Distilleries et Domaines de Provence

Distilleries Et Domaines De Provence

Continuing a little from the inspiration behind the feature on the Nardini range, it was to be around this time that I came across the French name of Distilleries et Domaines de Provence. Looking at the photo above, you may be hard pressed to recognise the labels, or indeed the names, but this very reason is behind the initiative that Mal Spence had with the Inverso Masterclass, giving the light of day to a brand that offers something a little different.

Lets dive in.

Distilleries et Domaines de Provence is a name who have been in the history books since 1898, creating and producing Provençal liqueurs and aperitifs in Forcalquier, located in the Haute Provence region of France. This specific region is also recognised as a “Site Remarquable du Goût” (Site of Exceptional Taste). The inspiration behind the setup came from the tradition of collecting medicinal plants on Lure mountain, an area known for its abundance of plant species. It’s here that gatherers from as far back as the Middle Ages carefully harvested and distilled the herbs, eventually turning into pharmacists or apothecaries. Around the 19th century, beverages were starting to become popular, with digestifs and aperitifs becoming a common sight, and the act of drawing out the plants aromas and substances became the force behind many of today’s liqueurs and aperitifs.

The vermouths that are being focused on here, are produced from four different recipes using ingredients which are harvested locally and marinated with local provence wine. Lets take a look at each expression a little close –

Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Gentiane de Lure – 16%

One of the two oldest Distilleries et Domaines de Provence recipes, gentian roots are collected then dried before putting them into a liqueur wine to extract the flavours. On this base, they incorporate fresh gentian roots, sweet and bitter oranges and Peruvian bark. When maceration ends (in six months to a year), the gentian roots, citrus peels and Peruvian bark are separated from the alcohol extract called an infusion. This infusion will be mixed with the liqueur wine and alcohol and Lubéron white wine. After combining the different ingredients, the Gentiane de Lure is aged in a barrel for 6 weeks.

Plenty of herbal and citrus notes combining on the nose. Rich, ripe yet becomes slowly lighter. A burst of bold citrus on the palate, although subdues quickly to give a mellow, fresh aromatic herbal flavour. Lingering with a slight bitterness.

Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Noix de la Saint Jean – 15%

Produced by the infusion of green nuts obtained by maceration of fresh nuts (Dauphiné, Mayette and Franquette varieties) according to the tradition on St. John’s day (the origin of the name of this aperitif). The nuts are crushed in an old arm crusher then placed to macerate in a mixture of wine and alcohol for 6 to 12 days in order to extract all of the aromatic part of the fruit. A maceration of stain of dry nuts also is made.
A maceration of spices (cinnamon, cloves, peppers, nutmeg) is made fifteen days before the final product is created.
When these macerations end, they draw out the infusions: green nut infusion, nut stain infusion and infusion of aromatics to add them to the aperitif. The fruit or spices are then distilled.
The infusions, spirits and flavors are mixed into the wine, sugar and alcohol to make the Noix de la Saint Jean. Then, it will be necessary to wait 5 to 6 months in order to drink the aperitif.

Lots of walnut, dried fruit and oatmeal bread notes on the nose. Ripe berry flavours upon the palate, with a slight sweetness creating a smooth texture. Aromatic walnut is present on the lingering finish.

Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Orange Colombo – 15%

Produced by creating orange infusions made from orange rinds, Côte d’Azur type “green ribbons,” and sweet orange rinds macerated in a water and alcohol mixture. After combining the various ingredients, it is then aged in a barrel for 6 weeks.

Ripe orange ring hits the nose first, but mellows slightly with orange spice and mandarin aromas. Well-balanced on the palate, with sweeter notes counteracting the bitter orange. Plenty of aromatic orange zest on the light yet very dry finish.

