You might safely call me a Le Freche fan boy. I love the core profile and the nuance and character between the casks. They can roll from a bourbon drinker cutey to complex and demanding campbeltown mistresses. I’m not much of a fan of the bitter herbal side of the force, and Le Freche rarely goes too far the the dark side.
This is the most fascinating and challenging Le Freche I own. I’m glad I have 4 of them for the price I paid. But I can’t tell if you should buy one. This isn’t going to be a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It is the Trainspotting of casks. If you like a real adventure, with unexpected twists, this is the dram to find. It’ll sing to the foodie in you.
Life’s Little Adventures
We took the kids to Japan in 2015. Sojourn was just starting to walk, and Serenity had just turned 7 going on bossy. We scored a sweet apartment right by the huge fish markets. The kids crashed about 16h as soon as we arrived and at 1am, where wide, wide awake. There was no way to stay in the apartment, so to let Julie sleep a bit, I took them to explore. We wandered the streets, exploring empty shrines and watching the night crews load enormous tuna and cut them with full on samurai swords. In my intense sleep deprived state, all I really remember is the hallucinogenic parade of lights and the powerful smell of dashi that pervaded every shop we passed. Everything was so quiet and yet thriving with people.
We stumbled into a dark Sushi restaurant. Everyone stared. Some tall white dude with a baby strapped onto him and a little kid at 3am. The shop had a blue layer of smoke but we forded it and grabbed a corner seat. They had plastic models of every dish in the front window, so my daughter took the lady by the hand and pointed out what she wanted. Apparently, she ordered fish eggs. Go kid. In that strange miracle that is my girl, she loved them and ate a ton. I slowed sipped a salty broth and ate spicy something. Then Sojourn kicked out and knocked over the hot soup onto my daughter and she started crying and screaming. The restaurant stopped and just watched me and my kids loose their shit. I’m not one prone to shame, but this was really something.
That night is one of my fondest memories.
Tasting Le Freche 1986 #44
The best times aren’t always the easy ones. Everyone can agree that Lous Pibous #188 or #187 is delicious. It is easy approach and every bourbon drinker’s darling. Who doesn’t like good sweet oaky fruit juice?!? But I like INTERESTING. And Cask #44 traipses across every part of my sense of adventure. This is a hell of a cask.
Graham cracker crust, breaded fried green tomatoes, umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums), miso soup and funky umami that tweaks leftward towards gamey Biltong. It is reminiscent of a very old single malt px cask. I believe when they say rancio, this could be the essence of what everyone means.
It is like sitting in one of those Tokyo sushi bars at 3 in the morning that first night after landing when you can’t sleep. The palate has jetlag, thin and strained and yet more intense at moments. We’re talking salty / umami. The sweet and sour heat of gari (pickled sushi ginger) and pops of wasabi. It is oddly hot for the ABV. Fruit and Salt and Spice. Groseille and peppercorn. Or maybe a savory strawberries balsamic reduction with rosemary and sage? Oh, got it. Mexican green mangos covered in red chili flakes, salt and lime juice.
This dram is going to be super polarizing and I’ll keep finding odd hallucinogenic stoner associations with every sip. It might be my favorite or hard to visit depending on the night. It challenges me. I love it.