Welcome to day ten on the KWM Whisky Advent marathon! Today the calendar has given us our second non-Scottish Whisky – this time coming to us from France. Black Mountain Notes Fumées is the name of the whisky – sourced from Scotland, then finished and bottled in the south of France.
Whisky may not be the first aged spirit or even alcohol that you think of when it comes to France, but perhaps it should be. To many of us, the country might only be thought of as the place that makes everything from grapes: Cognac and Armagnac plus many styles of red and white wine from the likes of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Champagne and so on – but it is much more than that. Even with all of this viniferous production that is imbibed both locally and around the world, the French still manage to drink more Scotch per capita than any other country in the world.
Like many other countries in the current, global whisky boom-time, France has seen quite a few distilleries established within its borders in the past decade, with at least 40 distilleries producing whisky or what will eventually be whisky within the Country. Some French whiskies have already hit the Alberta market such as Warenghem, Glann Ar Mor/Kornog, Bellevoye, Osokye and Bastille. Now joining the selection of French Whisky available to us is Black Mountain.
Black Mountain Compagnie SAS was formed in late 2011 by four friends from Toulouse in the region of Occitan, which resides in Southern France. The team behind the Black Mountain company have been blending carefully selected malt and grain whisky sourced from Scottish distilleries for a while now. They focus on creating whisky that is stylistically light, floral and fruity with a hint of spice.
The company made their first entirely French Single Malt in the region in March of 2018, distilling a small batch with another local distillery. Their own future distillery may still the planning stages, but the team hopes to bring whisky making to the Occitan region in a big way. The land they have selected for the future distillery resides 3000 feet above sea level on a plateau of the Montagne Noire, which the company takes its name from. There is a spring in the same area that is also the planned water source and is already used to cut the selected whiskies at before bottling.
The company currently has three releases in their main whisky portfolio, all of which are currently available in Alberta. Black Mountain N1 – Excellence and N2 – Premium are both mostly unpeated in style. The moderately peated Black Mountain Notes Fumées (smoke notes in English) rounds out their current line up. It was awarded Best French Blended Whisky at the World Whiskies Awards in 2017.
The Black Mountain Notes Fumées is a young blend – starting its life as a 5-to-6-year-old blended whisky in Scotland before being shipped to Occitan to be finished for 12-16 months in casks that once held grape-based spirit from the region. Two parcels of peated whisky making up about 20#% of the total volume are then married into the blend after this and the resulting whisky is then rested in 3rd and 4th fill (essentially plain) casks before being cut to 45% ABV and bottled.
Image courtesy of @frombarreltobottle
Black Mountain Notes Fumées – 45 % ABV
Evan’s Tasting Note
Nose: Very perfumed in style. with citrus, lemongrass and floral notes, malted barley, vanilla and almond paste, A touch of musty yet somehow clean funk joins the fray, exhibiting notes of petroleum jelly, peat and Fishermans Friend. It is kind of like you went crazy blending Earl Grey with lemon-ginger and peppermint teabags all in one cup of tea.
Palate: Oily, lightly peaty, and floral with a fruity citrus zing and a touch of minerality. Pear drops, lemon flavoured honey straws, crystallized ginger and other sweet fruit and floral tones arrive before a mint and other herbal notes join in – like a very watered down version of Green Chartreuse.
Finish: mint, citrus and a very light touch of earth and peat smoke and a dash of salt in a soft, slightly drying fade.
Comments: A very floral and perfume driven style of whisky. It comes off as youthful, but the oil, citrus and light peat make it fun. $89 for a full sized bottle – $10 for the mini / 50mL version
Playing catch-up on our 2018 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar?