Origin: Brittany, France
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.