To celebrate the 3rd birthday of http://lacavedecobalt.blogspot.co.uk/ Franck Debernardi organised the #FrenchWhiskyTT on twitter and I was lucky enough to be included in the people selected to take part.
We were supplied with 5 samples which were to be tasted blind and bearing in mind I had previously never tried French whisky before I had no preconceptions of what to expect so onto my thoughts of these whiskies.
Sample 1. N. Sweet, brown sugar, toffee,cereals and ripe red fruits. P. Delicate and soft, sweet, fruity, hints of a ginger heat and spice which then leads into a floral note. F. Dry, short, slightly acidic almost fizzy on the tongue.
Sample 2. N. A slight floral perfume, vanilla sugar, papaya and pineapple with a slight alcohol tingle. P. Tropical fruit, spicy, slightly astringent and woody. F. Quite short, woody and dry.
Sample 3. N. Creamy, tropical fruit again, chocolate, spicy, oaky and after a while slightly floral. P. Spicy, hot, sweet and syrupy, creamy with quite a rich mouthfeel, fruity, chocolate. F. A slight peppery spice with lots of sweet ripe fruits.
Sample 4. N. Acrid, burnt rubber, spicy, lots of alcohol, then with quite a bit of time in the glass menthol, california prunes, sweetness and herbal and new make spirit. P. Cinnamon powder, sweet, sour, again that burnt rubber note. F. Cloying sweet but at the same time bitter, very herbal, spicy and overpowering.
Sample 4. With a healthy splash of water. N. Chocolate, cream, spicy, vanilla, still quite a harsh alcohol burn and the rubber note has been dulled considerably. P. Coffee, menthol, spicy, sweet at first but then sour and rubbery again. F. The finish is very much as without water.
Sample 5. N. Slightly cheesy, fruity, woody, a definite sulphur note and stewed plums. P. Sweet and fruity but with the sulphur note still present, slightly minty, bitter orange and lime. F. Dry with the citrus notes to the fore.
The five samples were revealed as,
Sample #1 : G.Rozelieures Rare Collection 40% un-chilfiltered from La Maison de la Mirabelle
Matured in Sherry, Cognac & Sauternes Casks Limited edition
44,50 € from here : http://www.maisondelamirabelle.fr/modules/oledrion/category.php?cat_cid=2
Sample #2 : Armorik Double Maturation 46% un-chilfiltered from Distillerie Warenghem
Matured in Breton oak and finished in sherry casks
Sample #3 : Armorik Millésime 2002 (2013 edition) single cask, Cask Strength 56,3%
Matured in Bourbon cask for 4y then in Oloroso cask for 7y 728 bottles
Last year’s edition is still available for 70,55 €here : http://www.whisky.fr/armorik-10-ans-2002.html
This year’s edition will be soon available for around 80 €
Sample #4 : [Secale] Single organic malted rye 56% from Domaine des Hautes Glaces
Matured 18 months in Condrieu (white wine from Vallée du Rhône) casks. Reduced to 56% before filling, then Cask Strength 511 bottles. Soon available.
Sample #5 : Uberach W.L.P 10th edition 2013 46,7% from Distillerie Bertrand
Distilled in 2003, matured in Banyuls casks. Since 2009 every year a single cask is bottled but 20 litres are kept in a “Dame Jeanne” big bottle. This W.L.P. is the blending of what was left of casks 101, 102, 103 & 104 respectively bottled in 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012. Only 146 50cl bottles 60 € almost sold out (very hard to find).
http://www.distillerie-bertrand.com (but no whisky on their web site).
Overall the Armorik bottlings really impressed me and I will certainly be looking to find some more. A big thank you to Franck for organising this event, the samples and supplying the above information.