Domaine des Hautes Glaces, in many ways, looks a lot like the small crop of grain-to-glass farm/distilleries out there, from Far North Spirits in Minnesota to Kilchoman in Islay to Whiskey Acres in Illinois. What sets this distillery apart is that it’s not in the United States, or Scotland, or any of the other countries with long whisk(e)y-producing histories: it’s in the foothills of the French Alps.
Surprisingly (to me, at least), they’re far from the only whisky distillery in France. The distillery dates to 2009 and is the project of a guy named Frédéric Revol. It’s an all-organic farm with a distillery and aging cellar set up in a 400-year-old château. Oh, and the property seems to look like a set from a Lord of the Rings movie. If you’re ever in Grenoble, an hour’s drive away, the tasting room is open most weekdays. Send me pictures!
Les Moissons (“the harvests” in French) is an estate-grown, organic single malt aged in French oak barrels “of various sizes and (exclusively French) oenological origins” for an unspecified length of time. It’s bottled at 42% ABV.
The little row of glyphs at the bottom of the attractive front label are a reference to alchemical elements—though only one of them, earth, is a real alchemical symbol—envisioning the distilling and aging process as a transmutation of earth, water, air, fire, metal, and wood into whisky.
Tasting Notes: Domaine des Hautes Glaces Les Moissons Single Malt
Color: Very pale straw. Looks like white wine in the glass.
Nose: Strong grain notes pop out initially—buttermilk biscuits and pie crust. Those pastry notes mingle with rich cooked fruit. I get orange marmalade, stewed figs, and a gently spicy note like pumpkin butter.
Palate: The palate is grain-forward, too, but I also get grass hay initially, and butter on the mid-palate. Some more baking spice and a dash of oak round out the palate. It’s light, but not watery, with a pleasant, lingering finish.
Final Thoughts & Score/Buy A Bottle:
This is a warm, comforting hug of a whisky that’s complex but still approachable. The mix of grain, fruit, and spice call to mind, for me, a baked fruit tart, or perhaps—not to read too much into this whisky’s country of origin—a clafoutis. It should be noted as well Rémy Cointreau Group has expressed interest in buying this distillery – how this may impact their whisky in the future remains unclear.