Distilleries et Domaines de Provence Rinquinquin – 15%

Three variety of peaches are picked when ripe, including The Cardinale, The Coronet and The Junegold. The peaches are picked at the end of October when they start to take on their golden colour. The fruit and leaves are placed to macerate separately in mixtures of alcohol and wine, and takes between 6 and 12 months to obtain the fruit and leaves aromas for the resulting infusions. After blending the three peach infusions, the Rinquinquin is aged in barrels for 6 months.

Intense, ripe peaches on the nose, with a slight citrus zest coming through. Natural sweetness of the peaches come through on the palate, with a bold, dry hit of the peach hitting near the flesh driven finish.

Some fantastic aperitifs here, and ones to enjoy either on its own, over ice, or as part of one of these –

Manhattan
Manhattan

Manhattan

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients – 

45 ml Rye Whisky
15 ml Rinquinquin
1 drop of Angostura Bitters

Method –

Mix the ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Martini glass.

or perhaps,

Coolombo

Coolombo
Coolombo

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

40 ml Orange Colombo
20 ml Cranberry juice
10 ml lime juice

Method – 

Mix all the ingredients in a shaker and serve in the ice-filled glass. Decorate with 2 cherries on a stick in the glass.

Some fantastic ideas to enjoy a refreshing alternative to your usual tipple. Bartenders are coming across these flavours more and more, offering simple ideas to enjoy not just before a meal, but whatever time of day. Pick yourself a bottle or two up and take your palate in a different direction this Spring.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Love And Death This Valentines

Came across this today for a different take on your usual Champagne cocktails –

Love&Death2 - Artesian (1)Love and Death

Glass – 

Coupette

Ingredients – 

60 ml Bulleit Rye
30 ml Viscolata Cardinale
15 ml Vermouth Cocchi
10 ml Red Verjus
2 dash Spanish Bitters
1 dash Abbot’s bitters
1 pcs Grapefruit peel

Method – 

In a mixing glass combine all ingredients apart from grapefruit zest and stir with ice till cold & diluted. Pour into a chilled coupe over a large chunk of ice and perfume with grapefruit zest.

Also served at The Artesian. London.

Gold Of Mauritius

Gold of Mauritius

Rum. Associated predominantly with the Caribbean and many of the brands you see today hail from the likes of Jamaica, Barbados and St Lucia. I have featured some of the more lesser known areas such as Argentina and even the UK who produce rum to a worldwide market, but you’d be hard pressed to name such brands off the top of your head. I suppose if you were to remember a liquid clearly, it should stand out, shout and be seen as good quality. I say all this with confidence because the feature for this piece is Gold of Mauritius, a more African venture than Caribbean, but does that really mean we should dismiss it so soon?

This Mauritius rum is produced from the islands own sugar cane plantation, a reliant source for trade in its own right, and aged in re-used port oak barrels. Said to capture ‘the essence of the tropical island with its rich and cultured history’, it gives intrigue to any rum fan. So with this, below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gold of Mauritius – 40%

Incredibly rich with plenty of wood notes combined with roasted walnuts and high in malt. Very smooth on the palate, with the richness subsiding to become, well just rich! Lots of fresh malt, warm fudge, damp oak and sticky toffee on the palate that produces an incredibly long, warm and mouth-watering finish.

Nothing like the Caribbean styles, this Mauritius based rum is a cracker and one for sipping on its own for sure. Although they do recommend a classic if the mood takes you –

Manhattan
Manhattan

Manhattan

Glass –

Martini

Ingredients – 

40 ml Gold of Mauritius
1 spoon Youngberry syrup
1 spoon Vermouth
1 spoon Sugar Cane syrup
1 drop Angostura bitters

Method –

Take a shaker and fill 1/2 with ice. Add the ingredients over ice, stir and strain into Martini glass.

Although its not one for a storied history, it’s ultimately the liquid that does the talking and I believe it captures it’s tag line of ‘the essence of the tropical island with its rich and cultured history’. The liquid is rich and uses its famous culture to create a dark rum with character. One for the cabinet for sure.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Socio Rehab Review

Socio Rehab has been called many things since its time on the streets of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, and since its January refurb, those already positive words on their cocktail making skills can be used while sitting in modern comfort. I swung by a few days back for the first time this year for two reasons – number one was to have some damn good cocktails, and number two was to show the rest of the world what their missing!

