Paris Whisky Live 2022 – Armorik

An obvious focus at Paris Whisky Live are the whiskies produced, “published” or put together (bottled) in France. On our 2nd day, we decided to begin with a visit to Breton – checking out the latest new offerings from Warenghem distillery which bottles their whisky under the Armorik brand. Being familiar with their original core expressions, we chose to try their two age statements and new limited edition “innovations”.

Armorik 10 year (2022) 46% 3000 bottles. Approx Eur 63

  • Nose – Fruity (think peach cobbler), maritime, and mineral… perhaps a bit nutty and sherry too?
  • Palate – Lightly smoky, marmalade 
  • Finish – Soft and lingers, at first honey-sweet, then a bit more of that maritime quality with a touch of cracked black pepper

Though only 10 ppm, there was no doubt of the peat influence here. It is a blend of ex-bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and was the 1st of their limited edition “aged” expressions.  If you are curious to know more check out what do the good folks at Armorik have to say about this limited-edition expression here.



Armorik 15 year (2022) 46% 2nd edition 730 bottles. Approx Eur 70

  • Nose – Shy at first, then opens up, fruity, old wood, sweet
  • Palate – Honey sweet, well-rounded, full and fruity, sweet spices
  • Finish – Warm honey, a hint of smoke?

What more do we know? This 15-year-old began in ex-bourbon casks for 9 years followed by 6 years in Sherry Oloroso casks. This is their 2nd edition of this vintage expression. It also is lightly peaty to 10 ppm, though hardly showed this element in my quick sniff and swish!

What more do we know? Here are the official notes:

“Armorik 15 years old has acquired with age a sort of elegant, aromatic fullness, while retaining the fruity freshness characteristic of our distillate.”


We then transitioned into two new expressions from Armorik under the label “Yeun Elez” for their peat innovations with various casks. We were directed to try the Joric Tourbe (peaty) whisky first then moved on to the cask strength single cask one. 

Armorik Yeun Elez Jobic 46% approx Eur 63

  • Colour – Very pale
  • Nose – Light, fresh, fruity, sour cream
  • Palate – Surprisingly soft and gentle, then the smoke starts to subtly grow, like the nose it is also quite “fresh”, with a hint of mosambi (sweet lime) and the tiniest pinch of salt 
  • Finish – Continues in the same vein as the palate gradually tapering away

What more do we know? They use Scottish 50 ppm peated malted barley. It is also worth noting the very light colour – our guide shared how this whisky was 1st matured for 4 years in what she described as an “almost over-used” ex-Bourbon cask before being transferred to a Pineau des Charentes cask – I jotted “2” but missed noting if that was years or months! (I suspect its years).

What I do remember clearly is her pairing suggestion – Oysters! – which I could completely see fitting together rather well with its very subtle peat and saline with soft sweetness too. 


Armorik Yeun Elez 5 year Single Cask 8289 (Oct 2016/Jun 2022) 58.7% 666 bottles

  • Nose – Clearly maritime in character! Seaweed, quite a few “mineral” aromas, as it start to open up became increasingly fruity, shifting from medicinal to cream puffs and peaches, then became a bit deeper with some woodsy elements
  • Palate – Quite “sharp” initially – the 1st sip was almost jarring at cask strength after the gentle Jobic expression…. it then started to settle down to reveal sweet fruitiness (more peach than tropical) and that lovely sweet peat cinnamon we often find… the more we sipped the more amazingly sweeter and sweeter it was  
  • Finish – A nice cinnamon sweet close

We learned that this whisky was matured for an initial 3 years in a Bourbon Refill cask before being transferred to a Pineau des Charentes Cask from Rémi Landier cognac house for an additional 2 years. It was released just 2 weeks before Paris Whisky Live 2022!

This was quite an interesting whisky – one I wouldn’t mind returning to again to sample outside of the festival environment! Curious to learn more? Here is what they have to say.

And there you have it – a teasing taste of four newish expressions from the Warenghem distillery from Bretagne.

What about other Armorik experiences? Check out:

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Paris Whisky Live 2022 – Nationale 10

It is no surprise that Paris Whisky Live has quite an extensive section devoted purely to French whisky!

