“I’m totally not a nostalgic person. I always look to the future and as much as I’ve enjoyed the ride until now and the different phases, I’m more excited about the next music.” – David Guetta

Winter is coming. I’m not ready to accept the sudden cool bump that exists in our August nighttime air. Soon that bump will be a full-on chill that will necessitate a long sleeve, later a hoodie, and eventually thick coats. I’m not ready to give up my seltzers.

Don’t worry, my summer was not totally given up to the dark side. I’ve kept up with finishing bottles in my collection and sharing samples with good friends, the things we preach about here at Malt. I’ve emptied bottles that I’ve reviewed for Malt and even emptied the bottles that I chose not to review for Malt.

Last year my highest scoring whiskey was a finished whiskey by the name of Holiday Toast. It was an amazing honey/cinnamon flip from nose to tasting that captured my imagination, so much so that I feared my love for straight bourbon might be soon replaced by finishing abilities of Ashley Barnes. Would I ever want to taste straight bourbon again?

This year Lucky Seven introduced a double-barreled product called The Frenchman. It’s Kentucky straight bourbon finished in new French oak barrels. My readers should know by now that one of my favorites in the bourbon world is the Maker’s Mark Private Select series, which features many options from the French oak world.

Lucky Seven enjoyed quite the spring buzz here in Chicago, and it wasn’t because of my review of Holiday Toast. 14 -year-old single barrels were gobbled up like mad at Binnys and the word of mouth began. A box office success from this onlooker’s perspective. The Facebook groups lit up and the brand started to get quite the spotlight here.

To shine further light on the Frenchman I reached out to Michael Lahalih of Lucky Seven.

Malt: Where did the inspiration for the Frenchman come from?
Michael: We are always looking to create amazing expressions from our barrel stock. Rather than laying the barrels down and waiting around for a number of years for aging, we like to finish some of our juice in secondary barrels. French oak has always been on our conviction list, and we were very excited when we got our hands on these French oak casks. Given the overwhelming popularity of the Holiday Toast we thought we’d give the French oak a go, and we were quite pleased with results to say the least. With Ashley Barnes’ amazing blending skills and talent, and all of our palates being in alignment, we knew we had another winner on our hands.

Malt: I noticed they are finished in new French Oak. Was this barrel also charred, and was the original barrel American oak?
Michael: These are new French Oak barrels and there is a char and toast level to them as well.

Malt: Your single barrels were a smash hit around the Chicago area amongst the fiends I hang out with. Are you more proud of your well-aged single barrels having success, or the unique blends Ashley and the team have put together?
Michael: Truly, we are proud of all our expressions equally. Our single barrels are amazing because we take the time and sample all our barrels to identify those special barrels that are single-barrel worthy. Moreover, our barrel finished and batched expressions are scrutinized just as closely to make sure that expression is simply the best barrel finish expression on the market. We truly strive for nothing less than excellence, there’s just too much pride with our team to offer anything less than amazing.

Malt: How would you rank these top French DJs: Bob Sinclair, David Guetta, and Daft Punk? We will also accept one favorite track from any of those French acts and pop a new bottle while play that track after our next purchase.
Michael: [laughs] Well I can’t speak for the rest of the team, however I am personally a big Daft Punk and Bob Sinclair fan, although Guetta has a few tunes stuck in my head as well. I also like Jamiroquai, however I realize he’s from England.

Malt: Almost a year after Holiday Toast came out you have quite the robust lineup; what other “coming attractions” can we expect from Lucky Seven?
Michael: Yes, we are constantly working on new, exciting expressions. It’s too soon to say right now, but I will say we have some amazing juice coming to market.

Since my review, Holiday Toast picked up Double Gold at the San Francisco spirits competition, a gold from Fred Minnick’s ASCOT awards and a 91 from Whiskey Advocate… but I told you about them first 🙂

I know, I know. Awards shouldn’t mean that much but allow me a moment to say, “Told ya.”

So how will this new entry fare?

Lucky Seven The Frenchman – Review

Batch 01. 113 proof (56.5%). $79.99.

Color: Melty mocha.

On the nose: Tons of strong wood almost overpower the senses. A hint of spearmint evolves into another wood note. You close your eyes and cedar/bourbon scented soaps come to mind. Dr. Squatch or Duke Cannon. Take your pick. While those soaps can be woody woodpeckers, this elevated spearmint makes you think your about to take a walk through the woods.

In the mouth: If you have ever wondered what it would be like to taste a Frosted Pine Cone air freshener, this is your chance. This is the most refreshing bourbon I’ve had in a while. The honey/cinnamon flip switch that the Holiday Toast employed is a far cry from this tribute to the winter wonderland that is to come. The French oak is drying on the mouthfeel. Not surprising, as I have noticed the effect that French wood seems to have in another of my favorites, the Maker’s Mark Private Selects.

The drying effect with the lasting mint and cedar combo make you want to take another sip. It is here that you realize… I’m drinking a bourbon that tastes like a rye. Absent are dill and pepper, but it’s a unique middle ground that I am happy to return to over and over again.

Conclusion:

Fall is coming. This cool woody wonder takes me to the woods and gives me that cool rush that reminds me of a splendid summer season and the spring that awaits me on the other side of winter.

Score: 7/10

Side note: This is a first pour score. I reserve the right to change this score unless Taylor publishes it before I can come back to it.

Disclaimer: This bottle was provided at no cost to me for this review.

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Matt

Born and raised in Chicago Matt spent the last decade hunting the unattainable only to find the beauty in the everyday affordable Bourbons you can readily find. An avid shoe collector whose early 90’s reissue of Jordan III’s disintegrated in storage; he believes shoes should be worn and whiskey consumed not stored. Whiskey elitists can keep it moving, spirits are a journey for everyone. Whether it’s the first sip of the night or another addition to their top-shelf at home.

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