Craft Extravaganza – Part III
It's David OG again—back for part three of the craft extravaganza. Finally, a single malt from Alsace! Last year I spent a good 4 days weaving my way around Switzerland and eastern France in search of the next great single malt. After three terribly depressing days in Switzerland -a country filled with great whisky priced tenfold above the market, I made one last ditch effort through Alsace. I left early from Basel and made my way through the beautiful region to the tiny Hamlet of Uberach.
Meaning "just beyond the river bend," Uberach is in the heart of the Alsatian orchards. Perfectly situated to capture the highest quality fruit in the France, many distilleries exist in the area. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of people drinking fruit eau-de-vie these days even in Alsace. When the proprietor of the famous Bertrand Distillery caught the whiskey bug in the early 2000s, he made an historic moved to distill exclusively malt whisky. They’d been distilling some of France’s best fruit brandy since 1874, but Jean Metzger saw a future called “single malt” and never looked back. He uses locally sourced organic barley, about 25% of which is peated to 5 ppm. He’s partnered with the organic brewery down the way who ferment the wash before it’s distilled on his antique copper alembic stills. It’s then filled into five casks types: new, used and reused French oak, Banyuls, Rivesalte, Rasteau, and Vin Jaune.
Our blend, which will likely be followed by cask strength single barrel offerings in the near future is an “assemblage” of two cask types at different fills; meaning we have both first and second-fill French oak in the mix as well as second and third-fill Banyuls casks. All the whisky in the bottle is around six years old and is absolutely wild. Not surprisingly it has a lot in common with some of the best eau-di-vie on the market. Big powerful nose of pears, cotton candy, big yellow flowers and subtle malt. The palate is very much on the floral side, but not perfumed or acrid, just very fresh and seamless. This truly is carving a new malt category out from the wide world of world whisky. While it hits some of the notes of a fresher styled highlander, it’s truly unique and unlike any other product in the store. I hope you enjoy.