French join the world of whiskey making

Chalk up another offbeat entry for the whiskey world. From the Cognac region of France comes a little something called Bastille 1789, a French-grain blended whiskey.

This is quite a departure for a country best known for producing wine and liqueurs, although in recent years the creation of Grey Goose and Ciroc vodkas and Citadelle gin, all respected products, have broadened the French portfolio.

The Bastille 1789 has a mashbill of barley and wheat grown in the northeast of France, an area that has long supplied barley for some Scottish distillers. It is fermented in Cognac with water from a spring in the Grand Champagne sub-region of Cognac. The distillation is done in alembic pot stills normally used for making brandy. It is aged in a combination of French Limousin oak, cherry wood and acacia casks, then blended.

The finished product is 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) and sells for a suggested retail price of $29.95 for the 750ml bottle.

The initial limited release is being made in Washington, DC, as well as Pennsylvania,Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey, with the rest of the nation receiving product beginning in May.

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