The great thing about going to any Whisky industry event is an opportunity to try a range of whiskies – including those you would be unlikely to buy. Even better is when there is a chance to sample drams you would otherwise find challenging to encounter.
I first sampled an Armorik whisky from the Warengham distillery in Bretagne in June 2015 at La Maison du Whisky, Singapore. It was the Classic and while it didn’t compel me to add it to the final selection from that shopping expedition, it certainly was no disaster. Since then, I’ve had limited encounters and none with an opportunity to try a trio side-by-side.
For those unfamiliar with the brand and distillery, there is a 100 year distillation history in creating elixirs and other spirits, expanding into launching whisky blends in the late 1980s and single malts late 1990s.
So what did I try at Whisky Live Singapore 2017?
Breizh Blended Grain 42%
- Nose – Young, lightly malty, sweet
- Palate – Soft, hint of cinnamon, cereals
- Finish – Minimalist, light spice
While fleeting, the impression was of something light, young, nothing offensive but nothing drawing me into it further either.
And what do the folks at the distillery have to add?
50% grain, 50% malt. The double distillation in copper stills is followed by an ageing in traditional oak casks, all matured by the climate with a particular climate in Brittany. Here are a few of the factors that now lead Distillerie Warenghem to offer this excellent Blended Whisky at 42% ABV. Breizh is a famous cousin of the WB, which was the first Breton Whisky. EUR 35.
Armorik Classic 46%
- Nose – Lots of cereals, fruit, vanilla
- Palate – Again quite soft, light, fruit, almost a hint of smoke, woodsy… reminded just a bit of a Japanese whisky matured in French Oak
- Finish – Has quite a sharp spice that grows stronger – not in an unpleasant way but hard to ignore
It wasn’t quite what I remembered – quite a bit more approachable and I was informed they have ‘tinkered’ with the target whisky style to achieve just this easier to access element.
What do the Warengham folks have to add?
Cornerstone of the range, ARMORIK Classic comprises the best of our cellars in a highly refined edition. As a marriage of sherry and bourbon casks of different ages, it highlights the quality of the ageing on the Breton Coasts and the expertise of our cellar manager. This ARMORIK Classic comes in a non-chill filtered version, thus refining its aromatic qualities. EUR 41.
Armorik Double Maturation 46%
- Nose – Light cereal, less of the spice, more citrusy
- Palate – Soft, fruity, an almost apple sauce quality, woody oak
- Finish – Spice burn with a light fruity finish
The Warenghem is double matured in Oak and Sherry casks, which would have lead one to believe even more of the Sherry character would have infused the whisky. Whereas it was a light touch.
What more do the producers of Armorik have to say?
Genuine symbol of the Distillery’s values, this Armorik highlights both the quality of its know-how and its attachment to the Breton land. In partnership with a local cooper, the Distillery designed unique Brittany oak casks. Armorik Double Maturation remains in them for many long years before being transferred into Oloroso sherry casks for a second maturation. Reduced to 46% and non-chill filtered, it pleases through its richness and elegance. EUR 46.80.
To be honest, the Armorik Classic was for me the most enjoyable of the trio. It was my introduction to this range and would remain the one I would suggest folks start if exploring whiskies from Warengham. You also have to appreciate their price point – they are very much keeping their whiskies in the affordable range.
For all, I was informed though providing No Age Statement (NAS), each was matured for a minimum of 5 years. What I would like to try next is something a little older, preferably cask strength… like their 12 year or 13 year. Let’s see if such an opportunity presents itself one of these years…
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