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 :

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whiskey Lady on:

Paris Nights – Michel Courveur “Candid” and Godet Osokye

In December 2021, the Whisky Ladies of Mumbai got together to explore a trio recently acquired in Paris. Amusingly, at the same time I tasted one of the whiskies – The Bellevoye “Red” Grand Cru! When the host generously agreed to set aside samples, I, therefore, chose to bring back to Germany only the two not tried. And yes – I’m aware of the irony of European whiskies being brought to India and then back to Europe! Such is the wandering way of our whisky explorations.

So there I was… on a rather miserable February Friday night… the winds howling, the rain relentless… and decided this was the perfect moment to put on some fab French pop musique and pour myself a couple of drams…


This isn’t our first brush with Michel Courveur – which is a Burgundy based operation which adopts, matures and blends. Started in 1978 by cellar-master Jean-Arnaud Frantzen, the tradition continues with Michel’s wife, daughter, son-in-law.

Our initial experience was… peculiar… it was a peated Vatted Malt. It had quite a pronounced wine influence – not entirely harmonious. However, I always try to bring an open mindset to new bottles… So what did I discover?

Michel Courveur “Candid” L 2019018 49%

  • Nose – There is a sense of something almost musty at first, then it shifted into dark fruits, quince, cloves, nutmeg, it reminded of a rich butter tart bursting with raisins, rich old oak dry woods, dark purple grapes combined with dried dates and figs, classic Christmas cake and pudding, spiced eggnog, rich chocolate milk
  • Palate – Woh! Very sherry, a piquant spice, quite dry, and yes – there is certainly some peat here!
  • Finish – Long strong, spice and more of that bold sherry quality, black licorice, with a hint of almond and smoke chased by bitters
  • Water – Cranks up the spice, augments the rich sherry aromas, sweetens and softens it on the palate

There was a heavy sherry influence at work here – nothing subtle about it. On the palate I found it a bit imbalanced – loads of sherry elements, chili spice but somehow it was missing a fruity roundness… instead the peat pushes it into another direction.

However when I revisited it after some time…  found more chocolate notes, fruit and nuts, spice and smoke… coming together much better – with the peat much more pronounced. It worked!

What more do we know? Not much… It is a malt Whisky distilled in Scotland and then further matured in sherry casks in Burgundy, France.

Osokye French Single Malt Series No. 4, PX Finish 40.8% Bottle 3237/5124

  • Nose – A curious mix of malt and dark fruits, cherries, sherry, a hint of lemon zest, almond, rum-soaked raisins, some salted caramel and was that also a hint of tobacco leaves?
  • Palate – Chocolate and peat, malt and more… it reminded me of crunching on a malted milk ball like “whoppers“, addictively tasty, creamy, softly well rounded
  • Finish – Nicely follows through – fruitier with roasted wood chased by cinnamon – delicious!
  • Water – No need at all

I have to admit this was dangerously drinkable. I barely realised how it went from being poured into the glass to gone!

What more do we know? Osokye is the name of a plot in Lorraine, France where barley is grown. This particularly whisky is made from that barley and then distilled with a Cognac Alambic, then finished in an ex PX cask.

What more do we know? I found this on The Cognac Expert:

Godet Osokyé Single Malt Whisky: a Burst of Smoke and Fruit

This French single malt is named after the lot in Lorraine where the Godet family grows their barley. Godet Osokyé Single Malt Whisky Batch 4 is a smoky malt, distilled in an alembic still normally used for Cognac and finished in Pedro Ximenez casks to balance out the spirit with a burst of dark fruits. Presented at a natural strength of 40.8%, this full-bodied whisky is complex but superbly drinkable – suited to whisky lovers and Cognac lovers alike. Only 5,124 bottles have been produced.

Founded in 1782, Godet Cognac ranges amongst the oldest Cognac houses. The Godet family has been based in the seaside town and former trading hub La Rochelle for 400 years and since the very beginnings of Cognac production, they have played an important role in perfecting this culture. Cognac Godet has been in the hands of the same family for an astonishing 15 generations, who have placed tradition and excellence at the heart of their business.

Tasting notes:

  • Eye: Antique gold.
  • Nose: Chewy barley, white fruits and a chalky-gravely minerality followed by honey, cherry liqueur and tart lemon.
  • Palate: Fresh, malty and honeyed with a hint of peat. Creamy with vanilla, poached pear and cooked apple, leading to a finish of smoke and oak wood.

