In the mid-90s, Pace ran some pretty iconic television advertisements that featured cowboys around a campfire chatting about picante sauce. When the cowboys find out that the picante sauce they are being offered is made in NEW YORK CITY, they get pretty offended. While this salsa ad has little to do with the current concern with slow and local food, it immediately came to mind when I came across Bastille whiskey. Here in the South, we drink Bourbon and if we’re feeling fancy, I suppose Scotch. But whiskey from France? I hadn’t really considered it!
However, when one of the gentlemen at Morganelli’s wholeheartedly recommended Bastille 1789, we decided to take a chance on it. I mean, the French are hardly inexperienced at making fine spirits even though they tend to work more with grapes than grains. The malted barley and wheat in Bastille are grown in Northeast France and it turns out that lots of Scotch producers source barley from that region anyway. So, why not keep the production in France? Indeed, there is a burgeoning whiskey industry in France as the French are huge consumers of important whiskey. Here in the US, we haven’t come across too many brands available to us locally but after trying Bastille, I’ll be watching out for others. Because this is a lovely whiskey.
Bastille is a mild sipper with lovely fruity notes. I get berries, stone fruit, and peppery baking spices with an aroma of floral honey. It is sweet on the tongue with only the mildest heat and spice. Usually, when I sip a whiskey, I’m doing it to assess what sort of cocktails it might be good in. And certainly, I think this would play nice with other spirits. But, it is subtle and complex enough to stand on its own. At around $30 a bottle, it is a great value and reminds us that very lovely things can be quite accessible. Vive la France!