In a few cases, the lines are a bit blurred – Scottish spirits matured in French barrels. So what is the story with Nationale 10? Jean Boyer started in 1965 as an importer of Scotch whisky into France. After 20+ years importing, he then decided to turn his hand to independent bottling – first with Scottish whisky and then also with French whisky. In the meantime, the company ownership changed hands in 2015 to Dominique Ribereau-Gayon. 

As for the name “Nationale 10” – what is the story there? It is linked to where Jean Boyer settled – in the Landes forest on the edge of National Road 10 in Saint Geours de Maremne.

We started with the “French Oak” from Rozelieures distillery.

Nationale 10 Chênes de France 43% (approx Eur 52)

  • Colour – Bright copper
  • Nose – Fresh, easy aromas, fruity – particularly fresh plums, some cereals, yogurt, comes across as young and vibrant
  • Palate – As promised on the nose – quite easy to drink… starts soft then becomes spicier, still has that sweetness of honey and light fruits
  • Finish – A hint of bitter

It reminded me a bit of breakfast muesli – cereals, fruits, and yogurt. Which meant it was a perfect way to kick off our 1st stop of a day of whisky tasting!

As for the next one? We moved on to the peaty expression, I believe also from Rozelieures.

Nationale 10 Tourbé 43% (approx Eur 56)

  • Colour – Straw gold
  • Nose – Lightly peated like a puff of smoke, mineral
  • Palate – Clean, sharp, vegetal
  • Finish – Light spice

Curious as I was somehow expecting more sweet fruits and peat based on the Chênes de France than veering into mineral and vegetal elements. However, it worked. When I read up more after tasting, learned that it is peated to 30 – 35 ppm, so it is certainly a more subtle approach than some peat monsters!

Both were a good way to start off our day of whisky-tasting adventures!

If you are interested in learning more about Nationale 10, check out their website.

Curious about more French Whisky tasting experiences? Check out some adventures:

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Paris Whisky Live 2022 – Maison Benjamin Kuentz

We have been so lucky to have met with Benjamin Kuentz, in Paris, to sample some interesting creations from his careful approach to “publishing” French whiskies. So when I bumped into a collector from India at Paris Whisky Live on the first day as he was leaving, I knew just the place to take him as a “last taste” of the fest. 

Whilst I encouraged him to try the full range, I skipped over some familiar friends: (D’un) Verre printanier, Fin de partie and our favorite Aveux Gourmands.  Instead, I focused on two new whiskies intended to join their core range.

For both of these expressions, Benjamin selected whisky from the Charentes region and then matured it in a rather interesting combination with an ex-cask of Cognac, Italian Vermouth, and ginger brandy. And yet they are completely different in character! 

Maison Benjamin Kuentz Spicy Nouba (2022) 45% – Spicy, Fruity, Woody

  • Nose – Definitely woodsy, lightly peaty, and fruity
  • Palate – Fiesty young and fresh, quite a lively character
  • Finish – A bit bitter

I had fun with this one – it was indeed a bit spicy, or could also be described as “spunky!” An interesting start…

Here is what they have to say

ROUND OF FEVERISH SPICES AND RIPE FRUIT. A COLOUR, A TEMPO, THOSE OF SPICY NOUBA, A VELVET WHISKY, GENEROUS, RHYTHMIC.

Delicate, lively, smoky, fruity and slightly peaty at the same time, Latin at heart, oriental in body. Its nose is surprisingly lively. Woody green cereal notes, fleshed out with vanilla essence and candied orange peel. In the mouth, it is a long moment of suavidad. Soft and supple, a slow attack. Vanilla again, mixed with sensual spices, turmeric and sweet paprika, are shaken with a zest of bitterness. It is even more striking in the Old Fashioned version.

As for the next one?

Maison Benjamin Kuentz Végétal Musette (2022) 45% – Vegetal, Fresh, Fruity

  • Nose – Funky, fun, and really quite “vegetal”, malt, Agricole
  • Palate – Very interesting – mature orchard fruits
  • Finish – Honeyed with a touch of tartness and spice

Really quite unique – I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting. However, it was really quite compellingly interesting – I would have loved to settle down more with it rather than the scant “sniff” and “sip” that comes from festival tastings.