So whilst I missed the merriment, with the samples I could get a glimpse into the Whisky Ladies experience. I much appreciated the opportunity and look forward to joining the next session in person!

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Bellevoye Trio – Red “Grand Cru” 43%

Last from the French National Flag trio from Bellevoye was “Red” with a Grand Cru finish… We had a promising start with “Blue” and “White” so were curious to see what this would bring.

Bellevoye Red 40% (Grand Cru)

  • Nose – Quite different at first – fresh seaweed and saline – then pears, fresh grass and herbal, very “green” and vegetal…aromatic…  then shifted again into honey, fresh almonds soaked in water, fresh almond oil, a hint of cloves, churan and dry wood, mango leather, bit floral – jasmine, vanilla
  • Palate – More spice than expected, strong mouthfeel, pear, bitter almond, sweet spices like cinnamon and dates, candied ginger
  • Finish – Initially a quick prick of spice then a nice lingering echo – long and lingering with a sweet aftertaste

We found this one quite interesting on the nose – the shifting character making it intriguing… but a bit disappointing on the palate with the first sip. However the more we settled into this one, the more we enjoyed.

I’m not sure what exactly we expected from a “Grand Cru” finish, but this had deeper tones than had anticipated.

This triple malt apparently five to ten years aging in French oak casks then post blend, spent six months in Grand Cru casks.

What all have I tried from Bellevoye?

I bought the tasting set of 200 ml bottles – Red, White & Blue – for EUR 55.

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Bellevoye Trio – White “Sauternes” 40%

We continued our exploration of French Whiskies with another from Bellevoye. So where does the name Bellevoye come from? In an interview with Spirits Hunters, founder Jean Moueix shares:

The name Bellevoye is a creation that makes a lot of sense to us. With my partner Alexandre Sirech, we both changed our lives radically to take directions, paths that were not planned. Bellevoye, in Old French, means the Belle Voie, the beautiful path. Bellevoye’s philosophy is to try to make people happy by encouraging them to take beautiful new paths in life.

After a promising start with the Bellevoye Blue, we turned to White.,, what did we think?

Bellevoye White 40% (Sauternes)

  • Nose – Started out almost with a sherry like element with dried fruits like figs and dates, then shifted into cereals, honey sweet, pears and pineapple, apple sauce with cinnamon and dash of vanilla bean, buttery brioche 
  • Palate – Super smooth and silky, juicy fruits, salty toffee, buttery, fresh brioche, nice and round, apples and cinnamon
  • Finish – Hint of tobacco leaf, more toffee with a chilli chaser

This was a delight – easy sipper. One thing we found is a contrast between the aromas and the palate. In this case the silky buttery quality was endearing. 

What more do we know?

First the different single malts were aged three to eight years in French oak casks and then post blending spent an additional six months aging in Sauternes barrels from a famous Cru Classé.

What about other Bellevoye triple malts?

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Bellevoye Trio – Blue “French Oak” 40%

Living in Europe means I’ve sought out new and different European whiskies to try. However I don’t always want to commit to a full bottle! Enter this pretty trio of 200ml whiskies from Bellevoye.

What are they? Single malts? Nope! They are instead a “triple malt” – meaning a blend of single malt whiskies from three different whisky distilleries – possibly from Brittany (Distillery Clauessens de Wambrechies?), Alsace (Maison Ledai – Distillery Hepp) and Cognac (Maison Brunet – better known for Brenne).

I earlier tried their peated “Black” as part of a Whisky Advent calendar so it was a perfect chance with the Blue, White and Red trio to try the balance.

We kicked off our tour of France’s Bellevoye “Flag” trio with the Blue – “fine grain” finish in a French Oak cask.

Bellevoye Blue 40% (French Oak Grain Finish)

  • Nose – Started with a hint of prune from the fresh cork after it popped open! Then in the glass – sweet hay, faintly floral, a dash of black peppercorn, some cherry chocolate with red chilli, followed by pear and charan
  • Palate – Warming on the surface, terribly easy to drink, imagine have this to spike your pani puri!
  • Finish – Certainly lasts in the mouth

Not such a bad start…whilst it isn’t complex, it makes for a nice pre-dinner malt. Simple and pleasant.

