Origin: France (Bretagne)
Type: Single Malt Breton Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon refill and ex-Sherry Oloroso
Added coloring: No
Owner: Distillerie Warenghem
Average price: € 38.00
Official website: distillerie-warenghem.com
There are few parts of the world today that don’t produce their own local whisky, whether it’s to ride the wave of the distillate’s resurgence, pure passion or national pride. And a bit of all these reasons together.
The Warenghem distillery was founded in Brittany and was immediately proud of its Celtic roots, which in more ways than one brought it closer to the spirit of Scotch whisky.
Warenghem is the name of the family that moved to Lannion at the end of the 19th century, opening its own business at the beginning of the following century on the granite coast near the Léguer river at the behest of the head of the family, Léon, whose first product, Elixir d’Armorique, was very successful beyond the region’s borders, as far as America.
The business remained exclusively family-run, taken over in 1919 by his son Henri, who diversified the distillery’s production into various liqueurs, until 1967, when Yves Leizour took over the business and joined forces with the third generation of the family, Paul Henri, moving the distillery to the vicinity of the Rest Avel river to take advantage of its clear waters.
The search for innovation and diversification continued from father to son, in 1984 Gilles Leizour created Melmor couchen (a kind of mead) which became a very successful product in France, and finally in 1987 the first whisky blend, called WB.
Eleven years later, the distillery’s first single malt, Armorik, was created, scrupulously following cross-Channel procedures, thanks also to a climate very similar to that of Scotland and Ireland.
In their own words, “the sea, wind and rain have forged the character of our wihsky, which is second to none. Two copper stills for traditional double distillation, an ageing cellar that allows different types of casks to mature thoroughly and a passionate cellar master in search of the right aromatic balance are all elements that make our Armorik whiskies great.”
You can only admire such passion!
In the glass, light gold with copper highlights.
Almonds and liquorice greet the nose, accompanied by a distinct cereal and biscuit component. Dried apricots, orange peel, Williams pears and the fruity side is served. In the background, a slight peaty impression. A nice start, sweet and mineral, the winds off the Breton sea have done a fine job.
And the peat sensation is amplified on the palate, mineral and smoky, flanking and thickening the savouriness of the whisky, with more liquorice and dried fruit, orange, chocolate, cereals. Spicy and peppery touch. Three-dimensional, young but not too much.
Quite long finish of ash, hazelnuts, cereals, with salt and pepper on the lips.
I admit, I approached this whisky with low expectations and it really surprised me: not at all banal, full, fun, multifaceted. For being the calling card of their whiskies, this Armorik makes you want to try all the others!