And what more do they have to say?

IT HAS THE FRESHNESS OF A GARDEN SHELTERED FROM THE SUMMER.

A festival of floral notes and cereal flavours makes Végétal Musette a whisky of wild youth and vivacity, free to flirt with a sparkling water. On the nose, a swing of malt flavours, wet grass, Granny Smith, crunchy pear and tropical vanilla. The palate, unctuous and light, gently abandons the spice and revives around eucalyptus, lemon and green pepper. Its finish concedes a touch of warmth, between honey and dried malt.

Would I agree? From my brief notes, quite possible! And up next? A shift to something with a bit of peat…

One of the new limited edition expressions, Benjamin selected whisky from the Lorrain region and aged it for six to seven years, including two years finishing in ex-Moscatel barrels.

Maison Benjamin Kuentz Tohu-Bohu Des Terres 56.2%Peaty, Generous, Powerful

  • Nose – A bit saline to start, quite mineral, fruity, has an effervescence to it with subtle peat 
  • Palate – Initially quite “hot” however on the 2nd sip, it settles beautifully, with a lovely mouthfeel, fab flavours of peat, and sweet
  • Finish – It continues with more peat and sweet

What a nice change of pace to a subtle peat with a bit of “oomph!” If I had more time with this dram, I would have tried it with just a few drops of water to see if it opens up to reveal other elements.  

After tasting, I guessed this must be from Rozellieures distillery which was quietly confirmed.

What more do we know? 

TOHU-BOHU DES TERRES ÉVOQUE DÉJÀ PAR SON NOM LES REMOUS QU’IL COMPTE GÉNÉRER DANS CE PRÉ CARRÉ ÉCOSSAIS QU’EST LE WHISKY TOURBÉ.

Depuis les terres accidentées, les sentiers escarpés, ou encore les tortueuses forêts, ce whisky rappelle les délicates odeurs de fumée, de mousse, du cuir de nos bottes neuves sans oublier la végétalité et la fraîcheur des sous-bois. Benjamin a souhaité réécrire à sa façon ce monument du whisky en alliant la puissance de la tourbe à l’élégance française dans une valse entre la fumée, les épices, les fruits et les végétaux. D’inspiration écossaise, mais définitivement français.

And their official tasting notes? Also only French, however thanks to Google translate, read on:

  • Nose – Fine elegant peat, delicate smoke, yellow fruits, dried apricot, currants, pastry aromas, a touch of iodine
  • Taste – Intense attack, notes of wet peat, undergrowth, smoke softened by a syrupy delicacy, and notes of candied fruit
  • Finish – Malty and fruity finish borrows from a delicate peat, notes of fig and dried dates, blending subtly with a minty peat

And with this, my 1st day at Paris Whisky Live came to a close. What fun to explore a few new developments from Maison Benjamin Kuentz. I’m quite excited to see how creations from this house will continue to evolve!

Curious about other explorations? Check out our experiences with Maison Benjamin Kuentz :

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 2 with Millstone, Elsburn + Armorik

Our explorations of That Boutique-y Whisky Co at the London Whisky Show continued… still in a rather European vein with:

  • The Netherland’s Millstone 25 years (2022) Batch 5 46.5% (TBWC)
  • Germany’s Elsburn 7 years (2022) Batch 3, 48.7% (TBWC)
  • France’s Armorik 8 years (2022) Batch 3, 59.5% (TBWC)

As part of their special 10th Anniversary celebrations, TBWC turned to the Dutch Millstone distillery with a 25-year dram!

Millstone 25 years (1996/2022) Olorosso Cask, Batch 5, 46.5% Bottle 141 of 380, Approx GBP 300

  • Nose – A dark spicy mulled wine, then shifts into a sherry bomb of figs, dark cherries, and raisins, yet elegant, sweet toffee, coffee cream
  • Palate – Exceptional! Very unique as clearly no Scottish sherry dram. Both sweet caramel and dry, beautifully balanced.
  • Finish – Long and lingering, clearly showing its age, soft prunes

This was a remarkable whisky – such a character, something else entirely!

