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Fils du Roy – L’Eau d’Août

Review: Fils du Roy – L’Eau d’Août  82.5/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published on October 12, 2017

Fils du Roy – L’Eau d’Août is an experimental whisky produced in New Brunswick by Sebastien Roy at Distillerie Fils Du Roy. When Sebastien began making his whisky, he started with a blend of 75% Single Malt Whisky and 25% Corn Whisky. The spirit he created was intended as R&D project where Sebastien was trying to darken his whisky without using artificial caramel colourant. Instead he used local maple syrup harvested at the end of the season which is very dark and woody. The intention of course is not for the whisky to taste maple syrup; but rather to substitute the artificial colourants sometimes use in the industry with a natural colouring agent. This whisky (which is the subject of this review) is his rarest product (only 363 bottles) and the entire whisky is aged a full 3 years.

According to Sebastien, L’Eau d’Août means “Water of August” in French. It also has a connotation of sweet water “Eau doux”. The name was chosen because the whisky is released only once per year on the first of August. There were only 363 bottles this year, and the entire production was sold out by August 4th.

Fils du Roy also makes a commercial grain spirit (a second version of his L’Eau d’Août) which is very similar to the whisky except that the percentage of Single Malt spirit increases slightly each year. However, because the age of the entire spirit for this second version is not a full 3 years, the distillery does not call it Canadian Whisky.

Sebastien is also about to produce his first Canadian Single Malt Whisky in early 2018. He has funded the production of this new whisky through his sales of both versions of his L’Eau d’Août.

In the Bottle 4/5

The Fils du Roy L’Eau d’Août bottle presentation is shown to the left. This is a medium tall rectangular bottle with light green/brown tinted glass sealed with a metallic screw cap. The rectangular shape  is ergonomic allowing the spirit to be packed more efficiently and the bottle hold to the bartender’s creed of being easy to grab and hold, easy to open and pour, and easy to store on the bar shelf. The label is professional, much nicer that I typically see from new producers.

Note: The spirit is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 8/10

The spirit, although coloured with end of the season maple syrup, is nonetheless quite pale in the glass which indicates that the colouring has been used judiciously.

I remember encountering this sample as I was tasting and rating whiskies for the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards as this particular sample stood out with a nose that was quite interesting. In my tasting notes for the awards (Samples were tasted in a blind format so that I did not know what they were) I wrote:

Nose:  Sweet and sour note of dank corn and fruit, butterscotch, light underlying mustiness with burlap and dry wood spice which comes through later.

I remember that note of sweet and sour corn reminded me strongly of Canadian Club Whisky except that the word ‘dank’ applied much more in this case. Based upon the nose, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to like the whisky as it seemed sort of dark and foreboding. I don’t know if I was getting whispers of that ‘end of the season maple syrup’ with its dark woody aroma peeking through; but I suspect that was the case.

In the Mouth 50.5/60

When I tasted the Fils du Roy Whisky, I noticed that its aroma translated very well across the palate. I liked it, and I wrote a rather tongue in cheek remark in my tasting notes:

Flavour:  See above, tastes much nicer than it smells.

Although I found the whisky somewhat foreboding in the breezes above my glass, the flavours really work well together across the palate. At its heart, the spirit is a dank punky corn whisky; but it also brings a brighter fruity quality somewhat reminiscent of speyside single malts. This fruity speyside quality marries up very well with the corn. A dry spiciness accompanies the corn and the fruit with a corn and maple sweetness pulling everything together.

In the Throat 12/15

Finish: Penetrating sweetness at the back-end, but otherwise buttery and smooth.

My tasting notes indicate a bit of tug of war for myself in how I wanted to score the spirit. I loved the buttery texture and the relative smoothness; but I was slightly put off by that penetrating sweetness which I could taste right at the back of the finish. I wonder if the maple syrup used to colour the whisky was responsible for the penetrating sweetness I described in my tasting notes.

The Afterburn 8/10

My final score in this review is slightly lower than when I scored the whisky in my blind sampling sessions. This is because I also tasted the spirit once more after the judging was over when I had more time to taste the whisky in isolation, away from the effects on my palate of other spirits. In this last session the spirit was not quite as complex as I remembered. This often happens when sampling young spirits side by side with older more complex spirits. The younger whiskies take on some of the characteristics of the more complex older whiskies they may be paired with in the tasting flight.

Having said that, I should point out though that I still found the Fils du Roy L’Eau d’Août quite tasty. And as a 3-year-old spirit, it has remarkable smoothness. I plan to keep my eye on Distillerie Fils Du Roy.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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