Review – Black Mountain Notes Fumées

The Black Mountain Compagnie is a relatively new French operation with a couple of releases under their belt already. Their distillery is still at the pre build stage and they are keen to showcase a product now that will be indicative of what will be produced there in future.

They are sourcing whisky from Scotland which is specifically blended to match their projected flavour profile. The spirit is somewhere between 3 and 6 years old before being matured in southwestern France for an additional 12 – 16 months in casks that previously held a ‘local grape based spirit that they cannot name by law’ (I’m guessing Cognac or Brandy, anyone help?) Then they add a proportion of a smoky whisky to be further matured for a few weeks before being bottled.
Its a rather grand and somewhat complicated sounding process but how does it taste?

Notes Fumées, OB, Black Mountain, 45%abv, Press sample.

On the nose there is, as you would expect, a gentle smoky presence alongside some quite herbacious elements, mixed with wet moss, perhaps some mushrooms and a wine note reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc. Given time there are some fruitier notes here too but they are quite deep within.

The palate feels rather thin, not much mouthfeel here. Its very light and I suppose quite gentle but those herbs and a slightly plastic element come through again when the smoke fades to leave damp newspapers and a medicinal and briney feeling on the finish. Very drying at the tail end with a hint of linseed.

I’ve tried Black Mountain before and to be quite honest it wasn’t really to my taste.

This is more appealing and my preferred expression of the two but the herbaceous undertone and thin feeling spoils this one for me.