Above: Various craft spirits displayed at Distillerie Louis Roque in Souillac, France

A Dordogne Distillery Where Spirits Are Made by Hand

About 10 minutes from the Château de la Treyne, on a rather unpromising street in Souillac, the Distillerie Louis Roque still produces its spirits largely by hand, going so far as to manually apply labels and sealing wax. One of the English-speaking employees, Jessica, led us on a tour of the facility, including through the barrel-aging room and the distilling room, where the copper stills looked as if they might have been borrowed from the adjacent museum. It was fascinating to learn, for example, that the distillery uses only the fruit in its walnut liqueurs, harvested in late June, as opposed to the walnut itself, which develops in autumn.

I quite enjoyed the well-balanced Apéri Noix, a sweet vermouth-like apéritif that would surely be superb in a Manhattan, as well as the Eau de Noix, a 40-proof liqueur redolent of walnut and cherries that started syrupy but finished dry. The plum brandies were also delicious: The two-year-old La Vieille Prune had a wonderful Mirabelle flavor mixed with cinnamon, whereas the eight-year brandy felt richer and calmer, building more slowly and finishing on a satisfyingly woodsy note. We spent about an hour on our casual and friendly private tour, and I highly recommend doing the same if craft spirits are at all of interest.

Distillerie Louis Roque
41 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 46200 Souillac. Tel. (33) 5 65 32 78 16

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