Thursday, September 17, 2009

Have just tried ... Eddu 'Grey Rock' French whisky

eddu 'grey rock' french whiskyEddu is a whisky produced at the Distillerie des Menhirs, which is located close to the town of Pomelin in the Brittany region of north west France. The distillery was founded in 1986 by local businessman Guy Le Lay, with production of whisky and eaux de vie (including a version of the famous Pommeau de Bretagne apple brandy) beginning in 1988. In the whisky production they use only cereals and products grown in Brittany, including buckwheat - a seed used in health products and world cuisine. This makes Eddu the only whisky in the world to contain buckwheat and its name comes from the word for buckwheat in the local Breton language.

The first Eddu whisky was released in September 2002 and the current range consists of three whiskies that are each made using different traditional Breton recipes. This 'Grey Rock' (La Roche Grise in French) is made using 30% buckwheat combined with barley and maize and is a blend of differing ages. The other two are named as 'Silver' (l'Argent) and 'Gold' (l'Or), with the 'Silver' being of particular interest as it is made from 100% buckwheat.

The colour of this Eddu 'Grey Rock' is light and golden. The nose is youthful and robust with an initial blast of alcoholic spirit. This is not the best beginning but the nose settles down to reveal some vanilla, fresh green crisp fruits (think of pears and apple) and sweet cereal grains (imagine fresh wheat especially). On the palate, there is a similar story with a hit of burning spirit that then mellows to allow some particularly sweet, sugary notes to come through. This is almost a touch overpowering. The vanilla, fruit and cereal notes from the nose are present and joined by some honey and something sweet and tangy (the closest thing we could think of is sherbet). The finish is long and sugary with an interesting bitterness that appears towards the end. This feels a bit nutty or like husks of grain and creates a better balance to the whisky.

This is certainly interesting stuff. There are numerous interesting elements but it lacks any real balance and seems too young. It is hard work to drink straight and may be better with a mixer or in a cocktail but shows potential. It will be interesting to try some older versions of Eddu and see if there is more balance, subtlety and less exaggeration of the characteristics. Eddu has only a small distribution in the UK and can be found mainly through Royal Mile Whiskies for £35 a bottle.

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