Alas, I couldn’t find the informative and often entertaining additional information or tasting notes from TBWC.


We moved from The Netherlands to Germany… again a different distillery than we’ve explored to date! What fun!

Elsburn 7 years (2022) Batch 3, 48.7% RRP GBP 130

  • Nose – Deceptive… initially light sunshine with depth beneath
  • Palate – So crazy sweet! Then just like the nose, some wood and other elements combine with the dessert dram
  • Finish – Lovely

We could definitely see the influence of the dessert wine cask. Just the quick sniff and swish definitely didn’t do justice to this whisky. well worth keeping an eye out to explore further if and when an opportunity arises!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

There’s a focus at Elsburn, for using the highest quality casks available, the vast majority of casks are first fill, and only used once.

Our seven year old hails from an ex-Rivesaltes dessert wine cask, and has been bottled at natural cask strength.

The angels take a hefty share of 10%+, thanks to a killer combination of warehouse ventilation regulations, high altitude and warm summers. Whisky regulations are strict in this German region, so much so, that their spirit safe is kept under lock and key. In fact, there are 100+ padlocks in the distillery securing every possible opening.

Up until September 2019 this distillery was known as the Glen Els Distillery, but objections from the SWA forced them to change their name, as Glen could be mistaken for a Scotch Whisky – I really don’t think that was ever their intention, but hey ho…

And their official tasting notes?

  • Nose – Sweet honey and roasted nuts; almonds and pistachio. It reminds me of pink and white, nougat. Dried fruits follow; raisins, prunes, and dried apricot. Stunning!
  • Taste – Rich, and another wonderfully balanced Elsburn. Walnut oil, almond butter, and spicy wood. Leather, cocoa and plenty of dried fruits. Long spicy finish. I love this!

Next up? Why a wee jaunt across to France… this time to a more familiar distillery from Bretagne – Armorik.

Armorik 8 year (2022) Batch 3, 59.5% 355 bottles, RRP GBP 75

  • Nose – Salted butter and caramel joined by orchard fruits
  • Palate – Hint of smoke, peppery, yummy, lots of stewed apples, cinnamon apple crisp
  • Finish – Soft and sweet
  • Water – Needs a few drops to open up, a dash brings out the fruits even more!

We had a positive impression of this Armorik – even though it was just a short sniff & swish through the fabulous European whiskies on offer!

Here’s what the folks at TBWC have to say:

We’re heading back to France for another single cask from the Warenghem distillery. This 8 Year Old Armorik has been matured in an ex-Chouchen (mead) cask. Bottled at Natural Cask Strength (NCS) 59.3% abv we’re expecting to get around 355 bottles from this cask.

And their tasting notes:

  • N: Rich caramelised orchard fruits, baking spices; nutmeg, black pepper and a hint of cinnamon, with a charred wood, and a honey sweetness. Complexe et intéressant
  • P: Big and bold! A honeyed sweetness, balanced by rich oak spices. Baked apples charred oak, oiled leather, with hints of ginger. Long spicy finish. Très bien!

So then… where did our whisky wanderings take us next?? A secret Speyside, then a brief step away from whisky to a Calvados, and then on to some brilliant blends…

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London Whisky Show – TBWC Part 1 – North-West Euro Express with Fary Lochan, Kyrö + Helsinki

Kicking off our That Boutique-y Whisky Co‘s explorations at the London Whisky Show, was a trio from their North-West Euro Express:

  • Denmark’s Fary Lochan 6 Years (2022) Batch 1 60.7% (TBWC)
  • Finland’s Kyro 4 years Rye (2022) Batch 1 53.1% (TBWC)
  • Finland’s Helsinki Distilling 6 years Rye (2022) Batch 2 58.9% (TBWC)

We began our journey in Denmark… which so far in our whisky adventures has featured only Danica and a few offerings from Stauning – their Young Rye, Peated, and Rye with Mezcal Finish.

