Back in France, after our virtual walk in Scotland, we head directly to the south-east of France in the direction of the Vercors. I hadn't had time to talk about it since our last visit, but finally, after 8 years of hard work, Anne-Hélène and Eric CORDELLE enjoy the birth of their SINGLE MALT! 3 years doesn't seem like much (and it's especially necessary to call one's distillate whisky) but when you know that you've produced something that's up to scratch, you can clearly imagine that it must be an eternity.
So here we are back in the old silkworm nursery of the Royans valley in the shade of the great sequoia.
Before tasting this new organic single malt (and moreover !!) we won't do the article about the distillery (I had already done it during my last visit when I tasted the pure mal mal tourbé) but we will still be interested in the two "endemic" stills of the house. Indeed, one of the great particularities of the house and that here the work is done by Anne-Hélène, Eric (and also Paul and Jeanne who work with them) but also by Nautilus and Belle!
Let me explain, the two stills are so much a part of the quality of the production that they have been baptized.
Let's start with the more endemic of the two: NAUTILUS. It has a large part in the specific taste of the single malt produced here. It is unique in the world and is the work of Eric. All stainless steel, it was made to distil at very low temperature (based on the stills producing essential oils - an essential oil of malt! Here is an outlet). Indeed, the latter does not exceed 50°C and therefore will limit the evaporation of alcohol vapour to the finest particles but will require a longer distillation. Here we know that a slow distillation will forge the complexity of a single malt...so the heating core of the Vercors distillery's wash-still can only contain "beautiful things"!
This is perhaps why the Spirit-Still here is called BELLE! A little more "conventional" in the Charentais copper style, it will of course bring the distillate to its final version but will above all remove the potential impurities that stainless steel would not have removed.
It all sounds simple, but Eric's training being in engineering, one can imagine that this long process (1/2 day from wash to spirit) required a few hours of reflection. Nevertheless, the process of making SEQUOIA organic single malt is unique and promises a beautiful single malt.
So what about it?
Already, with its natural golden colour, the liquid announces an ageing in bourbon casks (3 years regulation). Nevertheless, it does not reveal anything of the finish in cognac casks (used several times).
Before pushing the nose straight into the glass, you can smell the (organic) barley with which it is made.
Then there are two options. Either you can't wait and when you plunge the nose into the glass, it is the ardour of youth that comes out with the freshness and sweetness of the fruits of the orchard and a large imprint of the barrel. Pear in syrup, peach... It would be almost medical!
Personally, I would advise you to let this ardour settle down to discover it. It will still be fruity but perhaps a little less "pear"! We can then detect a little heat from the cereals. Then, at the second passage, it will reveal notes of dry biscuits but also a hint of pepper which will appear if the nose remains too curious. The third passage will be warm and calm with beautiful woody and slightly smoky notes (be careful, this is not the peaty version of which we tasted the pure malt).
Moreover, if you slip a few drops in your hand, you will discover slightly amplified, the same smoky and biscuity notes.
Although young, it comes out quite frank and precise. Let's see if it's the same?
In the mouth it is epiphany (a little spicy version -NDLR-) ! This single malt is a pastry and reminds one of a beautiful cake. It will make a warm and sweet starter with a hint of spice that tickles the tip of the tongue, rises to the top, spreads out and then goes back to the sides to leave the frangipane and its almond flavour in its place. Afterwards, it is the sugar that takes it away with the sugar of the honey. The end of the tasting will remain on a buttered and pastry sweetness all over the heat.
As if to give the signal for the end of the tasting, just before swallowing the fruits of the nose make their return (as if to close the loop and tell you "and yes it's over!").
Nevertheless, once swallowed, the notes that remain in the throat are spicy and herbaceous and of medium length.
Overall, although it is young, I think that the Vercors distillery has passed the first stage well. It has managed to produce a single malt which is already very good and organic on top of that. A little ageing should make it a little less spirited. Besides knowing the CORDELLE couple's taste for good things and experiences, we can expect, in the future, to have nice tastings in the shade of the great spruce!