This story is sponsored by France 44.
Matt Fisher knows the many, many beers of France 44 like the back of his hand, but he’s also quite familiar with their Scotch selection. Recently he walked us through a couple particularly intriguing bottles — one, a small-batch single malt called Edradour 10, the other, a blend called Black Bottle.
The Edradour hails from the smallest distillery in Scotland (and the last remaining farm distillery in Perthshire), says Fisher. Its production run is small — it only produces 12 casks a week, a drop compared to the rivers made by its competitors.
“It’s finished in Burgundy casks, which gives it sherry and mint tea flavors,” says Fisher. “It’s a super herbal, soft Scotch, and it’s complex. The more water you add to it, the more the big floral tea notes keep coming out of it while the candied caramel notes get a little more muted.”
Fisher compares and contrasts the Edradour with some of the bolder Highlands flavors that many Scotch fans are familiar with.
“This will be an interesting bottle to try if you like some of the bigger Highlands — if you like those really fresh, vibrant, almost slightly fruited Scotches, like some of the Port-finished Scotches (Glenmorangie does one),” Fisher says. “A Port-finished Scotch has a bit of a darker fruit note to it, while this one has a bit of the lighter side.”
At about $52 a bottle, Edradour is comparable to many other 10-year single malts — and it’s a bit harder to come by.
“Any Scotch like this is great to pair with food,” Fisher adds. “This would be a great chocolate Scotch. Not so much milk chocolate, but that dark, cocoa chocolate — some of those flavors really overlap with this one.”
As for the Black Bottle blend, Fisher says: “I love it that it’s so unlike the other Islay Scotches that I’ve had. They tend to have big, briny, sea-salt, sort of medicine-y flavors to them. This one, while that’s just barely present, you get a bit of sea salt, you don’t get that overwhelming peat characteristic.”
The result is a soft-spoken, easy-drinking blend.
“Their blender managed to make a really soft Scotch with little caramel-y, almond sort of touches to it… and it’s got a hint of that almond to it, which makes it like a Scotch candy bar. It’s really fun. It’s less than $20 a bottle — it’s one of the best Scotch values I’ve found.”
You can find Edradour 10 and Black Bottle scotches at France 44 (4351 France Ave S., Minneapolis).