To my surprise, TBWC’s Danish dram was from neither – instead, a lesser-known distillery called Fary Lochan. As I learned, there are several distinctive dimensions to this Danish distillery. The founder, Jens-Erik Jorgensen, drew inspiration from memories of smoked cheese from his mother used to smoke over fresh nettles. Jens-Erik made his first tests of smoking his whisky-malt with nettles in 2009 and after his passing in 2016, his spouse and three children continue the tradition. Today they have 4 different styles of malts as their core range – representing a different season, augmented by limited editions.

So, what did we think of this 1st Batch with TBWC?

Denmark’s Fary Lochan 6 Years Batch 1 60.7% 473 bottles, RRP £100 

  • Nose – Oh my! Big rich aromas of chocolate, mocha and malt, forest, lightly herbal, cherries or berries
  • Palate – Distinctive, sharp yet flavourful, mellows into honey, fruity yet with substance
  • Finish – Very fruity
  • Water – Amped up the fruit with a nice tangy edge

Overall we found it young yet delicious. Not such a bad start!

What do the folks at TBWC have to say?

When we learnt that the distillery was located in the village of Farre (which was previously known as Fary) we had that far far away fairy tail image in our head, and so our label is based up on an old style fairy tale woodland glade and a small glistening lake.

Our Fary Lochan is not a nettle smoked malt, but has been matured in an ex-Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask for full term.

With the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: A soft and fruity nose, with lots of dark chocolate and hazelnut, Dried fruits, raisins and dates, with hints of roasted coffee.
  • P: Rich and luxurious with rich dark chocolate, Black Forest gateau, black cherry, and an underlying woody char.

We continued our journey to Finland with not one, but two Finish whiskies. Prior to our intro by TBWC, the only Finnish distillery we tasted was Teerenpeli – of which my favourite remains their 10 year! However what was in store for us? We started with Kyrö and moved on to the Helsinki

Finland’s Kyrö 4 years Rye (2022) ex-charred American Oak/Refill ex-Bourbon Barrel, Batch 1 53.1% 350 bottles RRP GBP 60

  • Nose – Very unmistakably rye, punchy yet interesting, nutty
  • Palate – Plasto, different and distinctive, malty and clearly rye on the palate too
  • Finish

It was just a quick sniff & swish, however enough to intrigue. We learned that the folks from Kyrö were also a The Whisky Show, so we knew we simply had to explore further!

What do the folks at TBWC have to say?

It seems like every Finnish whisky distillery starts life in a sauna, and Kyrö was no different! Surprisingly, the idea of starting their own distillery still seemed like a good one the following morning, and from there, the journey of Kyrö began.

This is a 100% whole grain malted rye, that went into a new American oak cask for two years before being re-racked into a first fill bourbon barrel for the remainder of its maturation. It’s banging!

And the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: Vanilla creams, caramel, chalk dust, dried apricot, rye bread dough earthiness, fresh rain on dry ground; petrichor.
  • P: Sweet, malty, toasted rye bread, earthy honey, red berry fruit notes. Hints of coffee linger in the finish. Spectacular!

From there we moved on to Helsinki Distillery… Started in 2014, the distillery produces gin, whisky and other spirits.

Helsink 6 year (2022) Batch 2, 58.9% 330 Bottles, RRP GBP 70

  • Nose – Imagine a bakery with fragrant fresh rye bread hot out of the oven, then drizzle a little honey… it then shifted into salty smoked salmon, then back to the bakery with ginger biscuits, then to woods with fresh clean pine, then very sweet chocolate
  • Palate – Softer than expected on the palate, with lots of pine and ginger
  • Finish – Spicey and just keeps going

I didn’t know what exactly to expect, however, this was quite an interesting intro to Helsinki’s whiskies. Whilst matured for 6 years, it had quite a ‘jumpy’ young nose however surprisingly smooth palate.

What do they have to say?

It’s a welcome return for a second batch from Finland’s Helsinki Distilling Co. as I was a big fan of the first release we brought to you in our Rye Series last year. This is a 6 Year Old rye whisky, from 70% malted rye, and 30% malted barley, that has been matured for six years in a new charred American oak cask, char level 3.

Low year round temperatures in Helsinki year round leads to a slower interaction with wood. This presents a preferable situation for maturation in powerful, first fill casks. Hell yeah!