Although a flying visit, Max, one of the Socio Rehabs friendly bartenders, created for me a Blantons bourbon heavy Manhattan whilst flicking through what can only be described as a comic book of cocktails. Unique, quirky and it works. Recipes that jumped out at me included Lemon Rusky (vodka and limoncello shaken with fresh lemon juice and sugar, topped with grapefruit juice), Fish House Punch (Remy Martin cognac, Havana Club light rum and peach brandy liqueur shaken with strong cold tea, freshly wrung lemon juice, sugar syrup and soda) and a Orange Blossom Martini (Hangar I Orange Blossom vodka, (Benedictine, limoncello, dry vermouth rinse) stirred with mint leaves and a single smashed berry, finished with a Clementine zest).

Manhattan

With low wooden stools at the bar, there’s leather sofas with faded Union Jacks printed on overlooking the high street and nestled between big indoor potted plants. A simple singular tall table is at the other end of the bar next to the almost floor to ceiling windows, followed by a row of stools at a wall mounted side. Well known lounge music set the mood to chilled setting, with candles flickering against maroon coloured walls. Surprisingly, the colour scheme goes well with the tiled floors and red brick bar, as does the back bar itself.

With a fantastic range of spirits that meanders its way across the whole of the wall, there’s something literally guaranteed for all palates. Noticing brands including Woodford Reserve, Mamont vodka, Belvedere, El Dorado rum, Patron tequila, Bulldog gin, Ron Diplomatico and the Sipsmith range, this bar goes one further with the word variety. Theres even a bottle of Smith and Cross, a traditional blended Jamaican rum aged up to 3 years.

Smith & Cross – 57%

A mixture of tropical fruits and wild spices on the nose, with a slight ‘high alcohol’ aroma following. A kick of banana, vanilla and caramel on the palate, but is rather short on longevity.

Culross

Cocktails isn’t all that Socio Rehab serve though, with wines and beers including Heinekan, Moretti and Asahi available amongst an array of soft drinks. Next on the cocktail list for me however was a Culross which involves Bacardi Superior, Lillet, apricot liqueur and lemon juice. Served in a rather stunning gimlet, much to the envy of two fellow patrons, it was a fantastic end to a unfortunant brief visit.

Socio Rehab also host many events including cocktail nights, masterclasses and even the chance to jump behind the bar and have a go yourself! Friendly bartenders who know what they’re talking about – but use simple terms that can mean non-bartender folk can order without feeling out-of-place, an inviting setting, and some great drinks to try, Socio Rehab still hits the nail on the head when it comes to a city centre cocktail bar.

It’s a must try venue.

Check out more photos of Socio Rehab on my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

BBFB American Odyssey Review

The Bacardi Training Team were back in Manchester recently for the next round of their training sessions, this time held in the Champagne and cocktail bar Epernay. Leanne and Tom were our hosts in this popular Manchester bar and perfect setting to learn about Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve!

The range of whiskey to be tasted

Starting off with a cocktail named Stonefence, a mix that I’ve surprisingly never heard off yet so simple – whiskey and cider! Apparantly made around the 1800’s in the time of Jerry Thomas, it was surprisingly nice and balanced quite well!

Leanne then spoke about the 400 year history of whiskey in America whilst we sampled rye whiskey (not very strong on the nose, gave off a soft vanilla scent. The taste gave a slight fire burn which resulted in a long after-taste). To be classed as Rye Whiskey, it must be made from at least 51% rye, distilled at less than 80 percent and stored in new, charred oak barrels for at least two years and most Rye whiskies are made in Indiana and Kentucky. An example of rye whiskey is Rittenhouse, a brand that I used to sell in my last place of work.