On the revisit, the aromas added a lovely vanilla flowers and spice… really quite nice!

What more do we know? The different single malts started their life in French oak casks, maturing for three to eight years followed by nine to twelve months post-blend in French new oak fine grain casks. No peat is used.

Here is a rough translation of their tasting notes:

  • The nose reveals notes of cereals, sweet spices, honey and white flowers.
  • The mouth is round and balanced with aromas of yellow fruit, cooked apple and gingerbread.
  • The finish is long on fresh notes

So what’ll is in the Bellevoye range?

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Bellevoye Trio – Blue, White, Red

In our quest to delve deeper into European whiskies, I stumbled across this trio online in Germany. Having tasted the Bellevoye Peat (Black) in December, I was curious to explore further. This trio reflects the national flag with Blue, White, and Red.

Founded in 2013 by Alexandre Sirech (Bordeaux wine group) and Jean Moueix (spirits brands, production of Saint-Estèphe and Pomerol vintages), Les Bienheureux (“the blessed”) is a company formed for playing around with French whiskey, releasing malted blends under their brand “Bellevoye.”

Aleandra shared in an interview with “Toast” his view of French whiskies regional ‘styles’:

In Alsace, producers use Holstein stills, which produce very fruity and refined spirits. In the Nord region, the column still used there produces light, easy-drinking spirits. And in Charente, the onion-shaped pot still produces powerful, full-bodied spirits. Having three different cultures of distillation in regions so geographically close to each other is unique in the world. It’s also an excellent illustration of the cultural nuances of France.

So they set-up out craft a “triple malt”, bringing together single malts from different French distilleries already aged between 5 – 8 years, before blending together in their facilities, then finished in their casks for approximately another nine to 12 months.

Providing further insights in the same Toast interview, Alexandre explains:

We make a triple malt because we’ve noticed that, in the same way as Bordeaux wines blend different grape varieties, when the best spirits from the Nord, Alsace and Charente regions come together, the end result is significantly superior to the sum of its parts. It’s every blender’s dream! All the more so, since we always wanted to create a ‘patriotic’ whisky, like a synthesis of the three styles of French whisky I referred to earlier.

So we selected three from the thirty-five French whiskies we tasted in a blind tasting – one from each of the major whisky-producing regions – so that we could draw on the special features of each. Then, we got down to the heart of what it is we do: the blending. Then we allowed the whisky to mature.

So what did I pick up in the Bellevoye Trio?

We have three contrasting yet complementary expressions:

I bought this tasting set of 200 ml bottles online in Germany for EUR 55 with plans to share samples with tasting companions in Paris. Yes… you read that correctly… my thought was to send a French blend bought in Germany back to France.

Thankfully greater sense prevailed! As this trio happens to be readily available in Paris, my tasting companion did the logical thing and bought another set in France!

So I decided instead to loop in our London whisky afficiando handing over samples when we met up in Berlin. And with that – this trio was tasted by folks in three countries – UK, France and Germany!

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

Maison Benjamin Kuentz – Le Guip 55%

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.

A lovely Euro Whisky Lady picked up a bottle of “Le Guip” which is a single cask limited edition which was crafted to reflect the character of her family home – Brittany. Picture a slightly gruff fisherman with the bracing spray of the sea – loads of saline notes and hint of peat… at least this is the idea…

What did we find?

Le Guip 55%
  • Nose – Sharp and salty, moss and sea spirit, then it slowly started to curl open… with hints of sweet vanilla and toffee – like a toffifee treat
  • Palate – Salty, spicy – mostly peppery, nutty…. as we sipped, started to reveal some toffee cream and fudge, salty sultanas
  • Finish – Long and strong

Quite direct in character with a truly bracing style. We imagined it would really hit the spot – coming in from the wet and cold… pour yourself a dram and instantly warm up! The salty sea breeze quality certainly brought a feel of wind and waves.

While most MBJ whiskies don’t need water, we thought to give it a whirl with this one… and I’m so glad we did!

The initial reaction from our Parisian was “Hmmm” not entirely convinced water helped, with the sense it took the whisky from interesting to… well… normal.

Whereas for me, I loved how it brought out a nice buttery “fat” feel in the mouth, with fruitiness coming to the fore with quince, vanilla and nuts… and yes sea salt! Whilst the aromas were slightly subdued, the way the flavours rounded out on the palate was reward enough! And the finish? A light tobacco leaf twist just added to the appeal. In truth, this was the only hint of peat we found.