And the TBWC tasting notes:

  • N: Deliciously complex! Aromas of coffee, light honey on toasted rye bread, dark chocolate, and hints of pine needles and linseed oil.
  • P: Hints of liquorice, dried apricots, creamy vanilla caramel, coffee, and cocoa, alongside a charred wood smoke note. Love this!

So then… where did our whisky wanderings take us next?? Why, on to more TBWC offerings – naturally!

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Remarkable Random Range of Whiskies

What does a Scottish blend from the 1950 / 60s made for a Hamburg distributor and a German malt that barely qualifies as whisky have in common? Or what does a peaty coastal single malt bottled by an Indian distillery have to do with a sophisticated complex Island dram from a much-coveted Indie bottler? And how about the price range from an affordable entry-level Island OB in GBP 20s vs another over 150?! Or sourced from an auction some 40 years after bottling vs direct from bottler within hours of going on sale, to Le Clos Dubai duty-free or available exclusively in Bangalore only… Frankly speaking, they have practically nothing in common beyond a random sweaty evening in Mumbai where they just so happened to be tasted together!

A Remarkable (Random) Range

What a remarkable – if random! – range for a brilliant evening… which was revisited another night in Mumbai with more malt experts!

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St Kilian Signature Edition ‘Nine’ 55.3%

I love being able to bring something new and different to our tasting groups in India. The delight of hunting down something that is both novel and worth the time spent considering its different dimensions. Now, a high-end mature Scottish malt and a young upstart from Deutschland cannot be compared, however, there are some very worthy experiments taking place in Europe these days! And St Kilian distillery from just outside Frankfurt is one to watch.

What did we try?

St Kilian Signature Edition “Nine” 55.3%

  • Nose – Young, malty, with a different kind of sweetness than the One and Six. Lots of pears, crunchy orchard fruits. Cinnamon candy. Flaky biscuits with cream. Quite summery in character…
  • Palate – Well, well, well… Not nearly so ‘innocent’ on the palate as the nose teased… There was still lots of candy, and cinnamon however it was joined by a healthy dose of spice, malt, bitter apple, quite warming… and was that a hint of peat? Overall we found it quite chewy and well-rounded
  • Finish – Resin, dried orange peel… a proper finish
  • Water – Don’t mind if I do! This dram easily integrates a splash of cool water – revealing more orchard fruits like peach and apricot

It could be described as contradictory. When we first opened the bottle, Krishna Nakula (Malt Maniac) called it a bit ‘funky’ with an active nose that veered on sour mash.  The kind of whisky one would prefer to have on a wet cold rainy day….

However, just a week later with the Whisky Ladies, we found it had settled down considerably. And rather than be considered a ‘cool weather’ whisky, it held its own in the summer heat. More importantly, did we like it? Absolutely yes! For some, it was a clear ‘win’ – either the favourite or jostling for that position with the peaty ‘Four‘.

This just goes to show, that different stages of oxidation, different environments, mood, and company make all the difference. Tasting progressions are also key! With the Whisky Ladies, the Nine followed the St Kilian One and Six, so our palates were pre-calibrated to something European not Scottish.

What do the folks behind this bottle have to say?

The Signature Edition Nine is an intense, fruity and creamy-sweet taste experience. The melange of exotic fruits harmonises pleasantly with the spicy warmth as well as the sweet and full-bodied flavours.

What more do we know? The cask composition is 11% Oak, 27% ex-Sauternes, 62% ex-Bourbon.

Here are the official tasting notes:

  • AUSSEHEN Leuchtender Bernstein
  • GERUCH Ein betörendes Bouquet von reifer Aprikose und saftigem Pfirsich steht im Einklang mit süßem Toffee und feiner Vanille, begleitet von floralen Noten, dezenter Ingwerschärfe, würziger Eiche sowie einem Hauch Grapefruit.
  • GESCHMACK Ein süßer und vollmundiger Start mit Pfirsich, Ananas und Grapefruit, gefolgt von cremigem Honig, Vanillepudding sowie sahnigem Toffee und getragen von einer wärmenden Eichenwürze mit Ingwer und etwas Zimt.
  • NACHKLANG Lang und cremig-warm mit Karamell und süßem Mandelgebäck, dazu etwas frisch geriebene Grapefruitschale mit einer Spur Walnuss.

