We approached cross-country, via winding French roads with spectacular views. As it was an Open Day, we were confident posters and signs would guide us to one of Rémy Cointreau’s newest acquisitions, a small alpine farm-distillery in a pretty remote part of France which, with Westland (USA), has recently become a baby sister to Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery.
But no, not a hint as we went over the Col and into the village that make up the distillery address. No posters, no signs, no people except, by luck, a post-lady. She guided us back up the road, but it was only when we recognised the farm from the pictures on the website that we found the brilliantly named Domaine des Hautes Glaces.
Still no posters though. No signs, no people and, in a very French way, the 11.00 opening did not happen till after 11.30. So we loitered in the company of a young hospital chef with a whisky hobby and voluble pride in his identical (but dram-free) menus for patients and staff all cooked from fresh ingredients.
Our visit was inspired by a chance encounter with proprietor Frédéric Revol in May when he was on Islay, dining with Bruichladdich’s Simon Coughlin at Yan’s in Port Charlotte. We discovered Domaine des Hautes Glaces was on our planned route back north after a June holiday in France. So we said we would visit.