An original blend, a long-expected Ardbeg and why not venture out of the whisky world with two excellent and very affordable cognacs? Never be tired of exploring…
Flat Nöse – 43% – Blended Scotch Whisky – 50 cl
A blend signed by Donald Mackenzie, Global ambassador for Dugas, a whisky importer in Paris. Donald is an Ileach and there is a touch of Islay flavours in his blend, prepared by Ian MacLeod company. Flat Nöse was the nickname given to one of the Lords of the Isles. It does not describe the nose of this pleasant whisky! (26 euros for 50 cl)
Colour: Light gold.
Nose: Round, oak and fruit integrated with a predominance of oak. Rich cereals, malt loaf, stewed apples. On time, vanilla swirls up.
Palate: Smooth and velvety. Sweet maltiness, honey, apples. drying on a light spicy note.
Finish: Short, sweet with a nutty touch and some toffee. I’d avoid water as it brings out astringency. A pleasant blend, smooth and balanced.
Pairing: cheddar or cantal cheese.
Ardbeg 21 – 46%
This is the new release available only for members of the Ardbeg Committee. It is a vatting of 12 casks distilled just before the closure of the distillery in the early 80’s when it was within Allied portfolio. A limited edition, hence (too) expensive (£310)
Colour: Crisp morning golden sun.
Nose: Intense, tarry with a floral whiff (gorse ?). All the phenolic array is here, elegantly intertwined: a touch of soot, a hint of seaweed, wrapped in a light smoke with a dominant boat garage note. Vanilla slowly swirls up with delicacy. The floral character lingers. Freesia. On time a soft berry note.
Palate: Crisp and sooty. Raw silk texture with a fizzy sensation on the tongue. Malty sweetness shines through at midpalate. A mineral character (salty sun warmed pebble). Lemony flavour mingled with mint, licorice and aniseed. Very refreshing sensation.
Water enhances the mineral character but brushes off the subtle nuances. I prefer it neat.
Finish: Dry, peppery and biscuity. Almond biscuit. Quite lingering. Sooty aftertaste.
A very elegant and “ardbegy” Ardbeg… It manages to reveal a dual character: strong and light. It strengthens my conviction that bourbon cask maturation enlightens the whisky profile. I am definitely a “blonde whisky” supporter.
Pairing: Langoustine and lobster risotto with a touch of elderberry syrup.
Cognac François Voyer XO Réserve Age d’or – – Grande Champagne – 45%
François Voyer Cognacs are produced in grande champagne, the “grand cru” of cognac. They are deliciously elegant and reflect the print of time, even in their younger blends as there is always an old eau-de-vie to sign their deep profile. The Réserve âge d’or is a blend of cognacs aged 8 from 20 years. 46 euros for 50 cl
Colour: Amber with golden hues.
Nose: Intense and lively. Oak frames a rich oaky festoon. Gingerbread, raisins coated in chocolate. Oak is present in the back. Cedar, dark chocolate, an earthy touch. Getting nutty (on dry walnut and toasted hazelnut).
Palate: Generous with a smooth and velvety texture. Fruit and oak dance a “pas de deux” with passion fruit making its way through. Elegant spicy dryness. Alcohol is perfectly mastered, giving a warm sensation on the tongue.
Finish: Dry (dusty spices), lingering on exotic fruit.
This is La Grande Champagne in its refined elegancy, together with a surprising warm liveliness. Maturity in a youthful mind. The dream of everyone.
Pairing: A lamb saddle stuffed with dried fruit.
Vaudon – XO Cognac – Multicru – 40%
Colour: Intense gold.
Nose: Round and smooth. Fruit is dominant (exotic fruit, mango & passion fruit) enhanced by spicy notes (nutmeg, cinnamon, hint of ginger). Oak stays in the back. A praline note with a floral touch (fading peony).
Palate: Satin-like and smooth texture. Again exotic fruit and spicy dryness. Long peppercorn, ginger. Salted caramel sauce, toasted hazelnuts.
Finish: Intense and powerful, drying out on integrated oaky notes. Licorice and passion fruit. An enticing blend with a nose sweeter than the palate which is definitely spicy. A very good value for money bottle.
Pairing: Caramelized pineapple with a long peppercorn icecream.