A rough google supported translation:

  • Nose – A beguiling bouquet of ripe apricots and juicy peaches is in harmony with sweet toffee and fine vanilla, accompanied by floral notes, subtle ginger sharpness, spicy oak, and a hint of grapefruit.
  • Palate – A sweet and full-bodied start with peach, pineapple, and grapefruit followed by creamy honey, custard, and toffee and carried by a warming Oak spice with ginger and some cinnamon.
  • FinishLong and creamy – warm with caramel and sweet almond biscuits, with some freshly grated grapefruit zest and a hint of walnut.

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Whisky Ladies tryst with St Kilian Signature Edition One, Four, Six and Nine

Three from this particular set of St Kilian whiskies had made their way to India in late 2021 and were opened for the Bombay Malt & Cigar gents to explore… however being overall a generous lot, they decided the Whisky Ladies should also partake, so the bottles were set aside and tasted in April 2022. Naturally, I simply couldn’t resist augmenting with the German distiller’s latest Signature Edition – Nine.

What did we find?

Signature Edition ‘One’ (2016/2019) 45%

  • Nose – Sweet and smooth, cherry, fruity honey, rum and vanilla, orange, grilled pineapple, candied fruit with a slight hint of sweet spices like cinnamon
  • Palate – Subtle at first and then builds with a surprising spice. Green, fresh, and almost rye-like with capsicum, green peppercorns, a hint of dry hay with a nice bitterness. Overall quite smooth, rounded out by tropical fruits – especially pineapple
  • Finish – Short to medium finish

For some, it was almost on that ‘sickly’ sweet end of the spectrum – reminding us of a super sweet Shirley Temple cocktail! The rum influence brings a nice tropical quality. We concluded it was an easy sipper and a rather apt way to ease into our evening.

Personally, I recalled how my first impression was mixed but how much this grew on me in Germany – particularly its nice ‘warming’ quality in contrast to the cold outdoors. To discover it also adapts well to sweltering in Mumbai heat was a pleasant surprise.

Signature Edition ‘Six’ (2016/2020) 47.5%

  • Nose – Initially reaction was – yummy! A delightful rose of a sweet gulab jamun. Whilst it was incredibly sweet, warm with nice pepper spice, there were subtle additional elements like kafir lime leaf, hazelnut followed by chocolate milk
  • Palate – We could really catch the Rye in the flavors, joined by wood, sweet… Think more along the lines of a chocolate bar with red chili and cinnamon, joined by slightly bitter nuts
  • Finish – Closed with bitter chocolate, very nutty… certainly present but also a wee bit elusive or deceptive and teasing

Definitely interesting and could discern the rye influence. Worth trying, however, is it really the one to come back to? The verdict was never firmly made here.

Signature Edition ‘Four’ (2016/2020) 48%

  • Nose – Initially medical peat, it quickly settled into sweet peat and cola! There was that delicious smoked bacon, loads of hickory wood chips, nicely nutty – brazil or hazelnut? Followed by baked apple pie
  • Palate – Delicious! Tastes even better than it smells with sweet cured ham… over time tannins came forward followed by Montreal smoked meats or Canadian back-bacon drizzled in maple, beautifully oily and well-rounded, it had just a fabulous mouthfeel – as much chocolaty to the taste as the sense of melted  chocolate rolling around your mouth
  • Finish – I found a nice long cinnamon spice, others tasted a light leather with a hint of salt, and one even noted there was a bit of mustard oil!

A complete departure from the others, we absolutely loved it! No doubt this was a rather good peaty dram – enough that I’m hoping to catch their next peated edition.

As for our overall conclusion? By the end of the evening, we pronounced the St Kilian exploration worthy of our time and attention. In short, a terrific example of why we come together to explore and experience the range of what’s out there in the world of whiskies!

And what about the Nine? I haven’t forgotten about it. We tasted it after the ‘Six’ and before the ‘Four’ with the full tasting notes posted separately.

