One highlight from our Whisky Ladies Euro Chapter was the discovery of Maison Benjamin Kuentz whiskies. So when I traveling to Paris in June 2021, we absolutely HAD to meet the remarkably talented man behind the creations. And what an experience in the heart of Paris, going deep into a cool ‘cave’ like facility where the magic happens!
Our primary focus was on Aux Particules Vines – a whisky series intent on discovering a singular alchemy – the harmony between grain, malt and French wine.
For us, the 1st Edition reminded us of a subtle wet spring morning whereas the 4th edition was a late summer afternoon and the 5th clearly shifted into autumn, demanding more time and patience to open up fully.
With all three we discovered an interplay between aromas, palate and consistently long finishes.
Aux Particules Vines Edition #1 46%
This edition took a wee bit of effort to track down – a hidden remaining stock with La Maison du Whisky which was cleverly spotted by one of our Parisian Whisky Ladies. She brought the bottle along for our tasting with Benjamin, which was such a treat!
What do we know about it? I’ll admit my quickly scrawled notes were impossible to read beyond it finished in a French Wine – Burgandy – and also mention of a white wine?? However Magali from Maison Benjamin Kuentz kindly clarified the whisky was distilled in Loraine at Distillery Grallet Dupic and then has an 8 month finish in White Burgundy barrels (Chardonnay grape) from Jean Chartron wine maker in Puligny-Montrachet. They suggest pairing with pâté or some matured beef meat.
And what did we think?
- Colour – Bright gold
- Nose – Fresh pear, lots of orchard fruits, honey, combined with a surprising saline, shifting slightly from fruit to fresh green leaves, a kind and charming
- Palate – Smooth with substance, the kind of whisky that has a lovely “fatness” too it without being heavy, still more on the subtle side and not as sweet as we anticipated from the aromas
- Finish – Long, strong and slightly bitter
Overall there was a subtle “spring-like” quality that we quite enjoyed.
What do we know about this particular edition?
Its fourth edition, which matured on the left bank of Bordeaux in the ex-cask of a great wine, gave it immense finesse, exhaling fruity and floral notes. This freshness of red fruits and flowers is enhanced by aromas of fresh and dried fruits as well as by fine spices on the finish. A powerful palate that goes ideally with a fresh fruit tart, or a white chocolate pistachio dessert. In the rest of the collection, this fourth edition is a tribute to the work of the vineyard.
And what did we think?
- Colour – Dark gold
- Nose – Very fruity and vibrant, lots of peaches and apricots, a joyful late summer whisky
- Palate – Such a different character! It started sweet then shifted into quite pronounced ginger, cinnamon… if you held it in your palate for some time the peppercorns popped out joined by wine tannins… interesting indeed
- Finish – Very long
What do we know about this edition?
This fifth opus is a first for Maison Benjamin Kuentz: it is the result of a blend of a single malt matured in ex-barrels of a Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé, Château Lafon-Rochet, and a touch of a buckwheat whiskey from a Finistère distillery. Enveloping and warm, with fruity and winey notes enhanced by a sweet spice and pastry notes. To taste like a grand cru!
Benjamin added it was a blend with 45% barley whisky from Rozelieres and 55% Buckwheat from Eddu which helps keep the finish. With the strong red wine, we also observed it needs time to open.
And what did we think?
- Colour – Light luminous ruby
- Nose – Initially very fruity and sweet – lots of berries, heavy honey, vanilla, then shifted into coconut oil, revealing more and more character as it opened up
- Palate – Very different! Initially a bit sharp, bursting with character – a bit malty, the buckwheat initially prominent then merged with the other elements – including the distinctive influence of the Bordeaux
- Finish – Like the others – long, strong this time with tobacco leaf with a light bitterness
Again, if you are in France and in luck, you may still be able to track down a 50 cl bottle for Euro 75.
We were so impressed with this experience that efforts were made to track down Edition 2 and 3… no luck with the 2nd Edition however one of our Whisky Ladies was successful in purchasing the 3rd Edition. She also has Le Guip, so watch out for future tastings from Maison Benjamin Kuentz!