Ha! I don’t think you know this brand yet, right? Well, it’s not surprising, since first, it’s French, and French whisky is unfortunately still not as well known as its Scottish parent. And also because it’s a brand Warenghem did for Biocoop, a network of French organic shops, so… good luck finding them outside France. But anyway! In December last year, a bit more than a year after my first visit there, I went back to Warenghem distillery in Lannion (known mostly for its ArmoriK whisky) to meet with David Roussier, the distillery manager, and have a long chat with him. While we were discussing, he poured a few drams for me to taste, and one of them was a whisky I was not aware of, an Irwazh Tradition. While the rest of the chat will be the subject of another blog post (and I have a lot of work to do before it’s out), I wanted to tell you, or to be precise, let David tell you the story of Irwazh. Afterwards, we’ll obviously review the first two releases of this range.Read more
It’s that time of the year already: the new seasonal release from Mackmyra. This “autumn” (yes, we’re still in summer right now but not for long), the famous Swedish single malt celebrates, and I quote: ‘autumn, berry foraging and the treasures to be found in the ancient Swedish woods’. So, what is really behind the pretty story? Something original again as we can always expect from Mackmyra. This time, part of the casks they used for the maturation held Swedish berry wine from the craft producer Grythyttan. To be more precise, Mackmyra used a berry wine called Jakt, a dry red wine made from wild blueberries and lingonberries. I have to admit I have absolutely no idea what taste it may have. As a French bloke, I’m quite more used to wine made from grapes, especially since we Frenchies are the best in the world at it (and if you disagree, it’s okay, you have the right to be wrong 😂). But enough with that, let’s go review this Mackmyra Jaktlycka.Read more
I am a proud member of a private Twitter group of whisky fans called The Whisky Circus, created at the beginning of the lockdown my Sorren “@ocdwhisky” Krebs, a well-known whisky blogger and now a brand ambassador for The English Whisky Company. The Whisky Circus is about 50 members big from several countries (UK obviously, but there are also people from Ireland, France – this humble writer included, Belgium, Sweden, Norway…). We meet every Sunday afternoon on Zoom and thanks to Sorren’s relations in the whisky industry, we now have one or more guests from the industry who come to discuss with us every week. Though you cannot participate in those Zoom sessions if you’re not a member of the group, you can watch the replays on Sorren’s Youtube channel, as our sessions are recorded for their most serious part. All the secrets from the trade, however, are not, sorry-not-sorry!
A few weeks ago, Sorren, with both his Whisky Circus ringmaster and The English Whisky brand ambassador hats, contacted the most regular members of the Whisky Circus to offer an English Whisky tasting with a then yet unannounced new release: the new English 11-year-old single malt. So I guess it was an English Whisky Circus Tasting. After all, the English language loves contractions. Julien tasted an English whisky bottling by SMWS before and liked it a lot, but we didn’t introduce the distillery then. So let’s talk about The English Whisky for a moment before diving into the samples.Read more
On Friday the 10th of April, I organized a small blind tasting with friends I had sent samples to almost a year ago. Lockdown due to the Covid-19 crisis is keeping us to meet and go to festivals, but it does not prevent us for sharing whisky with friends. Back in November 2019 we did our first kind-of-blind tasting with 4 Yoichi, and last Friday we went to another country, my (and Julien’s) country: France. On the lineup: an Armorik and Eddu, from Brittany, and an Elsass from Alsace. So like last time, we knew what drams we were going to taste, but had no idea of the order. Myself included. But let’s start by introducing the distilleries.Read more
Nowadays, distilleries love to play around, more than ever, with casks used to mature their whisky. In some countries, for example Scotland, if distilleries go “too far”, the regulatory bodies give a big frown. And “too far” is more “it’s not on the allowed types of casks list hence it’s forbidden” than “what you did gave a crappy whisky because your cask was spent or was virgin oak ruining a good but fragile spirit”. In some other countries, let’s say Sweden, distilleries can experiment and do as they want. Moreover, Mackmyra is a Swedish distillery that loves to experiment. Their latest experiment is a whisky called Grönt Te, but before reviewing it, let’s give a quick presentation of Mackmyra.Read more
On Saint David’s day (the 1st of March for those who don’t know all the saints by heart, myself included), I participated to a Penderyn Tweet Tasting organized by the unmissable Steve Rush. Saint David was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw (now St Davids) during the 6th century. Saint David is the patron saint of Wales. Fast forward to the end of the 20th century. A group of friends while having a dram, decided to start a distillery, and in 1998, The Welsh Whisky Company was born. Two years later, it started distilling, and this was the first time a Welsh distillery did this in more than a hundred years. Finally, in 2004 on Saint David’s day, Penderyn Whisky was launched in the presence of HRH Prince Charles. Penderyn distillery is located in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales.Read more
Behind the seventeenth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a Cotswolds 3yo batch 1, bottled at 50.4% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. Cotswolds is a very young English distillery as it has been founded in 2014 and produces whisky, gin and other spirits. They have three small stills: a wash still (2400 litres) and a spirit still (1600 litres) for the whisky and a Holstein still (500 litres) to distil gin and other spirits. This Boutique-y release had an outturn of 1783 bottles and can still be found on Master of Malt for £58.95.Read more
Early september, I discovered there was events where you could taste SMWS whiskies as well as cigars – and boy what that an excellent discovery.
This time around, the French ambassadors reached out to me and asked me whether I would be interested in an “exclusive” session where we would taste a whisky selected just for France – SMWS 7.217 – Joie de vivre. This session would again be at Gentleman 1919, which I’m starting to love more and more.
Obviously, I accepted – and I can only thank them for that as I missed the Whisky Live due to friends having the bad idea of having their wedding that week-end. This was then the occasion for me to forget about the sheer pain it caused and soothe my broken heart by downing some drams.Read more
The third SMWS release from Saint George’s Distillery (The English Whisky), a 9 years old first fill ex-bourbon barrel. This one measured against the Laphroaig I had before – which was hard, but I was told it was founded by an ex from Laphroaig based on English peat. Why not?
A very surprising juniper start, followed by sea salt, chocolate and apricot, and at the very end a low key custard.
Attacking on an alcoholic burn. Milk chocolate, very smooth smoke with a slight sea salty after taste.
Finish a bit short yet on sea salt crystals, with this smooth smoke bringing them forward.
I discovered a new distillery with this one. I have absolutely no regret but this one: I waited for the Joie de vivre release on October 10th to make my order and there was none of this release left. My world is misery.