We then learnt about the start of whiskey, where in the late 1800’s, the Scottish and Irish settlers brought over to America their knowledge of the production of whisky and settled in the surrounding regions of Virginia. Since corn is native to America, this resulted in the use of corn as a basis for whiskey production. We tried a small sample of corn whiskey, before the start of maturation, that gave off a very overpowering and a scent of fresh bread which came more alive upon tasting. To compare, we also tried a wheat whiskey that gave a smooth scent and taste but a rather bland and virtually no recognisable flavour on the palate.

The legend of Elijah Craig was also explored. He apparently is credited in being the pioneer of the first true bourbon whiskey and also the charred barrel method of ageing the whiskey. Many stories for the charred barrel legend include that he purchased a barrel that had previously been used to store fish and burnt the inside to remove the smell. He then put his whiskey in and transported it down the river.

Next, the laws of American Bourbon were mentioned. These include –

  • Bourbon can be made anywhere in the USA (but mainly found in Kentucky)
  • Only Bourbon from Kentucky can advertise the state in which it is made
  • Must contain at least 51% corn
  • However no more than 80% with the other 20-49% having a combination of rye, barley and wheat
  • All American whiskies must be aged in new American white oak casks that have been charred on the inside for at least 2 years.

As mentioned above, the charring of the barrels releases sweet and smoky flavours to the Bourbon which give it a stronger, more flavoursome whiskey than that of Scottish or Irish whisky. The barrels can’t be re-used, so they are sold to other spirit distillers of rum, tequila and Scotch.

The Epernay bar

The addition of ‘sour mash’ is also a signature of American whiskey. 25% of the mash from a previous batch is added to the fermentation process so to keep a consistent style.

The Lincoln County Process was also mentioned by Leanne, which is the main difference between Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey. In Tennessee, the whiskey is filtered through maple charcoal before ageing and must be made by at least 51% of single grain and can only be made in Tennessee. This brought us nicely onto Jack Daniels. Being from Lynchburg, Tennessee, it is therefore classed as a Tennessee whiskey. We sampled Tennessee whiskey both before and after charcoal ageing. The before whiskey had the same nose as corn however the taste wasn’t as strong and gave a smoother more delicate flavour. The post whiskey had a more subtle nose and a creamier taste than before charcoal ageing.

2 different Manhattans were then made to both see and taste the difference between the one made using Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels Single Barrel. Being a Manhattan drinker, both = excellent! And one sip was definitely not enough!

The Jack Daniels Single Barrel was next on the agenda to be tasted. On the nose it gave off a subtle vanilla aroma with a slight oak lingering behind. The smooth vanilla extracts were released upon tasting which made it just that little bit easier to drink than its Old No.7 version.

The Gentleman Jack on the nose gave off a very strong vanilla aroma yet on the tongue it was very smooth and not as harsh as you may think after the initial nosing. It gives a gentle vanilla/toffee colour compared to a more Old No.7 style colour for the Single Barrel.

We also tried Woodford Reserve to have a comparison. On the nose it gave off a strong caramel scent with a smooth lingering vanilla aroma which carried on to the taste. However the caramel becomes more subtle in flavour resulting in a smooth lingering after-taste.

This was an excellent insight to American whiskey and really helped my understanding of the American side of a subject that I’ve not always fully understood. With this and my recent Dalmore and Glenfiddich Masterclasses (https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/dalmore-whisky-masterclass-review/ and https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/glenfiddich-whisky-masterclass-review/ ) I have been able to fully appreciate both the history, techniques used, taste and understand the differences in the whisk(e)y that is produced.

If you are close to any of the BBFB Training Shows, make sure you go along and check them out. It’s a great chance to learn and sample the brands that Bacardi Brown-Forman have got underneath them. Check out there website at http://www.pourfection.com/trainingteam

Also, check out my review of their Rum Roadshow at https://drinksenthusiast.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/bbfb-rum-roadshow/