There is nothing quite as awe-inspiring as seeing the haunting image of Mont Saint-Michel we showed on our Facebook page that brought you to this post. The incredibly beautiful and majestic Mont Saint-Michel has stood between the kingdoms of Normandy and a remote Celtic cousin of Ireland and Scotland since the 8th century. First a monastery and later a strategically important fortified island, was never truly part of this Kingdom’s territory, yet history can’t separate them.
Scotland and Ireland we know as the Celtic home of some of the worlds greatest whiskies. So could this cousin, the French administrative region known as Brittany, possibly be home to a whisky worth investigating? I mean the French make great brandy’s from Normandy’s calvados to the cognacs of Poitou-Charentes, but French made single malt!
Well until relatively recently the answer was no. Whisky had been produced for many years but never anything that could be truly considered on par with say what Scotland had been doing for centuries. However in 1988 the Warenghem Distillery, based in Lannion, that already had established themselves as a quality distillery creating herbal liquors, decided it was time the world got it’s first Breton single malt “The Armorik”. Their seaside moor environment offers perfect aging conditions for whisky and they have in my opinion created something exceptional and well worth seeking out.
The Armorik Classic is the corner stone of the production here and brings together many of the best barrels. A wonderful marriage of both ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks are used. The Nose:rich vanilla, delicate oats, toasted nut and a lovely warm grain bread like quality. The Palate: revels some of the sherry wood influence abound with bright fruit, dried vine fruit and warm spices. The Finish: shows that coastal influence spicy and delicately salted.
If the classic is the corner stone, then Armorik Exclusive Single Cask (a New York Exclusive) is most certainly, in my opinion, the jewel in their crown. Aged entirely in sauternes wine casks for a touch over six years, this is an awesome whisky. The Nose: honey and stone fruit (ripe apricots), toasted hazelnut and rich nougat. The Palate: rich and creamy hinting at sweetness but beautifully balanced with spice. The Finish: notably dry with that DNA of Breton sea breezes!
The great news for you is that you don’t have to cross the Atlantic to get hold of these. Just let Uncle Google do the work and let some French into your lives.
À votre santé! (Cheers!)