Origin: France (Bretagne)
Type: Single Malt Breton Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon and ex-Sherry
Added coloring: No
Owner: Distillerie Warenghem
Average price: € 59.00
Official website: distillerie-warenghem.com
The Breton distillery Warenghem is no stranger to peated whiskies, a genre that’s always present in their bottlings although not in a brazen way.
If it was with Triagoz (soon to be featured on these pages) that they produced their first declared peated bottling, it’s with this bottle that the distillery is launching a line dedicated purely to peat’s lovers.
The name comes from an area of Finisterra, in Brittany, called Yeun Elez and known for its marshes and forests. This cosy setting has led to it being considered an entrance to hell, as told in the distillery’s own words:
“According to the legend told by Anatole le Braz, it was here that the damned souls who tormented the living were thrown. Tadic-Coz knew the secret ritual of binding the souls of ghosts to the body of a black dog, and instructed young Jobic to guide the dog to the gate to Hell, and he went from presbytery to presbytery to collect the spirits, taking the dog to the Rector of Commana. Together with the latter, at sunset, they threw the dog into the swamp of Yeun Elez, condemning the spirits to eternal damnation.”
Made with 50ppm peated malt imported from Scotland, the process from distillation to bottling was all done in the distillery and presented with a beautiful label.
Very pale yellow, almost transparent, in the glass.
The aroma is intense peat, acrid and marine, with a nice medicinal and iodine profile that at times recalls a good Laphroaig, soon revealing a marked background of orange, baked apple, dates, caramel, liquorice and shortbread. There is also a trace of forest, pine needles and resin, which slips through the aromas. Full-bodied and well-dosed.
Smokier on the palate, with toasted wood and tobacco leading the way to a more distinctly saline soul with a soft body, thanks also to a certain freshness in the background given by the citrus and again that balsamic woodland note. Spicy notes (ginger and thyme) accompany liquorice, sugar bread and apple pie. Gradually the fiery aspect blurs with the more marine and sweet notes, without one ever overpowering the other.
The finish is quite long and ashy, of sea salt, liquorice, citrus and tobacco.
A peated whisky that knows how to maintain the right balance of flavours, without ever overdoing the toasted component that goes well with the more maritime and sweet notes. It combines the two aspects skilfully, perhaps at the expense of a greater complexity that would have made it truly memorable, but then again that is already a lot for the price tag.