And if you are curious, you can read all about the different casks below or click the links to compare our Ladies and Gents impressions!

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Denmark’s Stauning Rye with Mezcal finish

This wasn’t my first taste of Denmark’s Stauning offerings…. a distillery in Western Denmark started by nine friends back in 2005. I believe my first sample of their Rye was before it could even officially be called whisky and the 2nd their 2nd batch of peat. So I was curious to see how they evolved over the last few years.

This particular bottle with its original artwork and distinctive name “Bastard” was what inspired the whole evening’s trio of unusual finishes. You gotta admit, with both a moniker like “Bastard” and a roaring slobbering wild beast on the bottle, one can’t help but think this will be a brash bold humdinger of a dram!

So what did we think?

Stauning Rye (2021) Mezcal Finish 46.3%

  • Nose – Caraway, rye, grassy, heather… a hint of smoke like faint smoke of sweet grass, some sour mash that then shifted into quite a strong sourdough bread, honey-sweet with slightly sour yogurt… then as it opened up further heaps of caramel, quite warming with a touch of salt, dried cherry or that Chinese dried plum that is all at the same time sweet, sour, spicy and salty! Then shifted to porridge, a bit of oak and something else which was a bit hard to pin down – perhaps this is the Mezcal element??
  • Palate – Think dark rye bread, some burnt caramel, resin, and yes – here you can find a Mezcal influence combined with sweet spices like cinnamon – a slightly curious combination with the rye
  • Finish – Wood shavings and sawdust, very bitter and long

Clearly young and a bit brash – once the aromas settled down there was a pleasant sweet sourdough on the nose. Overall an interesting experiment and talk turned to how it should pair well with cigars…. however I will admit this isn’t one I’m desperate to run out and repeat!

What do the folks at Stauning have to say about the “Bastard”?

The wind from the North Sea mixes blood with the desert of Mexico in this double-distilled rye whisky aged in old mezcal casks. An illegal love affair with a gentle and exotic aftertaste.

Stauning Bastard a rye whisky made purely of local ingredients, malted on the floor at our distillery and double-distilled in flame-heated pot stills. After three years in new, toasted virgin American oak casks, it has been rounded off with 6-months ageing in old mezcal casks from Mexican Oro de Oaxaca.

The result is an elegant love child whose equal you won’t find anywhere else in this world.

Official tasting notes:

  • Nose – Sweet tobacco smoke, raisins, oat biscuit, citrus, oak
  • Taste – Tobacco, vanilla, barley, dried fruit, cinnamon, brown sugar, molasses, shortbread, oak
  • Finish – Long sweet, slightly smoky, salty, brown sugar, pepper

Well…. I’m not sure I would describe this as an ‘elegant love child’ however would agree to the oats, oak,

So here goes an evening devoted to a curious trio of Rum, Tequila and Mezcal finishes with:

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Maison Benjamin Kuentz – Inouïe Mélodie

With Maison Benjamin Kuentz whiskies, we were introduced first to their core trio with (D’un) Verre PrintanierFin de PartieAveux Gourmands then during a trip to Paris explored their limited editions of Aux Particulares Vines 1, 4 and 5.

Next was a special treat in honour of a famous French composer – Pascal Dusapin – who is also a whisky fan…. whose music Benjamin described as stormy….  he is also known for microtonality, tension, energy and romantic constraint.

As Benjamin described it, this was a true collaboration –  a result of “four hands” at play. Where is the whisky from? Rozelieres distillery from a single cask which produced approx 600 bottles.
Inouïe Mélodie
  • Nose – Best word to describe? Stormy! Followed by fresh pine needles then a burst of juicy red berries and fruits
  • Palate – Sweet and very full, a feast in your mouth! Lots of sweet caramel counterbalanced with fresh forrest
  • Finish – Long sweet spices, bitter leaf and a hint of fruits like an echo resonating

It is aptly named! There is a delightful melody…

What more do we know? Here’s what the folks at Maison Benjamin Kuentz have to say on the back of their beautiful label….

Curious about other forays into whiskies created by Maison Benjamin Kuentz :

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