Armorik Double Distillation

 
Score: 94/100
ABV: 46%
Origin: Brittany, France 
Price: $95
 
Armorik “Double Maturation” is another creation from the very talented distillers at the Warenghem distillery in Brittany, France. Warenghem pay homage to the Celtic identity of Brittany with every drop of malt whisky they distill, but this whisky is distinctly French in flavour because it takes advantage of the oak and coast of Brittany. A local cooper provides the distillery with unique casks made from the forests of Brittany and these casks then age the distillate for a number of years before it is matured for a second time in sherry casks. Armorik Double Maturation is interesting because it is matured first in virgin French oak from forests in Brittany, and this is not commonly done when maturing whisky. Combine this with a second maturation in sherry wood and the many years this whisky spends by the sea, and what you have is the rich distillate, salty sea, spicy French oak and fruity sherry wood all in one bottle. It tastes delicious, and refreshingly different to Scotch or Irish whisky. 
 
On the nose the soft transparent tannins of European oak dance around orange zest and firm cereal notes that are softened by creamy butter, white chocolate, salted caramel, ripe peach and a floral hue of jasmine. On the palate the oak works its magic, as peppery spices emerge on the entry with undertones of minerality and sea salt, intensifying with chocolate coated cranberry notes that suddenly fade into a mid-palate of cereal and zesty orchard fruit. The finish is possibly the best part, as the lingering cereal notes meld with a coastal theme and hints of salt that melt into bright menthol. This tastes almost like an Island finish, common to whiskies from Islay, but without the peat, obviously. The French oak used is certainly unique in its own special way, and the spices meld beautifully with the fruit and sugars from the sherry wood as the clean flavoursome distillate projects creamy barley and some fine distilling. 
 
This is among the very best European whiskies tasted on Malt Mileage, keeping company with two other stars: Spirit of Hven No 2 from Sweden and Fary Lochan Single Malt from Denmark. It almost makes me want to embark on a European whisky trail… did I say almost? It does! 
 
At $95, this is a must buy European whisky and an elegant, creative whisky that showcases great distilling, rare sherry wood and very unique oak from the forests of Brittany. 

Amorik Classic

Score: 90/100
ABV: 46%
Origin: Brittany, France
Price: $85

Armorik whisky “Classic” is produced by the Warenghem distillery in Brittany, France. Brittany is a part of France with an innate Celtic culture and is considered to be one of the six Celtic nations, together with Ireland, Scotland, Isle of Man, Cornwall and Wales.
 
Armorik Classic is made from malted barley and granite filtered Breton water, and this wort is then fermented and distilled twice. The distillate is then aged on the coast of Brittany in bourbon and sherry barrels and whisky from these barrels is married together, un-chill filtered, to create Armorik “Classic”.
 
On the nose gentle vanillas meld with fresh cereal notes, creamy barley and chocolate coated raisins with hints of toasted coconut and dehydrated cranberries. The barley emerges after a while, husky and clean. On the palate the whisky is mouth-coating with a creamy layered texture that releases raisin and bourbon themed sugars, vanilla and cereal notes with undertones of spice that fade into a finish of chocolate coated macadamia nuts and a resurgence of the dried cranberry on the nose.
 
At $85 this is an excellent value French whisky that offers a youthful punch, but enough aging to showcase some complex and balanced wood notes. Delicious.    

Breizh Whisky (Warenghem)

Whisky:
Breizh Whisky

Score:
87/100

2, medal, silver icon

ABV:
42%
Region:
France 
Body:
Medium
Intensity:
Light-medium
Texture:
Medium
Balance:
Good
Best served:
Neat
Theme(s):
Floral, green grapes, tart green apple, fungal, raspberry, licorice/anise seed, grappa preserved prunes, grassy, pepper, oak, roasted chestnuts, honey, glazed cherries

Tasting notes:
“Breizh” means “Brittany”, so this whisky literally translates into “Brittany whisky” – great name for a whisky from Brittany in France. This whisky improved a great deal after opening the bottle – it changes like a chameleon, shifting its character and improving with every tasting, until finally its true colours shine. 

Whisky is matured in oak barrels for a reason, and that reason is to enhance its character with oak flavour compounds while at the same mellowing the new spirit which, frankly, is not very pleasant. A lot of whisky from Europe is very young, and it is tainted with the stench of new spirit. The Breizh whisky from the Warenghem distillery offers a distinctive European style of whisky, but without that new spirit smell or taste – it offers tart fruit, grain, berries, citrus, candied fruit, anise seed and a mild fungal character. 

Nose: Fresh and light floral notes meet the nose with lush grass and the skin of green grapes and granny smith apples – the fruit is sweet yet tangy, with a sharpness that is mellowed by gentle fungal notes of mushrooms, raspberry and licorice. The bouquet on this whisky is certainly very different, youthful yet complex, and it is very soft and gentle in a pleasant way – a way that will be appreciated by cognac drinkers. There is a sweetness in this whisky that develops over time, once the bottle is left open, and this sweetness enhances the entire experience `- lemon cheesecake with raspberry preserve and sharp passion fruit and the mild aroma of prunes preserved in grappa. This really is quite spectacular. 

Taste: The sweetness, now candied plums and glazed cherries, softens the sparks of pepper that ignite with sugary papaya as it oozes its juicy sticky nectar. That nectar develops into caramel though which candied orange shines – the presence of orange peel intensifies with lime drops and the drying influence of oak. 

Finish: The finish on this whisky is sweet and delightfully complex, almost like dark chocolate coated fruit and dried berries. The fungal notes identified on the nose return on the finish, and develop into roasted chestnuts that are glazed with honey. How did this whisky get so good? That answer remains a mystery, but clearly we have a winner! 

Likes:
Diverse flavour profile