and cereals.
Once again, these three tastings demonstrate the broad aromatic palette of the ROZELIEURES distillery. I can't wait to tell you about their new brut de fût aged in moscatel casks. But that's for another time.
In the meantime, if you would like to taste these sweet beverages, you can find the other parcels either directly on the distillery's website (https://whiskyrozelieures.com/) or on the Dugas club expert website (https://www.dugasclubexpert.fr). And a little bird tells me that if you missed them at the Dugas show in September, you might well discover them at the next Whisky live in Paris (and the various provincial shows).