A debate ensued – as to how generous the water needed to be to achieve optimal effect! However the verdict was clear – a dash of water transformed this dram from a rough around the edges swarthy seaman into something more like smooth sailing into the sunset!

What more do we know? Alas the online content has been removed as this edition is no longer available. I believe it is about 8 years and from Warenghem distillery – the folks behind the Amorik brand.

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

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whiskey Lady on:

Maison Benjamin Kuentz – Aux Particules Vines

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.

Aux Particules Vines Edition # 4 46%

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
While the aromas reminded us of a late summer afternoon, the palate was even more vibrant and unique in character.
If you are lucky, you can still track down a 50 cl bottle for Euro 65.
Aux Particules Vines Edition # 5 46%

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
What is so impressive about what Benjamin does is how he orchestrates the different elements – this is a case where clearly the “sum” is greater than its “parts.” There was no doubt a wine cask was used for the finish.

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!

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whiskey Lady on:

French Fancies – Rozelieures Tourbe 46%

Living in Europe means we have great access to an incredible range of European whiskies. Our latest venture was to France – with a duo from a small farm distillery in Lorraine – G Rozelieures.

After their rather delightful Subtil, we were curious what their peated expression would bring. And were not disappointed…

Rozelieures Tourbe 46%

  • Colour – Still light, but deeper gold than Subtil
  • Nose – Mmmm pine, sweet grass, caramelized smoked ham, getting smokier as it opened up, herbal, even fruity with a dash of cinamon
  • Palate – Initially the peat was quite subtle, shifting into pine, some warming spices of cinnamon and star anise, elegant and sophisticated,
  • Finish – Just carries through

Overall it was well balanced, with a nice continuity between what we enjoyed in the aromas, also in the palate and finish.

Happiness! We definitely will need to explore more from this distillery.

What do the folks at Rozelieures have to say?

This exceptional peated whisky is powerful and has a balanced structure. The Bourbon casks along with the French new oak casks from Lorraine bring fresh and delicate vegetal notes: a delightful taste.

  • Nose : flowered malted, spicy
  • Mouth : fruity, spicy, peated
  • Finish : smoked, spicy, pear

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on:

French Fancies – Rozelieures Subtil 40%

Our first introduction to G.Rozelieures whiskies was a bit ‘disguised’ via the brilliant Maison Benjamin Kuentz (D’un) Verre printanier (2020) 46% and Fin de partie (2020) 46% – both of which we absolutely loved!

So we simply had to explore more! One of our lovely ladies took it upon herself to track down two to start – one without peat (Sbutil) and another with (Tourbe).

What do we know about these folks? It is family run, distilling for multi generations in the village Rozelieures in Lorraine, France. The barley is grown locally with whisky distilled on their farm. 

A quartet of minis made their way from Paris to Nurnberg and our Whisky Ladies Euro Chapter explored together one fine Friday evening. What did we try?

Rozelieures Subtil 40%

  • Colour – Light straw
  • Nose – Apple custard, sweet and slightly sour, some salty caramel, gooseberry, a bit tart, something we first described as ‘strong’ honeysuckle then settled on quince, cereals, vanilla… more and more a delightful pear came to the fore, some nutmeg, basil and mint, floral, fruity and increasingly sweet
  • Palate – A nice ‘easy drinker’ fruity – particularly quince… it also had a wine-like character
  • Finish – Apple sauce and light spice

Overall it was summary – fruity, a bit floral, some herbs and sweet cereals… delicious and dare I say refreshing on the palate? Yet it isn’t a push over, there is something quite compelling and interesting about this one – enough to bring you back again and again. 

Typically a whisky at 40% is a mass produced travel retail affair. Not this. It is boutique in the best sense – unique, intriguing and inviting. A perfect aperitif and well worth exploring.

So what do the folks at Rozelieures have to say?

This Whisky presents itself as the first unpeated single malt produced in Rozelieures. This vintage has been aged in old Bourbon, Cognac and new oak casks. This novelty keeps more than ever this fatty in the mouth, become characteristic feature of the farm-distillery. This Whisky is distinguished by its subtle and floral aromas.

What else did we try in our French focused evening?

If you don’t want to miss a post, why not follow Whisky Lady on: